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Occupational Health & Safety Program: Requirements for Individuals With Research Animal Exposure

UC San Diego's Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP) requirements for employees and affiliates who work with or near research animals.


Risk Assessments and Health Questionnaire Form A & Health Questionnaire Form B are required as per OHSP enrollment. See information below on what is required for these forms. OHSP enrollment is required for campus community members who have direct contact with animals, animal waste, animal tissue or enter the vivarium.


UC San Diego Occupational Health & Safety Program is administered by the Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) and Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S). The OHSP is designed to promote a safe work environment by minimizing the risks of illness or injury associated with working with or around research animals.

Personnel working directly with research animals or who may have indirect animal contact face several occupational health risks, including the possibility of allergic reactions, animal-related injuries such as bites or kicks, zoonoses (diseases that spread from animals to humans), and exposure to hazardous materials.

Based on an occupational safety risk assessment, or if personnel have pre-existing medical conditions or experience allergic reactions around animals, additional requirements and surveillance may be needed. This can include personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical surveillance, such as medical consultation, medical screening, or the offer of vaccinations.

This program includes initial enrollment with a required three-year review of animal exposure risks along with health history screening, routine and specialized immunizations, health surveillance, and wellness promotion.

The Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP) provides information and procedures to protect the health and safety of individuals working with or near research animals. This covers the Animal Care Program (ACP) staff, research staff, students, maintenance personnel, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee members, and visitors.

Required Enrollment

OHSP enrollment is required for campus personnel who have direct contact with animals, animal waste, and animal tissue. It is also required for campus service personnel that may enter a vivarium or have indirect exposure to animals, entering animal research areas such as Campus Police, Custodial Services, and Facilities Management.

OHSP Program Elements:

  1. Risk assessment
    1. Workplace Risk/Safety Assessment
      1. Workplace reviews performed by ACP, IACUC, and EH&S
    2. Individual Risk Assessments and Health Questionnaire Form A & Health Questionnaire Form B
      1. Initial
      2. Every three years
  1. Personal Protective Equipment
  2. Training
    1. Initial
    2. Reoccurring
  1. Safety Considerations Meetings (Researchers, ACP, & EH&S)
  2. Medical surveillance
  3. Facilities / Equipment

Medical Surveillance


Participation in pre-placement medical surveillance is required for campus personnel who will have direct contact with research animals or may have indirect contact through their job classification (such as facilities Maintenance and PD). Volunteer enrollment into the OHSP is available to anyone with research-related exposures who does not meet the requirements for required enrollment as defined below. An annual medical surveillance follow-up is required for personnel who work in the Animal Care Program. A three-year medical surveillance follow-up is required for all others enrolled in the OHSP. 

A three-year medical surveillance follow-up is required for anyone enrolled in the OHSP. In select cases, more frequent medical evaluations, testing, and vaccinations may be required as determined by COEM. See Vaccination for Researchers and Research Support Staff.

OHSP enrollment and medical monitoring are required for employees and students who:

  • Have direct contact with research animals or some animal tissue
  • Enter vivarium or animal housing rooms
  • Work with or enter areas with non-human primates, pregnant non-rodent mammals, wild birds, or wild mammals


PIs/supervisors are responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff, and students working in their research space that have animal contact participate in the OHSP.

PIs/supervisors enroll personnel in the OHSP by submitting the online Risk Assessment Work Evaluation Questionnaire for Research Participants with Animal Exposure (A Form). This form is provided to Principal Investigators (P.I.) for the purpose of identifying specific work exposures and potential health hazards in the work environment.

PI’s/supervisors are responsible for updating and resubmitting the online Risk Assessment Work Evaluation Questionnaire for Research Participants with Animal Exposure (A Form) when the scope of work may change specific work exposures and potential health hazards in the work environment.

Personnel covered by OHSP are responsible for completing the Medical History Questionnaire for Research Participants with Animal Exposure (B Form) or other medical forms as requested and informing supervision of medical clearance. Personnel are also responsible for following all medical advice, work restrictions, etc. provided by COEM.

Medical surveillance service providers

The UC San Diego Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) is the only acceptable provider of medical surveillance. Consultations, medical testing, immunizations and medical exams are specific to work/research activities and species contact.

  • PI/supervisor completes Form A, a Risk Assessment for the participant.  
  • The participant completes Form B, Health Questionnaire through MyChart. The PI or supervisor is not allowed to view the participant's Form B, due to confidentiality laws and Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPPA) requirements. (Access to Form B will be provided once Form A is completed.)

Some individuals will be required to participate in additional medical surveillance or may be required to receive an occupational medical consult. Consultations for additional medical surveillance and medical consults are specific to the species/agents each person works with.

A UC San Diego Occupational Health Provider reviews participants' Form A, Risk Assessment and Form B, Health Questionnaire. If the provider has questions, they will contact the participant. Once all medical surveillance requirements are completed, a Medical Clearance Form will be emailed to enrolled individuals and their PI/supervisor. The form will indicate species clearance, immunization recommendations, additional medical evaluation (if applicable), and work restrictions (if applicable).

