Health and Safety for Animal Workers
|The health and well-being of animals used for research purposes
has long been accepted as an obligation of institutions that house
for such animals. As mandated by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adopted animal welfare regulations (AWRs)
that require good care and monitoring of laboratory animals and informed review
and approval of the associated research. Public Health Service Policy on
the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS
Policy) includes further requirements that must be followed by institutions
PHS-funded animal research.
||The National Research Councilís Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory
Animals provides guidelines and references for establishment
and maintenance of effective programs and facilities for animal
research and is widely accepted as the primary reference for animal
care and use. However, in addition to the welfare of
research animals, it also recommends an Occupational Health and
Safety Program for those working in animal facilities and having
exposure to animals. Based on this recommendation and the
fact that PHS Policy mandates such a program, most institutions
conducting animal research include occupational health and safety
as part of their
excellent reference for personnel health and safety when working
with research animals is
the National Research
Council's Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research
Completion of this Web training is intended to be your enrollment into
Princeton Universityís Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP) which
also includes medical review with Employee Health at McCosh Health Center.
Return to Top
The Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP)
You must participate in the OHSP
if you are faculty, staff, or student and you come into contact with
research animals. The required training and medical review is
intended to inform you of the risks associated with your particular
animal exposure and how you can best prevent illness or injury.
There is no cost to you or your department to be a part of this Program.
What do I need to do to get into this Program?
Prior to work with
research animals and admittance to the animal facilities, you need
After beginning work with research animals,
you are required to:
- complete this Web training.
- contact Employee Health at 258-5035 for an appointment.
- complete section A of the Animal
Worker Personnel Information form and the Health
(You will also find a link to this downloadable form at the end
of this training.)
- take these completed forms to your appointment at Employee Health at McCosh
- return the signed Personnel Information form
to the manager of Laboratory Animal Resources in Psychology [or Molecular Biology], or to Diane Carlino in EEB as appropriate.
- complete the orientation process with the animal laboratory manager.
Medical review includes:
- complete annually the update questionnaire provided from Employee Health.
- schedule annually an appointment with Employee Health if you are an animal
caretaker or handle non-human primates.
- contact Employee Health at any time for medical review and consultation
- become injured,
- feel you are developing an allergy,
- are planning a pregnancy, or
- develop health concerns related to your research animal exposure.
For non-human primate workers:
- Review of applicable medical history
- Physical examination, if indicated, to include condition of skin (rashes
- Discussion of risk factors associated with animal contact, including potential
zoonotic agents, wound care, and potential hazards of field studies.
- Discussion of the health risk associated with compromised immune system
(i.e., cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, steroid use, immunosuppressive drugs
after organ transplant)
- Updating of tetanus-diphtheria immunization, as needed.
- Skin (PPD) test for TB initially and annually (chest X-ray for persons
who have BCG vaccine or history of a positive PPD test)
- Proof of measles vaccine or confirmed immunity (Measles vaccine is provided,
Return to Top
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
AWRs and PHS Policy both require that institutions
doing animal research have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
(IACUC) to review and
monitor animal care and use and provide oversight of all aspects of animal
research. The Princeton University IACUC inspects all animal facilities
twice a year and reviews the overall animal care program annually for compliance
with the AWRs. Records documenting activities of the IACUC and compliance
with AWRs are maintained for review during inspections
by USDA and others.
Meetings of the IACUC are generally held monthly to review new and continuing
research proposals involving animals. When animal research involves
infectious agents or radioactive materials, the IACUC consults with the Institutional
Biosafety Committee (IBC) or the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) to provide
appropriate review and consultation.
The Princeton University IACUC is chaired by a faculty member
and the Secretary is from the Office of Research and Project Administration
(ORPA) who receives
and coordinates the distribution and review of written research
proposals. The IACUC membership also includes a veterinarian, a practicing
scientist experienced in research involving animals, and a member from the community
who is not affiliated in any way with the institution.
Return to Top