Laboratory Animal Occupational Health Program
The purpose of the Laboratory Animal Occupational Health Program (LAOHP) is to identify, evaluate, manage and reduce potential health risks associated with the care and use of animals. By assessing an individual’s risks, recommendations to prevent illness related to laboratory animal research can be made.
Working with laboratory animals can present risks to the health and well-being of research personnel and other individuals that may have animal contact or even casual exposure.
Examples of health risks may include:
- Zoonotic diseases (infectious agents shared by humans and animals)
- Allergies to laboratory animals, particularly rodents
- Bites, scratches and other injuries
- Manipulation of hazardous materials in animals.
Enrollment in the Program
All personnel with contact or exposure to laboratory animals must enroll in the Laboratory Animal Occupational Health Program via submission of an online LAOHP questionnaire. Submission of the form is mandatory; however, for those that prefer not to participate in the program, there is a formal “opt-out” option on the questionnaire*. All completed LAOHP questionnaires are reviewed by Occupational Health staff in Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), during which they make recommendations to prevent illness and/or recommend referrals for additional medical care based on the information provided.
All individuals working with animals or listed on IACUC protocols must enroll* in the Laboratory Animal Occupational Health Program. This includes:
- Anyone listed on an IACUC protocol as research personnel;
- Anyone working with animals for research, testing or teaching purposes;
- Anyone having contact or exposure to laboratory animals (including casual exposure); and
- Anyone entering Vivarium facilities
*NOTE: Enrollment consists of annual submission of the LAOHP questionnaire, but you do not have to provide personal health information if you do not wish to do so.
Everyone involved with laboratory animals must submit a new LAOHP form:
- Before being added to or listed on an IACUC protocol;
- Before first contact with laboratory animals;
- Whenever there is a change in health status (e.g., worsening allergies, pregnancy, diagnosis of an immune disorder, etc.);
- Whenever exposure information changes (e.g., a new animal model is introduced in the lab);
- At least once per year.