Failure to respond in a timely manner to the COEM provider’s follow-up questions will delay the vivarium clearance process. Vivarium access or the ability to work with or around animals may be delayed, denied or revoked by EH&S and COEM for failure to comply with occupational health requirements. Failure to complete the required three-year reassessment in a timely fashion may cause animal access to be suspended.

Scheduling Appointments with COEM

Important: If referred to UC San Diego Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) for testing, immunizations or further evaluation you will receive a referral form to take with you to COEM. You will need to provide either your department account code or the EH&S account code when you call to making a COEM appointment. This code is required for your appointment. See COEM locations.

Department account code

Employees must provide a department account code when receiving services at COEM, generally only used for tracking purposes; however, if the COEM provider does not authorize COEM services, the charge will be covered by the department account code.


  • Initial OHSP enrollment and screening for UC San Diego staff and registered volunteers is provided at no cost to the individual.
  • For UC San Diego paid individuals and registered volunteers:
    • Costs for additional medical evaluation, testing, vaccinations, or other medical services received at COEM are paid for through EH&S funding if recommended and approved by the COEM provider.
  • For UC San Diego affiliates, individuals not paid by UC San Diego and unregistered volunteers:
    • The PI is responsible for the cost of additional medical evaluation or services (except vaccinations or TB testing) received at COEM when required to complete OSHP enrollments.
    • Campus EH&S funding currently covers the cost of vaccinations and TB testing at COEM, if recommended and approved by the COEM provider. 


Recommended job-related immunizations are voluntary with the exception of mandatory immunizations indicated for specific work exposure (e.g., non-human primate contact may require measles vaccination).

How to get immunizations

  • Participants will receive email notification of immunizations recommended by the EH&S Bio Safety team or COEM team. Only immunizations required or recommended by the COEM provider will be provided at COEM.
  • Participants must call COEM to schedule an appointment at the COEM phone number below this page. Be ready to provide the account code listed at the bottom of your clearance form. See COEM locations.

Participants may choose to obtain vaccinations through their personal physicians. Copies of vaccination records may be requested through COEM at

Submitting the A Form (Researchers)

PIs/Supervisors complete and submit the A Form to enroll researchers into the OHSP.

Note: Researchers should be listed on the IACUC protocol and the Lab Roster before submitting the

  1. Complete A Form for the researcher. The form will solicit the following information:
    1. Researcher’s valid phone number and UCSD email address
    2. Active IACUC Protocol and, if applicable, Biological Use Authorization
    3. Animal species and type of animal contact
    4. Hazardous materials involved in the animal research
  2. Prompt researcher to sign up for a MyChart account to complete MyChart for access to their (B form) Instructions on signing up for a MyChart account can be found under Submitting the B Form.
  3. Update A Form for personnel if the following occurs: 
    1. Change in Health status including allergies
    2. Change in animal species
    3. Change in type of animal contact
    4. Change in hazardous materials
Please note, only the researcher will be provided with a copy of their clearance letter via their MyChart account.  If you need a copy of the clearance, please request directly from the researcher.

Submitting the B Form (Researchers)

Once the A form is received, COEM will review and send the B form to personnel via UCSD MyChart to protect health information.

  1. Please ensure you have an active UCSD MyChart account. If you do not have an active UCSD My Chart account, please create one via the following steps:
    1. Contact UCSD Health Registration at (800) 926-8273 or by clicking on the “sign up now” button on the website. 
    2. Obtain My Chart Activation Code via email or text message. Activate Immediately.
    3. Please ensure that you have UCSD MyChart access within 2-3 business days after the A form has been submitted.
  2. COEM will receive the A Form and within 5-7 business days, will schedule you for a "remote review" in Epic, and send the B Form to be completed electronically, via UCSD MyChart.
    1. Click on “ECheck-In”
    2. Follow the prompts to complete the B Form.

Please ensure your B form is completed PRIOR to your remote review, otherwise, your appointment will be canceled and your access/renewal for vivarium work will be delayed. During this remote review, there is no need to call or be present for this visit, as this visit is only for one of the COEM providers to review and complete your medical clearance to work with animals.

Once cleared, COEM will send you a clearance notification letter via your MyChart account and update your IACUC profile. It is your responsibility to inform your PI/Lab manager of your clearance.

Safety Training


All employees working with research animals must take Orientation to Animal Research at UC San Diego presented by Animal Care Program Technical Training Services.

Additional training may be required or recommended for specific risk factors or conditions specific to your job tasks.


PIs are responsible for assessing health and safety risks associated with their research projects and implementing appropriate Hazard Control Plans, engineering controls, Personal Protective Equipment, and safety training.

Consult with Environment, Health & Safety for the following:

  • Facilities design and maintenance
  • Research design and procedures
  • Hazardous materials involved

Related Links and Resources

Contact the COEM Team for questions about these forms and vaccination appointments at (858) 249-5015. For Vivarium Safety, contact