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Occupational Health & Safety Program

OH&S Flow Chart

Date adopted: September 7, 2005

Last updated: November 16, 2012


The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals requires that "an occupational health program must be part of the overall animal care and use program." The goal of the occupational health and safety (OH&S) program is to prevent occupational injury and illness by avoiding, controlling or eliminating hazards in the workplace as well as to provide for early diagnosis and treatment when necessary. 

To assure compliance with this requirement, it is the policy of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to provide procedural recommendations to the Institutional Official for a comprehensive, risk-based OH&S program to be offered to all students, employees, and visitors who work with or near laboratory or wild animals in the course of their association with the University of Montana.

Policy Procedures

A.   Responsibility

  • The institution is responsible for providing an occupational health and safety program (OH&S) for the animal care and use program.
  • The OH&S program is administered by the Office of the Vice-President for Research.
  • The Vice-President for Research serves as the Institutional Official for the animal care and use program.
  • The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) makes recommendations to the IO concerning the procedures involved in the OH&S program.

B.   Participation

  • All students, employees, and visitors who work with or near laboratory or wild animals in the course of their association with The University of Montana are offered the opportunity to participate.
  • The extent and level of participation of personnel in the OH&S program is based on risk assessment by a qualified OH&S physician.
  • All new classified Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR) personnel are required to have pre-employment medical surveillance evaluation.
  • Participant capture and training
    • Visitors
      • Right-to-know hazard information posted in facility
      • LAR main entrances
        • OH&S informational letters
        • Risk assessment forms/postage-paid envelopes
        • Sign-in sheet verifying availability of information
        • Declination to participate in OH&S program
    • Employees and Animal Users
      • All information available to visitors as listed above and additional items listed below
      • Annual training by IACUC and LAR - includes reminders of updating risk assessment with changes in medical conditions or animal exposure intensity
        • LAR facility users and principal investigators (PI)
        • Wildlife researchers
        • Maintenance personnel
        • Security personnel
      • Identification through experimental hazards assessment
        • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
        • Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)
        • Animal Use Protocol (AUP) evaluated by IACUC
    • Annual policy reminder to department chairs and PIs with active AUPs
      • IACUC Coordinator distributes OH&S policy and instructions for risk assessment
      • Encourages PI identification of visiting scientists, new students, research personnel

C.   Risk Assessment

  • AUPs - assess experimental hazards
    • Approval number required, when applicable, from
      • IBC
      • RSC
    • Descriptions of safety procedures, personal protective equipment, and knowledge of zoonotic risks required in AUP
  • Work Environment (non-experimental hazards) - LAR facilities evaluated annually by on-site visits by
    • Occupational Health Physician
    • Environmental Health & Risk Management (EH&RM) Office
  • Personnel - medical history and animal exposure intensity evaluated by OH&S physician
    • Risk assessment questionnaire initially and when any changes in medical conditions or animal exposure intensity occur
    • Medical surveillance questionnaire annually for personnel assessed as high risk by the OH&S physician
  • Risk assessment or medical surveillance required for Griz (proximity) card access to LAR facilities and before beginning wildlife field work

D.   OH&S Provider

  • Contracted by the University of Montana
  • Primary responsibilities (see flow chart, page 1)
    • Reviews individual medical questionnaires
      • Risk assessment
      • Medical surveillance
    • Provides physical examinations, consultations, and post-exposure counseling on a case-by-case basis
    • Conducts annual hazard assessment of LAR facilities
    • Assesses hazards of novel projects at the request of the IACUC
    • Provides feedback to IACUC of identified trends in occupation-related diseases of participants and recommends preventive intervention
  • Communication (see flow chart)
    • Informs IACUC Coordinator and participant electronically
      • Risk assessment - no medical surveillance necessary
      • Risk assessment - medical surveillance warranted, individual cleared for animal work without restrictions
    • Informs IACUC Coordinator and participant by letter
      • Medical surveillance - further evaluation by OH&S physician - cleared with restrictions
      • Medical surveillance - further evaluation by OH&S physician - serious health problem or direct threat to himself/herself or others
  • Recordkeeping by OH&S Physician Office
    • Maintains confidential medical information according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
    • Personal medical information is not shared with The University of Montana

E.   IACUC Coordinator

  • Communication (see flow chart)
    • Sends annual reminders to current medical surveillance participants
    • Sends annual policy reminders, participation opportunity, and risk assessment forms to
      • All PIs with current AUPs
      • Administrative heads of departments or institutes that are
        • Housed in the same buildings as LAR facilities
        • Listed on active AUPs
    • Provides information for participants needing respirators
      • Contact information for EH&RM
      • Required paper work completed for
        • Medical surveillance
        • Respirator questionnaire
        • Verification of OH&S physician clearance for fit-test
    • Contacts the Director of HR when notified by the OH&S physician of an individual for whom recommended medical restrictions would impact his/her employment
  • Recordkeeping -- maintain:
    • List of PIs and animal users from AUPs who require OH&S training and risk assessment
    • Records of individuals attending OH&S training sessions
    • Records of IACUC notifications from OH&S physician of cleared personnel
    • Records of reminders distributed and dates sent