Animal Occupational Health and Safety Program (AOHSP)
UC Berkeley is committed to the compliance of all federal and state regulations regarding the protection of university employees. Therefore, the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) collaborates with other units on campus, including the Office for Animal Care and Use (OACU), Office of Laboratory Animal Care (OLAC), Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) and the Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), to ensure that all individuals using or coming into contact with animals enroll in the AOHSP. In addition, the AOHSP abides by the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the National Research Council’s Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals.
This program was designed to protect the health and wellbeing of university employees, students and/or visitors that are exposed to or involved with the care and/or use of animals alone or alongside use of hazardous materials. To accomplish this goal, the AOHSP will provide risk assessment and, if deemed necessary, medical surveillance/screening or prevention programs that is free-of-charge.
At minimum, enrollment in the AOHSP requires the completion of an Animal Exposure Questionnaire (AEQ), which includes:
- The Risk Assessment section will be used to evaluate potential risk that an animal species and the type of research (e.g., exposure to biological, radiation or physical hazards) being done will pose to the individual
- The Health Assessment section will be used to evaluate pertinent work- related health information and facilitates determination of an individual’s ability to work safely with animals.
If you need help completing the AEQ, please refer to the quick tips and directions guide.
Animal work may not begin until the questionnaire has been reviewed by a board certified occupational health physician at the OHC. All answers to the medical questions in this questionnaire are kept strictly confidential pursuant to University policy, State and federal regulations.
IMPORTANT! Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should consult with their personal physician or OB/Gyn to discuss their risks and what precautions should be taken prior to exposure to animals or hazardous agents.
Based on the answers to the AEQ, the Occupational Health Clinic Physician may recommend or require an individual to participate in a medical surveillance/screening or prevention program deemed beneficial to their health, such as:
- Referral to Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S)’s Respiratory Protection Program for respirator fitting and training
- Referral to Occupational Health Services for
- Immunizations and routine systemic vaccination titers (e.g., rabies, tetanus)
- Screening tests (e.g., pulmonary function tests, tuberculosis skin tests)
- Physical examinations
- Participation in the Animal Handler’s Nonhuman Primate Exposure Program by attending a mandatory training class, “Working Safely with Nonhuman Primates” provided by OLAC and specific preventative health measures.
Voluntary versus Required Participation
Although the physician may recommend participation in or use of the various services outlined above, an individual may decline to participate notwithstanding the recommendations. In contrast, participation in select health and safety programs is mandatory for some individuals depending on the individual’s health status and/or nature of their interaction with animals. Specifically, participation in a medical surveillance/screen or prevention program is required for those who:
- May be at a higher risk due to their specific animal work (e.g., exposure to certain viruses) and/or pre-existing medical conditions (e.g., asthma)
- Work with non-human primates (NHPs)
- Work with animals and specific biohazardous agents (e.g., tuberculosis) in a Biosafety Level 3 facility
- Are employed by the Office of Laboratory Animal Care (OLAC), Office for Animal Care and Use (OACU) and/or designated ACUC members
Participation in AOHSP medical surveillance/screening or prevention programs is optional for any individual that does not fall not fit into the above-mentioned criteria.
If you need to make an appointment regarding a work-related injury or for medical surveillance, please call the Occupational Health Clinic at (510) 642-6891.
If you or your doctor have questions or want more information about conditions at your workplace, please contact the Occupational Health Clinic at (510) 642-6891 and ask to speak with the University Health Services Occupational Health Physician.
If you have questions about the AOHSP or on completing the AEQ, please contact the Occupational Health Clinic (510) 642-6891.
In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1.
Work related injuries or illnesses must be report to the PI or supervisor.
During Business Hours: If you receive a work-related injury that requires immediate attention, please go to Urgent Care at the Tang Center. Urgent Care parking and entrance is located on Durant Avenue between Fulton and Ellsworth Streets. If immediate attention is not required, please make an appointment at the Occupational Health Clinic (see above for details).
After Business Hours: Please to go the nearest hospital emergency department. From campus, the closest hospital is Alta Bates Hospital, located just east of Telegraph Avenue on 2450 Ashby Avenue.