The purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety Program for Personnel
with Animal Contact is to minimize the health and safety risk of working
with vertebrate animals to an acceptable level.
This description of the Occupational Health and Safety Program for Personnel
with Animal Contact (OHSPAC) serves as NCSU's written policy for occupational
risk reduction for those using or exposed to animals in research or teaching.
Personnel included are those involved in the direct care of vertebrate
animals and their living quarters, and those individuals who have direct
contact with animals (live or dead), their viable tissues, body fluids
The OHSP includes all:
- full time, part time, and temporary personnel, involved in animal
care in NCSU units that house animals for research and teaching
- research investigators and their technical staff
- instructors involved with animal related work
- faculty and staff in the CVM Veterinary Teaching Hospital who have
- other personnel who may reasonably be expected to come in contact
with vertebrate animals (live or dead), their viable tissues, body fluids
or wastes (some personnel in facilities management, security, custodial
Participants are organized into categories that reflect the specific
surveillance needs of the individuals based on real or potential occupational
exposure to specific species of animals. Specific health risk information
can be found at the Animal
Contact Assessment Table.
- Category 1 Personnel are those with only one-time contact with
animals (or tissues, etc.), or those whose contact is limited to directly
supervised activities in teaching laboratories.
- Category 2 Personnel are those working in animal husbandry,
or having contact more than one-time, with animals (or tissues, etc.).
The Program Components include:
- Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
- Personnel Training
- Personal Hygiene
- Facilities, Procedures, and Monitoring
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Medical Evaluation and Preventive Medicine
The assessment of risk will be determined by frequency of contact, intensity
of exposure, hazards associated with the animals being handled, hazardous
properties of agents used in research, the susceptibility of individual
employees, the hazard-control measures available, and the occupational
history of individual employees. Baseline risk assessment will involve
occupational health specialists and, depending on personnel category,
may include completion of job duties and medical questionnaires, interview
with an occupational health specialist, and a physical examination.
- Category 1 Personnel must receive specific instruction on the
health risks associated with their animal contact. They will not routinely
fill out a questionnaire or visit the contract medical provider.
- Category 2 Personnel fill out a "Vertebrate
Animal Contact Medical Questionnaire" for initial enrollment
into the program. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the
questionnaire is completed and appropriate sections are sent to Student
Health Services. A medical provider will review the questionnaire; any
follow-up discussion with the employee, or medical examination, will
be at the discretion of the medical provider.
In addition to the above baseline evaluation, all personnel will receive
regular training and/or notification of health risks associated with animal
contact, including the importance of medical follow-up if problems (e.g.,
All personnel working with animals should receive tetanus vaccination
every 10 years, and those who have contact with random source or wild
mammals, or mammals kept outdoors, should receive rabies vaccination.
Additional special procedures/vaccinations may be necessary for certain
projects such as work with non-human primates. The supervisor is responsible
for notifying employees of vaccination requirements and ensuring that
vaccinations are received according to occupational physicians recommendations.
- The supervisor will ensure that personnel under their supervision:
- Are properly enrolled and categorized, according to this policy.
- Complete questionnaire forms and route them properly.
- Obtain needed vaccinations.
- Are appropriately oriented to health and safety risks in their
- Understands Responsibility - Supervisors and PI's should review NCSU
Health and Safety Manual sections which apply to his/her operation.
- Personal Protective Equipment - OSHA requires that each supervisor
perform an assessment of the hazards of their work area to determine
the type of protective equipment needed. This review must be documented.
In addition to forms provided in safety plan mailings (Hazard Assessment
Form), the Protective
Equipment section of the NC State Health and Safety Manual contains
information to assist in this review.
- Employee Training - Supervisors and PIs are responsible to assure
that each new employee, whether temporary or permanent, receives appropriate
safety training at the start of employment. Supervisors should use the
Managers Safety Orientation Checklist as the means
for training new employees. This form, once completed and signed, should
be maintained in the employee's personnel file. The written Safety Plan,
required for all work areas where hazardous materials or equipment are
used, also serves as the basis for employee safety training. The Training
Information section of the EHSC home page provides further information
on safety training information available. Safety Meeting Presentations are available on selected topics to assist supervisors with periodic
- For visitors, trainees and other non-NCSU employees, please refer to Supervisor’s Responsibilities section, item no. 12 for occupational medicine program requirements.
