Policy Number: 2004-025-io
Policy Title: Occupational Health Program Enrollment

Purpose: A fundamental responsibility of the Occupational Health Program (OHP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) is to reduce the health and safety risks and hazards associated with animal contact. For individuals who have regular exposure to animals and/or animal facilities, risk is assessed by enrollment in University’s OHP, through the completion of an Animal Contact Risk Questionnaire (ACRQ). The information obtained in the ACRQ is connected with other campus hazard identification data and animal use materials. This information is used to determine required immunizations, use of personal protective equipment, hygiene practices, medical surveillance, and training. The information provided will be confidential (protected by HIPAA) and only reviewed by University Health Services medical staff. The level of occupational health and safety practices required will be determined by the hazards and risks imposed by the environment, the degree of contact with animal species, and the length of the contact.


  • Animal Use Area. Established animal barrier facilities (vivaria), core service facilities, and PI laboratories where animals are housed and or used/studied and conveyances in which animals are transported between animal use areas.

POLICY: This policy identifies four (4) groups of employees, students, and visitors and outlines when enrollment in the OHP is required:

Group 1: Anyone who through their employment, training or service at the UW-Madison has regular contact with animals and/or animal use areas must enroll in the OHP. This includes:

  1. Faculty, staff, and students named in an approved animal care and use protocol for teaching, research, or outreach must enroll in the UW-Madison occupational safety program. In cases where an individual is the Principal Investigator on a UW-Madison protocol but is employed by a different institution (e.g., USDA) while holding a zero-dollar appointment at UW-Madison, a risk assessment from their home institution may suffice. This requires approval by a Risk Assessment Specialist within the Animal Research Safety Group, within Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS)
  2. Research animal veterinarians, research animal pathologists, and any staff working within the barrier. Staff who work outside the barrier and have no animal contact are not required to enroll in the OHP. In cases where staff work behind the barrier but do not come into direct contact with animals and have minimal exposure to animal associated risks, it may not be necessary to enroll in the OHP. A Risk Assessment Specialist from the office of EHS will determine the level of risk and the need for enrollment on a facility basis
  3. Animal care staff. This includes individuals who work or volunteer in animal facilities.
  4. Animal Care and Use Committee members, including lay members and ex-officio.
  5. Veterinary medical students.
  6. Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital (VMTH) staff, including faculty with clinical duties, staff veterinarians and residents, veterinary technicians and barn personnel, reception, medical records and other VMTH office staff, pharmacists, pharmacy staff, and central supply staff, and VMTH employed facility and maintenance personnel.

Group 2: Students. There are 3 categories of students relevant to this policy. This includes:

  1. Students working in a PI’s laboratory fall into the Group 1 category. As such, these students will be listed on a research protocol and will therefore be required to complete the OHP enrollment.
  2. Students working for an animal facility. The majority will have regular contact with animals and/or animal facilities. These students must enroll in the OHP.

    If a student’s role in a facility is associated with minimal animal handling and animal-associated risk (e.g., feeding fish in a pond), a position description will be reviewed for risk and if deemed appropriately low, the student does not need to enroll in the OHP. This decision is made by the Risk Assessment Specialist from the office of EHS.
  3. Students enrolled in a class that involves animals. There are two categories of courses listed in the timetable
    1. A course associated with minimal exposure to animals is associated with a small risk. In this case, the instructor(s) will make an announcement and there will be signage/documentation of the potential risks. Enrollment in the OHP is not required. The designation of a course not warranting enrollment will be made by the Risk Assessment Specialist from the office of EHS.
    2. For a class with more than minimal animal contact and/or exposure (e.g., a class for taking care of animals) the instructor(s) and students must enroll in the OHP.

Group 3: Visitors. A visitor is defined as any individual who is not authorized to normally be in an animal use area. All visitors to animal areas must be trained in the proper use of and wear the same personal protective equipment required of all other University personnel in the same animal area on campus. This includes compliance with all OSHA standards including the respirator use standard (29 CFR 1910.134). There are two categories of visitors relevant to this policy:

  1. Visitors to areas where the risk of illness or injury is low and where there will not be more than very casual, short-term direct animal contact. In this case, the visitor needs supervision, and there will be signage/documentation of the potential risks (e.g., Contractor, VMO).
  2. Visitors who will experience more than minimal exposure will be required to have either:
    1. prior risk assessment from a different institution: Communication of prior assessment and acceptance to Occupational Medicine in University Health Services (UHS). This communication will be facilitated by supervisor of the animal facility.
    2. enrolled in the UW-Madison occupational safety program.

Group 4: UW-Madison Employee Service Personnel (nonanimal facility employee, e.g., physical plant personnel).

All service personnel need to communicate with a facility employee point-of-contact prior to entering the facility. For service personnel who will not come in direct contact with an animal and thus the overall risk is deemed minimal, clear signage and PPE are sufficient.

Nonhuman Primate Facilities: For service personnel who will not come in direct contact with an animal, in addition to signage and PPE, a negative TB test is required. All primate facilities are considered biosafety level 2, and, thus, service personnel entering a nonhuman primate facility must follow biosafety level 2 practices as described in #5 below.

Additional requirements for all four groups defined above:

  • Biosafety Level 2 and 3 Facilities. Anyone entering Biosafety Level 3 or Biosafety Level 2 research facilities shall be oriented to the hazards and risks in those areas by appropriate facility personnel and comply with University practices to reduce, control, or eliminate those risks.
  • Nonhuman Primate Facilities. Before entering a nonhuman primate area (crossing the barrier) where macaques have been or are currently housed, individuals must be trained in the hazards and risks associated with the herpes B virus, and they shall be informed of what to do in case of a possible exposure to herpes B. They must follow standard testing and practices to protect both humans and nonhuman primates from the transmission of zoonotic diseases such as M. tuberculosis.
  • Training Documentation. All required training provided to the above groups must be documented. A copy of this documentation will be retained.

See also All Campus policies 1999-006 “Animal Care and Use Authorization and Mandatory Training”; 2012-047 “Access to UW Animal Use Areas and Required Protective Attire”; and 2012-048 “Photography and Videography in UW Animal Use Areas”

Author: T. Kenney, H. McEntee, C. Ensrud, C. Berridge
ePublication Date: 02/06/2004 (orig.)
History: amended 10/2007, 9/2013, 12/2014