Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

The PHS Policy requires a “health program for personnel who work in laboratory animal facilities or have frequent contact with animals” (IV.A.1.f.). The Guide states that, “Each institution must establish and maintain an occupational health and safety program as an essential part of the overall Program of animal care and use. The nature of the OHSP will depend on the facility, research activities, hazards, and animal species involved.” (Guide pages 17-23)

An effective OHSP involves many components including animal care and use, research, environmental health and safety, occupational health, administration and management. A natural point of convergence for these elements at many institutions is the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) (Arena OLAW IACUC Guidebook page 59). As part of your IACUC protocol submission, you will be asked to provide information about how occupational health and safety is addressed for your project.

UH Safety and Health Program A9.750

The University of Hawai’i has a fundamental obligation to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of its students, personnel, and the visiting public whenever they participate in an official University activity. Although the overall responsibility for health and safety rests with the President and is delegated to campus Chancellors/Provosts, Deans, Directors and Department Chairs are responsible for establishing and maintaining programs in their areas which will provide a safe and healthy work and living environment. The primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for its employees, students and visitors remains at the department level. The University’s Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO) is responsible for monitoring compliance with UH Safety and Health Program and AP A9.750.

Animal Welfare Program Procedures

The IACUC and Animal Welfare Program further address the unique occupational health and safety concerns for vertebrate animal users by one of two processes. Those working in the centralized, biomedical vivarium and/or the JABSOM Biocontainment Facility have a requirement to enroll in the AVS OHSP. Others who use vertebrate animals must provide a project-specific plan for occupational health and safety, which is reviewed by the IACUC, EHSO, Biosafety, and when needed, medical professionals.

The OHSP must include but is not limited to identification of hazards, assessment of risk associated with those hazards, and control and prevention strategies. Depending on the species of animal or the amount of animal exposure, the program may not affect all personnel equally. To assist researchers, a template for the project-specific OHSP is available for download here and a link is provided in the IACUC protocol form. The UH Manoa EHSO provides Fieldwork Safety Guidelines as another useful reference for field studies.

Contact awp@hawaii.edu if you have questions about Occupational Health and Safety.

UH Institutional Procedures for Work Related Illness/Injury A9.720

Refer to UH A9.720 for information on how to report a work related illness or injury as well as required forms and procedures for seeking medical treatment.