Occupational Health & Safety Program

The "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" requires that the Institution establishes an occupational health and safety program (OHSP). The OHSP must be consistent with federal, state and local regulations and should focus on maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. An effective OHSP requires coordination between the research program, the animal care and use program, the environmental health and safety program, Employee/Student Health and administration. The OHSP should identify potential hazards in the work environment and conduct a critical assessment of the associated risks. An effective OHSP assures that the risks associated with the experimental use of animals are identified and reduced to minimal and acceptable levels. The Comparative Medicine Facility has worked closely with the groups mentioned above to develop the procedures to manage these risks. The extent and level of participation of personnel in the OHSP is based on the hazards posed by the animals, the exposure intensity, duration, and frequency, the susceptibility of the personnel, and the history of occupational illness and injury in the workplace.

The Occupational Health and Safety Program is a collaborative effort between the Principal Investigators, Human Resource Department, IACUC, Attending Veterinarian, Assistant Director/Comparative Medicine and Employee/Student Health. A representative from Employee/Student Health is a member of the IACUC. The day-to-day responsibility for safety in the workplace falls on the laboratory supervisor for the research staff and the Lead Laboratory Animal Care Technician/CMF for animal care staff. Human Resource staff work with research departments to identify new hires that will have animal contact. They notify Employee/Student Health to include the appropriate physical exam, vaccinations, respirator fit testing, etc., as defined by the species for which they will have contact. The PI identifies individuals with animal contact in the ACORP. These individuals are required to complete the on-line “Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals” training session before they are approved to work with the animals. The Comparative Medicine Facility verifies that Individuals are listed in the approved animal protocol, have completed on-line and one-on-one training with the Lead Laboratory Animal Care Technician/CMF and are enrolled in the Occupational Health Program prior to approving access to the animal facilities. A new on-line Animal Exposure Assessment form was generated by CMF and Employee/Student Health. Anyone who has contact with animals is required to complete the form annually. It can be found on the Loyola Wired Information Portal. Once the individual completes the form Employee/Student Health will be notified electronically. They will contact each individual with further information about scheduling an appointment, if necessary. Automated e-mails are sent to the individual, their supervisor and CMF administration when an individual has received a release to work with a specific animal species by Employee/Student Health. Alerts are also sent out when the individual is within 180 days of completing the annual review and if the form was not completed.