For NCSU Students, paid or volunteer, please refer to Supervisor’s Responsiblities section, item no. 7 for occupational medicine program requirements.
In addition to reviewing the Managers Safety Orientation Checklist with each new
employee, specific training on animal contact risks is available at the
Assessment Table site. Information is given on such topics as allergies
to specific species, zoonotic infections and physical injuries.
The list below is not comprehensive and includes areas that all employees
should have familiarization with. The above website contains information
relevant to these areas. Training provided to the employee should be maintained
in his/her personnel file.
1. Medical response for animal bites, scratches and traumatic
2. Recognition and response for zoonotic infections.
3. Personal hygiene practices
4. Correct use of personal protective equipment
5. Correct handling of waste material
Lists of several professional organizations, societies and universities
that sponsor seminars and continuing education seminars, publish journals
and produce tutorial programs can be found in the Zoonotic
Disease Reference and Resources
sections of the Animal
Contact Assessment Table.
- Self Inspections - Each supervisor is required to conduct regular
inspections of their work area. As a minimum, an annual inspection of
the work area using the Supervisor's
Safety Inspection Checklist is required for each supervisor required
to complete a safety plan. The most recent Supervisor's Safety Inspection
Checklist must be retained with the supervisor's copy of the safety
plan in the work area.
- Corrective Action Closure - Supervisors must assure that corrective
action is taken and completed on deficiencies noted through inspections
conducted by Environmental Health and Safety, the NC Department of Insurance,
their own self inspections, or resulting from investigations of accidents
- Employee Involvement - Supervisors should involve their employees
in their accident prevention activities. Employee observation and feedback
to correct at-risk behaviors of coworkers and praise safe behaviors
is an effective and recommended technique. Teams of employees and peers
for investigating accidents and incidents and to perform workplace inspections
is also recommended.
- Medical Surveillance - Supervisors should review this section of the
Surveillance Program for information concerning medical exam preparation,
physician's reports and medical record keeping.
In addition to training efforts and responsibilities referred to above,
there is specific information on the OHSPAC included in the training required
by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Please consult the
References section for sources.
HR, Academic, or Ag. Extension Personnel Responsibility
Please refer to this section in the Medical
Surveillance program for information on medical record keeping.
Environmental Health and Safety Center Responsibilities
- Coordinate the OHSPAC program for the University.
- Act as NCSU liaison with the contract medical provider.
- Work in cooperation with supervisors and the contract medical provider
to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the medical surveillance
aspect of the program.
Category 1 personnel will not enroll in the OHSPAC, but must
receive training specific to their animal exposure. The supervisor is
responsible for providing and documenting training.
Enrollment of Category 2 personnel in the OHSPAC should occur
prior to the participant's exposure to animals, their viable tissues,
body fluids or wastes. As discussed above, the supervisor has a central
role in ensuring personnel health and safety in the workplace, including
participation in the OHSPAC.
Category 2 employees initially enrolling into the program must
complete both sections A and B of the "Vertebrate
Animal Contact Medical Questionnaire," and send it to the Student
Health Services in a sealed envelope.
For employees who have submitted a previous questionnaire a subsequent
questionnaire may be requires as described below:
- Whenever there is a change in health status that could increase your
risk of health problems due to exposures to animals, such as developing
a new onset asthma or contact allergy.
- Whenever there is a change in your job description dealing with animal
handling e.g. from changing bedding to shaving animals.
- Whenever there is a change in animal species or biological materials.
