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Policy Number: 2004-025-io
Policy Title: Occupational Health Program Enrollment
Purpose: A fundamental responsibility of the Occupational Health Program (OHP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) is to reduce the health and safety risks and hazards associated with both direct and indirect animal contact. For individuals with research- or teaching-related exposure to animals and/or animal facilities, risk or health assessments are performed through enrollment in University’s OHP. Information obtained through risk or health screenings will be used to determine clearance for animal exposure. The level of occupational health and safety practices required will be determined by the hazards and risks imposed by the environment, the degree of contact with animal species, and the health status of the individual.
  • Animal Use Area. Established animal facilities, core service facilities, and PI laboratories where animals are housed and or used/studied.
Policy: Enrollment in the Occupational Health Program is mandatory for the following participants.
  1. Faculty, staff, and students named in an approved animal care and use protocol for teaching, research, or outreach must enroll in the UW-Madison OHP by completing the Animal Contact Risk Questionnaire (ACRQ). In cases where an individual is the Principal Investigator on a UW-Madison protocol but is employed by a different institution (e.g. USDA) while holding a zero-dollar appointment at UW-Madison, a risk assessment from their home institution may suffice. This requires approval by a Risk Assessment Specialist within the Animal Research Safety Group, within the Environment, Health and Safety Office (EHS) in consultation with medical staff at UHS.
  2. Research animal veterinarians, research animal pathologists, and staff working in the animal facility must enroll in the UW-Madison OHP by completing the ACRQ. In cases where staff work inside the facility but do not come into direct contact with animals and have minimal exposure to animal associated risks, it may not be necessary to enroll in the OHP. A Risk Assessment Specialist from the office of EHS, in consultation with medical staff at UHS, will determine the level of risk and the need for enrollment in OHP or equivalent training/documentation.
  3. Animal care staff must enroll in the UW-Madison OHP by completing the ACRQ. This includes individuals, including students, who work or volunteer in animal facilities. If an individual’s role in a facility is associated with minimal animal handling and animal-associated risk (e.g. feeding fish in a pond), a position description will be reviewed for risk and if deemed appropriately low, the individual does not need to enroll in the OHP. This decision is made by the Risk Assessment Specialist from the office of EHS in consultation with medical staff at UHS.
  4. Animal Care and Use Committee members, including lay members & ex-officio must enroll in the UW-Madison OHP by completing the ACRQ.
  5. Veterinary medical students must enroll in the UW-Madison OHP by completing the ACRQ.
  6. Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital (VMTH) staff including: faculty with clinical duties, staff veterinarians and residents, veterinary technicians and barn personnel, reception, medical records and other VMTH office staff, pharmacists, pharmacy staff, and central supply staff, and VMTH employed facility and maintenance personnel must enroll in the UW-Madison OHP by completing the Animal Contact Risk Questionnaire (ACRQ).
  7. Students enrolled in a University of Wisconsin-Madison class that involves animals. There are two categories of courses listed in the timetable.
    1. A course associated with minimal exposure to animals is associated with a small risk. In this case, the instructor(s) will make an announcement and there will be signage/documentation of the potential risks, and these students will be advised they may contact Occupational Medicine to address health concerns. Enrollment in the OHP is not required. The designation of a course not warranting enrollment will be made by the Risk Assessment Specialist from the office of EHS in consultation with medical staff at UHS.
    2. For a class with more than minimal animal contact and/or exposure (e.g. a class for taking care of animals) the instructor(s) and students must enroll in the OHP and complete the ACRQ.
  8. A visitor is defined as any individual who is not authorized to normally be in an animal use area. All visitors to animal areas must be informed of the proper use, and wear the same personal protective equipment required of all other University personnel in the same animal area on campus. This includes compliance with all OSHA standards including the respirator use standard (29 CFR 1910.134). There are two categories of visitors relevant to this policy.
    1. Visitors to areas where the risk of illness or injury is low and where there will not be more than very casual, short-term direct animal contact: In this case, the visitor needs supervision and will be informed of the potential risks by signage/documentation or completion of the UW Disclosure statement (e.g. Contractor, VMO).
    2. Visitors who will experience more than minimal exposure will be required to have one of the following:
      1. Prior risk assessment from a different institution: Communication of prior assessment and acceptance to Occupational Medicine in UHS. This communication will be facilitated by supervisor of the animal facility.
      2. Reading and signing the UW Disclosure statement
      3. Incorporation of risk assessment requirements in departmental contract
      4. Enrolled in the UW-Madison OHP and complete the ACRQ.
  9. UW-Madison Employee Service and Security Personnel (non-animal facility employee; e.g. physical plant personnel, police).
    1. EHS safety personnel who will have indirect or direct animal contact must enroll in the UW-Madison occupational safety program through completion of the ACRQ.
    2. Service, security, and maintenance personnel are defined as electricians, plumbers, steamfitters, sheet metal workers, painters, maintenance mechanics, other maintenance staff, and members of the UW Police. All service personnel will be enrolled in the UW-Madison OHP for service personnel, which will include:
      1. Required live (face-to-face) or online training during the Safety Bootcamp course provided during onboarding that provides an overview of animal-related hazards and health concerns.
      2. Required completion of a "Service Personnel Limited Animal Area Access Form (SPLAAAF)" for all service personnel who may enter animal facilities. Because level of animal contact for service personnel is low and often highly variable, the purpose of the service personnel screening is to identify staff with health conditions that may put them at greater risk from animal and/or related microbial hazards.
        1. If no concerns are identified by UHS medical staff, a clearance statement will be sent to the employee’s supervisor and the employee will be permitted to work in animal use areas.
        2. If concerns are identified by UHS medical staff, the employee will be counselled and may be required to complete the ACRQ.
        3. If service personnel are routinely assigned to a particular animal facility, they will complete the full ACRQ regarding the activities conducted at that facility. The ACRQ will be evaluated as described above.

Non-Human Primate Facilities. Before entering a non-human primate area (crossing the barrier) where non-human primates are housed, at minimum a negative TB test is required and evidence of measles titer may be required. These individuals must also be informed of the hazards and risks associated with the herpes B virus and they shall be informed of what to do in case of a possible exposure to herpes B. They must follow standard testing and practices to protect both humans and nonhuman primates from the transmission of zoonotic diseases such as M. tuberculosis.

Additional requirements for participants defined above:
Biosafety Level 2 and 3 Facilities. Anyone entering Biosafety Level 3 or Biosafety Level 2 research facilities shall be oriented to the hazards and risks in those areas by appropriate facility personnel and comply with University practices to reduce, control or eliminate those risks.
Training Documentation. All required training provided to the above groups must be documented. A copy of this documentation will be retained.

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