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Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP)

University of Maryland – Animal Handler Health and Safety Program

The Animal Health and Safety Program is designed to protect the health of personnel and laboratory animals. Enrollment is required for faculty, staff and students who have direct contact with vertebrate animals. This includes personnel who handle live animals, unpreserved tissues or body fluids, soiled animal cages or cage accessories, animal waste or carcasses. The program is optional for faculty, staff and students with indirect animal contact who work in areas where animals are housed but do not handle or touch the animals. This may include laboratory, maintenance, housekeeping, security, and other personnel who perform job duties in animal environments. The extent of the program is based on the individual’s health history and the risks associated with their animal activities.

After reviewing the University Health Center's Notice of Privacy Practices, each individual, with his/her immediate supervisor, completes the Animal Handler Risk Assessment and Animal Handler Immunization and Allergy History Forms which detail the species and other potential hazards associated with his/her activities. The individual then sends the two forms to the Campus Office of Occupational Health in the University Health Center. These two documents are reviewed by health care providers and, if necessary, further evaluations are conducted. Documentation of the assessment by the Office of Occupational Health is sent to the individual’s immediate supervisor.

Other Informational Resources

Occupational Medicine Animal Contact Program
University of Florida

Occupational Safety and Environmental Health Program
University of Michigan

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (6th ed.)
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

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