Student Health Services is responsible for tracking participation in
If an employee wishes to decline participation in a portion of the entire
health assessment program the supervisor needs to be informed. The supervisor
must consult with the a student health services physician at (919) 513-2380
in circumstances where an employee refuses to complete Part B of the questionnaire
or refuses to comply with physicians recommendations. Declining participation
in a required element may result in exclusion from certain positions or
The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) confirms program
participation for all individuals/studies/classes involving animal contact.
Costs of the OHSPAC are paid in-part through the office of the Vice Chancellor
Accidents and Illnesses
The supervisor has the responsibility to investigate all accidents happening
in their work area, and must fill out a Supervisor's Accident/Illness
Report form for both employees and students, and a Workers Compensation
Form 19 for employees. Please refer to Occupational
Accents, Illness, and Reports site for instructions on completing
required forms and a list of approved emergency care centers.
- If an employee is injured during working hours, his supervisor should
call Blue Ridge Primary Care before sending the employee for treatment
(783-9600). If Blue Ridge Primary Care is closed the injured
person should go to the nearest health care facility.
- In case of serious injury or illness, the immediate concern is to
aid the injured or sick person. The following procedures are to be used:
- You may contact Campus Police immediately by use of any on-campus
telephone: DIAL 911, or use any Campus blue light phone
for immediate response.
- For any off-campus emergency, dial 911 or the appropriate local
Additional supervisor responsibilities for reporting accidents are described
in the Accidents program.
Possible Rabies Exposure:
If you are exposed to a potentially rabid animal, wash the wound thoroughly
with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately. A health
care provider will care for the wound and will assess the risk for rabies
exposure. The following information will help your health care provider
assess your risk:
- the geographic location of the incident
- the type of animal that was involved
- how the exposure occurred (provoked or unprovoked)
- the vaccination status of the animal
- whether the animal can be safely captured and tested for rabies
Steps taken by the health care provider will depend on the circumstances
of the bite. Your health care practitioner should consult state or local
health departments, veterinarians, or animal control officers to make
an informed assessment of the incident and to request assistance. The
important factor is that you seek care promptly after you are bitten by
All services will be paid for out of a special fund for employees working
in academic/research departments. However, departments will be invoiced
directly for services conducted for all other employees.
Many different kinds of physical, environmental, or biological hazards
are associated with the use of animals in teaching or research. Some examples
are given below:
|Potential Risk of
|Back Injury + Other Acute Injury (crush,
||restraining large animals
||slip on wet floor
|Getting stepped on, kicked, etc.
||handling, restraint of large animals
||Hot water, steam
||cage washer, autoclave, steam cleaner
||Particulates, UV, chemicals
||bedding, UV lights, chemicals
||cage wash areas, dog runs
||Faulty electrical wiring
||water on floor, ungrounded equipment
||Bite or scratch
||Injecting or bleeding
||Improper sharps disposal
||Animal hair, dander, serum, animal proteins
||Human pathogens, zoonotic agents, latent or introduced
||Hazardous materials on test, disinfectants, acids for cage washers,
||Research isotopes, X-ray equipment
Requirements for an occupational health program for the personnel working
with laboratory animals are found in the following references:
- Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory
Animals that codifies the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory
Animals (National Research Council, 1996)
- Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research
Animals (National Research Council, 1997)
- Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 4th
ed. (US Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
and National Institutes of Health, 1999)
- Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, Part 20 and Title 29, Part
Explanation of Key Terms
Risk is a statement of probability that harm, injury, or
disease will occur in the occupational setting. The degree of risk can,
and does, vary with an assortment of factors.
Risk assessment is the evaluation of scientific information
on the hazardous properties of an agent and on the extent of human exposure
that yields a qualitative or quantitative statement of the probability
and degree of risk or harm estimated for individuals or populations.
Hazard is a recognized risk. Once a risk is recognized
and assessed, appropriate adjustments can be made to modify the underlying
factors that contribute to the risk, or behaviors can be modified to reduce
exposure to those risks. The risks can be abated through engineering controls,
personal protective equipment, and by administrative control to include:
modifying practices and procedures, pre-placement and periodic examinations,
Safe is the state of being free from risk or when an acceptable
level of risk has been achieved.