About the Occupational Health and Safety for the Animal Care Program (OccHealth ACP)

The Occupational Health and Safety for the Animal Care Program (OccHealth ACP) is a concerted effort of the Environmental Health and Safety Department, the IACUC, the Attending Veterinarian, a contracted medical advisor, principal investigators and their student assistants; the Animal Care Facility workers; and the animal users themselves. These groups cooperate to formulate personnel safety and health management as appropriate for each person's identified risk factors. All personnel that are involved in the direct care of animals and their living quarters and those individuals who have direct contact with animals (live or dead), their viable tissues, body fluids or wastes are included in this program. Note that this description is limited to TSU faculty, staff and students with animal or animal material contact.

Risk Assessment & Medical History

The assessment of risk is determined by frequency of contact, intensity of exposure, hazards associated with the animals being handled, hazardous properties of agents used in 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.

In addition to the completing the Risk Assessment, every faculty, student or staff member having direct research animal contact or requiring access to vivaria must complete the Medical History Questionnaire to determine if their work assignment and/ or medical status pose exposure risks that may require additional health recommendations or safety measures. Principal investigators are responsible for ensuring that their faculty, staff, and students working in their research space complete the Risk Assessment and medical history questionnaire.

Obtaining Healthcare Services

TSU has a health care program for its employees, who may obtain various immunizations, medical evaluations and preventive medicines through Health Select United Health Medical plan. Students may obtain these services through the Student Health Center Clinic on campus. Hence, tetanus vaccination and treatment for bites, scratches and illness or injury will be provided by the University's Student Health Center for students. Faculty and staff must receive vaccinations and treatments via their primary care physicians (PCPs) from health plans provided by the University. Institutional policies are in place for personal hygiene, handling hazardous agents and personnel protection.

Responsibilities of the Occupational Health and Safety Physician

A contract physician in the Student Health Clinic on the campus of TSU is responsible for reviewing the Risk Assessment and Medical History questionnaire forms. All HIPPA guidelines and regulations regarding patient privacy are adhered to in storing Occupational Health and Safety program participant files in the Student Health Clinic. The IACUC, TSU's Risk Management Specialist, the Director of the Department of Environmental and Health and Safety and the contract medical advisor are responsible for the planning and monitoring for the Occupational Health and Safety - Animal Care and Use Program activities, goals and objectives.

Occupational Health & Safety Training

Via the Occupational Health and Safety Animal Care Program, faculty, staff and students will receive educational and on-the-job training regarding the inherent hazards associated with handling laboratory animals and working in an animal facility. The training will provide information regarding allergies to laboratory animals, chemical safety, physical hazards, handling of waste materials, potential zoonotic diseases, and precautions taken during pregnancy, and illness or decreased immunocompentence. The training will be sponsored by RECS and conducted by the Department of Environmental Safety, the IACUC, and the DRERS.

Reporting Injuries & Illnesses

Injuries are reported by faculty, staff and students to the Environmental Health and Safety Department by completing and submitting an Accident and Incident report form to the Department. The form will then be reviewed by the TSU IACUC and the Health and Safety Committee (HSC) for potential correction of unsafe practices or conditions.

Medicat is the secure, HIPAA-compliant, online system used as a repository for Medical History and Risk Assessment documents. Before entering the Animal Care Facility (ACF), persons are to complete the electronic Medical History and Risk Assessment documents in the Medicat system. The account must be created whereby users may enter and submit their data. New users may click on the Medicat Account Request to have a new account created.