Reporting Injuries When Working with Laboratory Animals

Every person working with animals should be aware of the potential danger from animal bites and other mishaps. Report all incidences, no matter how minor. 

How to Report Work Related Injuries

Every person working with animals should be aware of the potential danger from animal bites and/or other mishaps such as self-injection of reagents, needle sticks, other sharps injuries, and mucous membrane exposures from urine, feces, blood or other bodily secretions. Although an animal scratch or bite might not seem serious, its occurrence should be reported to one's supervisor or instructor so that proper measures may be taken. The immediate measures to be taken are outlined below (as adapted from UB Workers’ Compensation Accident/Injury Report form).   

Several of the agents responsible for viral, fungal, bacterial, and parasitic infections in laboratory animals are capable of infecting humans. Employees can further contact The Great Lakes Physician’s Services, ECMC (898-4153) for advice beyond that offered by the initial medical care personnel.  Any subsequent gastrointestinal, eye, respiratory or skin illnesses that may resemble the signs or symptoms of infections in the animals for which they are caring should be reported.

Seek emergency first aid i.e. wash exposed area with soap and water for 15 minutes, rinse eyes at eyewash stations for minimum of 15 minutes, remove contaminated clothing, use emergency body showers as deemed appropriate if exposed.

Notify your supervisor.

  1. Supervisors are encouraged to gather as much information as possible regarding the incident. This would include, at minimum, an investigation of the animal, potential contaminants, SOPs, MSDS sheets, nature of the research project and other pertinent data. All incidents must be reported to CMLAF to Dr. Lisa Martin, director at 829-2919.
  2. Supervisor should take role of notifying the authorities listed below and completing the accident report form. 
  3. Seek medical attention immediately. Go to the provider of your choice. 
    • Note: ECMC supports the UB Occupational Health Monitoring Program and has your health history records.
    • Proceed to ECMC Emergency Care. During normal work hours (8 a.m.-4 p.m., M-F) proceed to Occupational Medicine. After hours tell the front desk at the emergency entrance that you are employed at UB, enrolled in the Occupational Health and Safety Program, and you have sustained a worksite injury.
  4. Bring counsel (such as a laboratory colleague or supervisor).
  5. Bring with you all pertinent SOPs and MSDS sheets that relate to any hazards that you work with or that you may have been exposed to during your accident/injury.
  6. Inform the medical provider of any exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
  7. Inform the provider that the injury is work related.
  8. Occupational health records for individuals approved to work with animals at UB are maintained by Dr. David Hughes, Great Lakes Physicians Services, Erie County Medical Center (898-4153) and can be provided to the medical care staff.
  9. Contact EH&S immediately at 829-2401 or after hours/weekends call 645-2222.
  10. Contact Worker's Compensation at UB Human Resources by calling 645-7777.
  11. Complete the Accident/Injury Report Form* immediately, and send to Human Resources at 
  12. Follow the additional procedures below based upon your employee status.

The LAF director will contact ECMC, EH&S and the supervisor if rabies or other zoonosis is relevant to the injury.

Additional procedures based on employee status

Great Lakes Physicians Services at ECMC maintains occupational health records for UB employees who are approved to work with animals. Call (716) 898-4153 for more information on your records.