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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.

OHSP enrollment is required for campus community members who have direct contact with animals, animal waste, animal tissue or enter the vivarium.

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UC San Diego is committed to maintaining AAALAC accreditation, which includes specific guidelines for occupational health and safety.

Personnel working with research animals 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.

UCSD's Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP) provides information and procedures to protect the health and safety of individuals working with or near research animals. The program is administered in accordance with applicable university policy, as well as privacy and regulatory requirements.

OHSP has 3 parts:

  1. Risk assessment
  2. Medical surveillance
  3. Safety training

Medical surveillance


Medical monitoring is required for employees and students who:

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

Participation in a pre-placement medical surveillance is required for most employees who will have contact with research animals. A three-year medical surveillance follow-up is required. In select cases, more frequent medical evaluations, testing, and vaccinations may be required. See Vaccination for Researchers and Research Support Staff.


PIs/supervisors are responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff, and students working in their research space participate in medical surveillance as required.

Medical surveillance service providers

The EH&S Occupational Health Nurse and UCSD Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) are the only acceptable providers of medical surveillance. Consultations, testing, immunizations and exams are specific to the species each person contacts.

  • PI/supervisor creates a Risk Assessment for the participant by completing the risk assessment or Form A. The PI provides the completed A form, risk assessment, to the participant to turn in with the completed B form.
  • The participant completes Form B or Health Questionnaire. The PI or supervisor is not allowed to view the participants Health Questionnaire or B form. All personnel health information is protected by confidentiality laws.
  • The participant returns the completed A and B forms together to the Occupational Health Nurse, Kathy Bryan at fax (858) 724-3054 (confidential fax), or mail them to Kathy Bryan at mail code 0090, or drop them off to the CRSF building room 231.

EH&S Occupational Health Nurse reviews participant's Risk Assessment and Health Questionnaire. If the nurse has questions, she will contact the participant. Participant receives email notification where the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse either approves the participant for work and/or recommends additional medical services.

Some individuals will be required to participate in additional medical surveillance. Others 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.

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).

Vivarium access can be denied or revoked until you have been medically cleared to work in a vivarium environment.

Important: If you are referred to UCSD Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) for testing, immunizations or further evaluation you will receive a form to take with you to COEM. You will need to provide either your department index number or the EH&S recharge index number when you call to making a COEM appointment.

The EH&S Occupational Health Nurse, (858) 534-8225, is on campus at the Clinical Research Science Facility building, located on Osler Street, next to the Skaggs School of Pharmacy building. (Find it on UCSD's MapLink.)


  • Initial OHSP enrollment and screening is provided at no cost by the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse.
  • For UCSD-paid individuals and registered volunteers:
    • Costs for additional medical evaluation, testing, vaccinations, or other medical services received at COEM are paid for through UCOP Risk Management funding if recommended and approved by the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse.
  • For individuals not paid by UCSD 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 EH&S Occupational Health Nurse.

Department index number

Employees must provide a department index number when receiving services at COEM, generally only used for tracking purposes; however, if the services are not authorized by the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse, the recharge may be made back to the department index number.


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 Occupational Health Nurse. Only immunizations recommended by the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse will be provided at COEM.
  • Participants will call COEM to schedule an appointment at either the La Jolla office, (858) 657-1600, or the Hillcrest office, (619) 471-9210. Be ready to provide the index number listed at the bottom of your clearance form. See COEM locations.

Participants may choose to obtain vaccinations through their personal physician. Send copies of vaccination records to the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse:

  • Fax: (858) 724-3054 (confidential fax)
  • Mail Code: 0090

Safety training


All employees working with research animals must take Orientation to Animal Research at UCSD 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 standard operating procedures, equipment, and safety training.

Consult with Environment, Health & Safety, (858) 534-6059, regarding:

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

Related links

Occupational Health and Safety Related Links

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