Animal Hazards Program (AHP)

The UArizona’s Animal Hazards Program (AHP) is the occupational health program for personnel caring for, or using, animals in research or teaching. Its purpose is to reduce the human health risks associated with the care and use of animals in research or teaching. Individuals wishing to be listed on an IACUC protocol or those employed in a UArizona unit whose primary operations surround animal exposures (ex. University Animal Care, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, etc.) must register into and maintain enrollment within the Animal Hazards Program (AHP).

Animal Hazards Program Mandate and Scope
Program Components
Animal Hazards Program Sub-Committee
Animal Hazards Program (AHP) Enrollment Requirements
Exceptions
Medical Surveillance
Declination of Medical Surveillance
Monitoring of Animal Use Facilities for Hazards

Animal Hazards Program Mandate & Scope

Requirements for an occupational health program for the safety of personnel associated with the care and use of animals are found in the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. A description of the UArizona occupational health program (AHP) is included in the Animal Welfare Assurance required by the National Institutes of Health.

Full accreditation with the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International also requires an occupational health program (AHP) for personnel associated with the care and use of animals. AAALAC requires compliance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide; National Research Council), the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (FASS) and the Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals (National Academy of Sciences). Under the Guide, the scope of the occupational health program (AHP) must include:

  1. Hazard identification and risk assessment
  2. Personnel training
  3. Personal hygiene
  4. Facilities, procedures, and monitoring
  5. Personal protection
  6. Medical evaluation and preventive medicine

AAALAC conducts triennial inspections to assure compliance with all applicable occupational health and safety requirements.

Animal Hazards Program (AHP) Program Components

Animal Hazards Program IACUC Sub-Committee

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has oversight of the Animal Hazards Program (AHP) and its implementation. The IACUC makes programmatic decisions based on current occupational health best practices.  As needed, the IACUC may recruit/form an AHP sub-committee or working group composed of; individuals from various UArizona units who have expertise in the health risks associated with the care and use of animals, as well as those who administer/support the AHP.

UArizona Occupational Health

The Occupational Health unit conducts medical surveillance and clinical services in support for the AHP.  Occupational Health providers use the Animal Hazards Risk Assessment forms jointly completed by Employees and their Supervisors/PI’s as the primary instrument for obtaining information to determine the risk associated with a participant’s animal activities.

Research Laboratory Safety Services

Research Laboratory Safety Services (RLSS) provides direct support to the AHP by maintaining and hosting the Medical Surveillance online forms application.  RLSS appoints a dedicated staff member as their Medical Surveillance Form Coordinator, as indicated by contact data on the “Home” screen when logged in the online forms application, to be at the service of those needing assistance with AHP forms.   

The RLSS also administers three specific research compliance programs that support the AHP -radiation, chemical, and biological safety. Each of these research compliance programs is led by a responsible officer or appointed steering committee that grants approval/authorization to those Principal Investigators/Supervisors requesting to use and/or possess regulated hazardous materials (radiation, biological, chemical) under University licensure, registration, permit. RLSS provides all-inclusive services that include publishing required program rules, plans and specific procedures, conducting hazard assessments, performing exposure monitoring, routine on-site inspections, incident investigation, spill response assistance, hazard communication signs and labels, and emergency response and training. RLSS documents and evaluates all hazardous regulated material use listed in IACUC protocols and amendments before work with hazardous material commences. Worksites are routinely inspected by RLSS personnel to evaluate and ensure continued compliance.

RLSS and Risk Management Services (RMS – see below) jointly support the AHP.  Both RLSS and RMS coordinate required AHP services (ex. form completion, workplace/protocol hazard assessment(s), respirator fit testing, safety training, and client consultation(s)) between the two units staffing and resources to best serve The UArizona as a whole. 

Risk Management Services

Risk Management Services (RMS) administers the University's overall risk management effort by providing occupational health & safety services/programs, and insurance coverage for property, liability, and workers' compensation. Those enrolled in the animal hazard protection program receive support from RMS regarding occupational injuries/exposures, medical surveillance, hazardous waste, facility air quality, fire safety, emergency response, respiratory protective equipment fit test and training, and ergonomics.

