Occupational Health Program for Animal Users
The LSU IACUC, through the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM) operates an Occupational Health & Safety Program (OHSP). The purpose of the program is to maintain an OHSP for personnel involved in the care and use of animals: to obtain an accurate assessment of the health status of each employee prior to working with animals, to help prevent occupation-related disorders, and to help identify emerging occupation-related health disorders, so they can be promptly diagnosed and corrected. Participation in this program is mandatory for all personnel working with LSU-owned animals utilized in teaching, research, and testing. Program participants include facility services personnel, animal caretakers, principal investigators, scientific technical staff, graduate students, student workers, and post-doctoral and visiting scientists. Medical information is maintained as confidential and is retained by the LSU Student Health Center.
Part of this program is a risk assessment to identify, evaluate, manage, and reduce potential health risks associated with the care and use of animals at the institution. Medical surveillance is a critical component of effective occupational health programs and involves the evaluation of health risks associated with an individual’s exposure to animals and hazardous agents. The initial evaluation establishes a baseline of an individual’s health and potential exposure risks. Subsequent updates help assess an individual’s changing risks. In many cases, an initial risk assessment is all that is necessary. For some individuals, however, a clinical examination and vaccination(s) may be required as well.
NOTE: When infected animals are to be housed in ABSL3 facilities, then all personnel working with the animals must complete the Medical Questionnaire and schedule a physical examination with the OH&S Physician at the LSU Student Health Center.
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals requires an occupational health and safety program, and it “must” be part of the overall animal care and use program.
To participate in the OHSP, each person who will have contact with animals or who may be exposed to chemical or infectious animal waste, will be required to complete a confidential health questionnaire. In order to provide the most accurate information on the questionnaire, employees should discuss with his/her supervisor any potential physical, chemical, or infectious risks or hazards to which the employee may be exposed while working with animals.
Individuals at increased risk of illness or injury due to drug-related immune suppression, HIV infection, pregnancy, concurrent illness, musculoskeletal problems, etc. are strongly advised to disclose and discuss these risks with the OH&S physician at the LSU Student Health Center, or with their family physician.
- In consultation with the principal investigating supervisor, each new and continuing animal worker completes an initial heath questionnaire (Risk Assessment Questionnaire) and submits it directly to the OH&S physician.
- Using the information provided in the questionnaire, the OH&S physician reviews and assesses the risks and hazards to which the person may be exposed in the course of carrying out their assigned duties. Each program participant is assigned a risk level (very high, high, moderate, low) indicative of the type and extent of contact with animals or their waste products, as well as other physical, chemical, or microbiological hazards to which they may be exposed in the vivaria.
- Based on assigned risk level, the OH&S physician may request additional medical information through completion of a medical health questionnaire, and consultation with the program participant, and may perform a physical examination, diagnostic tests, and/or administer immunizations.
- The LSU Student Health Center establishes and maintains a medical record for each program participant, and includes in that record, copies of the risk and health questionnaires.
- The OH&S physician notifies the IACUC, regarding completion of program requirements, as well as clearance of the program participant to perform their assigned animal-related duties.
- The program participant and supervisor are notified of any restrictions or precautions needed in work assignments.
B. Illness or Injury: All medical conditions, including work-related injuries, must be reported to the program participant’s direct supervisor. The program participant may be required to contact the Injury Call Center (1-877-764-3574) for telephone assessment and instruction regarding local medical providers. Severe injuries may be referred to nearby hospitals or emergency services.
- The LSU OHSP Medical Health Questionnaire must be completed and presented to the private physician prior to or at the time of the office visit.
- Confirmation of the office visit, immunizations administered, and recommendations for work restriction, are to be sent to the LSU Student Health Center to the attention of Dr. John Perret.
- The LSU Student Health Center will establish and maintain a medical record for each program participant, and will include in that record, copies of the risk and health questionnaires.
- The LSU Student Health Center physician will notify the program participant, their supervisor, and the IACUC, regarding completion of program requirements, as well as clearance of the program participant to perform their assigned animal-related duties.
- The program participant and supervisor will be notified of any restrictions or precautions needed in work assignments.
The IACUC has the responsibility to verify that a risk assessment has been completed before an individual is allowed to work with animals. Individuals will not be granted access to animal areas until they have completed the risk assessment. Individuals will not be able to be added to an approved IACUC protocol until they are enrolled in the program.
To enroll in the OHSP please download and complete the: