Occupational Health & Safety Program (OHSP)

The University has a multidisciplinary approach to assessing hazards associated with the use of animals and potentially hazardous agents. Animal facilities are designed with engineering controls over potential hazards; operational practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) augment this control.  For example, research personnel working in animal facilities are required to wear a clean laboratory coat or disposable gown as minimal protection. Disposable gloves are available in all animal-housing rooms; their use is strongly encouraged during any animal handling activities. Depending on the health status of the animals involved or the use of hazardous agents in research, additional PPE may be required, such as additional disposable gowns, masks, shoe covers, and special gloves (e.g., nitrile). Project-specific PPE requirements are outlined in individual Special Animal Safety Protocols (SASPs).

Note, however, that the key component to an effective safety program associated with the use of animals is enhanced awareness by UofL faculty, staff, and students of potential risks. While many activities require general safety training provided by DEHS, such as General Laboratory Safety / Hazardous Waste Training, General Bloodborne Pathogen Training, and Radiation Training, enrollment in the Occupational Health and Safety Program for Animal Handlers, which has been specifically designed for personnel working with animals or in animal facilities, is mandatory.


To Enroll 

As discussed in the IACUC policies "Individual Risk Assessment and Medical Surveillance" and "Required Training," enrollment in the Occupational Health and Safety Program for Animal Handlers is mandatory for all personnel exposed to animals or animal areas and must be renewed every three years. This is accomplished via two steps:

Step 1. Training

The primary reference for all personnel working with laboratory animals is a course on the CITI Program website titled “Occupational Health and Safety Training for Animal Handlers,” which was jointly published by DEHS, CPM, and the ORS/RRF. This material, which is briefly presented during IACUC-mandated “Level II Training,” includes information related to animal-related hazards such as allergies, bites, and scratches; zoonotic diseases; physical hazards such as “sharps,” electrical hazards, and compressed gas cylinders; and the use of hazardous agents. All individuals wishing to work independently with animals must take this course and successfully pass a quiz based on its contents.

The course and quiz can be found on the CITI website: www.citiprogram.org

Click Here for General Instructions for Registering for or Updating an Existing CITI Account.

Once you log in, you will find a module entitled "Occupational Health and Safety Training for Animal Handlers." Open the course, read the brochure, and take the quiz at the end. Please send an email to iacuc@louisville.edu when completed.

Note: Similar to the IACUC-sponsored “Level I Training,” the OHSP also includes an “OHS Level I Training” for individuals that will be exposed to laboratory animals or research facilities on single occasions with no intention of working independently. This consists of a brochure titled “Introduction to Occupational Hazards Associated with the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.” This handout is provided by the RRF to visiting personnel who must remain under the supervision of a Level II trained staff member.

Click here to view "Level I OHSP" Brochure

Step 2. Individual Risk Assessment

Your understanding of potential hazards in animals and animal facilities does not prepare you to mitigate risks associated with your personal medical status. Conditions such as pregnancy, immune-suppression, and preexisting allergies may increase risks of occupationally-acquired illness. Therefore, enrollment in the OHSP also requires completion of a Periodic Animal Contact Health Survey, which allows individualized risk assessment by an OHS physician. PLEASE DO NOT FAX or EMAIL the Periodic Health Survey.  Mail ONLY! Thanks.

To open/download the Periodic Animal Contact Health Survey, click HERE. Please return the Survey to the IACUC Office (MDR-015) in a sealed envelope labeled with the participant's name and the words "Periodic Animal Contact Health Survey" on the front. Please note that due to potentially sensitive information contained in the survey, the IACUC Office will not open the envelope but will only note its receipt before forwarding on to the Health Services Office. 

You are encouraged to complete a new Periodic Animal Contact Health Survey if your health or medical status changes in any way. You will be required to submit a new survey at least once every three years.

NOTE: The IACUC provides oversight for enrollment in the OHSP related to animal subjects. IACUC-approved animal use privileges are contingent upon complete enrollment. Failure to re-enroll will result in administrative removal as a participant in associated Proposals and thereby loss of animal use privileges. Failure of Principal Investigator enrollment or re-enrollment will result in administrative inactivation of all pertinent Proposals and thereby loss of animal use privileges for the laboratory. The RRF also assists in monitoring by controlling facility access; access into central vivaria is not granted until individuals have completed the enrollment process (i.e., completion of OHS Level II Training and the Periodic Animal Contact Health Survey). The RRF will also be instructed to remove access to animal facilities for individuals failing to re-enroll.

Questions? Email the or phone us at 502-852-6899.