RLSS and Risk Management Services (RMS) jointly support the AHP.  Both RLSS and RMS coordinate required AHP services (ex. form completion, workplace/protocol hazard assessment(s), respirator fit testing, safety training, and client consultation(s)) between the two units staffing and resources to best serve the UArizona as a whole. 

University Animal Care

University Animal Care (UAC) provides support for items 2, 3, 4, and 5 (above). University Animal Care (UAC) is responsible for overseeing all animal care, husbandry, and veterinary functions for the University. Animal facilities that house traditional laboratory animal species are under the direct control of UAC.

Animal Hazards Program (AHP) Enrollment Requirements

Participation in the AHP is required for:

  • Individuals caring for, or using, live animals in research or teaching
  • Individuals working with unfixed animal tissues, cells, fluids, or wastes
  • Individuals with environmental contact with live or dead animals

Non-University of Arizona students, consultants, volunteers, or visiting scholars who will be performing research animal activities as defined above may also be required to participate in the AHP.

Exceptions

The following personnel may be exempt from participation in the AHP:

  • Those only working with fixed or sterilized animal tissues, fluids, or wastes.
  • Those only working with commercially available animal tissues, cells or antibodies.
  • Non-University of Arizona staff and students, unless performing animal activities as defined above.

Animal Hazards Program (AHP) Enrollment Forms

Anyone wishing to either become involved with select UArizona units whose primary operations involve animals (University Animal Care, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, etc.) or become listed onto, or maintain listing upon, a Principal Investigator’s (PI’s) IACUC protocol must submit an “Animal Hazards Program Risk Assessment (Employee)” form prior to participating in or supporting the animal research and/or animal teaching protocols. The “Animal Hazards Program Risk Assessment (Employee)” form can be located at the online forms application log-in.

The Principal Investigator (PI) and/or PI designated Protocol Contact (PC) will also need to submit an “Animal Hazard Risk Assessment (PI/PC)” form detailing responsibilities and exposures for everyone who completed an “Animal Hazards Program Risk Assessment (Employee)” to be listed upon their IACUC protocol.  Some UArizona units whose primary operations involve animals (University Animal Care, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, etc.) may not have an IACUC protocol, so the Supervisor completes the “Animal Hazard Risk Assessment (PI/PC)” form for each worker submitting an “Animal Hazards Program Risk Assessment (Employee)” form in these select UArizona units.

Medical Surveillance

The Basic Occupational Health Care (BOHC) requirements group clinical services that are found to be appropriate/protective for those exposed to different species of animals under a variety of circumstances.  The assigned clinical services to a species and activities grouping is based on current occupational health recommendations and best practices identified from a number of sources.  Assignment into one or multiple BOHC clinical services template(s) is used to reduce the health risks associated with specific animal activities/exposures.

Recommended changes to the clinical service template are reviewed and approved by the OH Medical Director and UA Lead Veterinarian, in consultation SMEs which may include RLSS Biosafety, and reviewed by the IACUC.

After reviewing the Employee & PI/PC jointly submitted Animal Hazard Risk Assessment forms, and in accordance with the BOHC requirements, the Occupational Health unit provider may require a clinic visit. The clinic visit is used to further determine the need for immunizations, diagnostic tests and/or personal protective equipment.

Participants may be periodically recalled for medical service follow-up, depending on the type of animal exposure and the BOHC requirements.

Declination of Medical Surveillance

Registration into and enrollment maintenance within the AHP is required, but medical surveillance and specific clinical services can be declined. Declination forms are available at the online forms application log-inNote, however, that when working with certain species or under certain conditions, immunizations, diagnostic tests and/or personal protective equipment may be required for continued employment or instruction.

Personnel choosing to decline any or all medical surveillance must complete and sign a declination form documenting an understanding of the risk associated with their declination.