From AAALAC Trends to a Complete Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Program


Problem statement: Like most universities, we were using the famous single page document as the OH&S program evidence. Also, after an AAALAC site visit, they reminded us the program in place did not sufficiently meet the requirements outlined in the 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. To be at risk to the health and well-being of the animals and researchers, we had to make some improvements. We do not have the alternative or time to make a state of the art system. At the moment, we need to use a primarily paper format system. 

In Brief: After an AAALAC site visit, we were against the clock to improve our program in less than two months. The challenge: to include principal investigators (PIs) and their staff in an OH&S Program that, at the moment, only included husbandry personnel, the IACUC, and some PIs. We had to sit down and broaden our policy and the way documentation was gathered. 

Outcomes: A broader and more complete medical questionnaire; a waiver for visitor, contractors, and minors visiting animal facilities; integration and communication between related, but separated offices dealing with Occupational Health and Security to propitiate a compliance culture. 

Future challenges: Develop a home system; grants for improving that home system or grants to buy or collaborate to acquire a "TTU like well-developed and comprehensive OH&S program." 

Additional information: Sharing our experiences give us ideas or details to improve our animal care and use programs. It also gives us a sense of order and a way to evaluate our programs, and knowing we all have to promote a compliance culture. And, in some cases some peace of mind knowing we are all in the same boat!