Occupational Health and Safety Program

The UMass Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP) covers all full-time, part-time, or temporary employees and students of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who have contact, in terms of physical proximity to, or handling of animals in the course of their employment for research, teaching or testing purposes.

The UMass OHSP is described in Section E of the Animal Welfare Assurance.

A new animal user at UMass Amherst completes the "Occupational Health and Safety Program for Animal Users" participation forms and learns about the OHSP during the Basic  IACUC classroom Animal User Training.  OHSP forms are reviewed by a health professional at University Health Services (UHS).

The IACUC and/or Biosafety Officer in Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) may withhold approval for the work with animals until occupational health concerns raised by the Biosafety Officer and/or Occupational Health personnel at UHS have been addressed.

At UMass Amherst animal users receive:

  • Pre-employment medical evaluations (animal care staff).
  • Training in safe practices and procedures.
  • Participation in the OHSP for animal users.
  • Protection from exposure through safe practices to minimize the risk of hazard exposure .
  • Information concerning specific risks related to exposure to animals and/or other hazards (e.g. zoonotic disease, injury, exposure to hazards).
  • Screening for exposure to zoonotic diseases as appropriate.
  • Training in basic safety practices.

Everyone working with animals needs to be aware of the potential for transmission of zoonotic diseases.  A selection of animal safety sheets with lists of zoonotic diseases carried by those species is available on the Stanford University website.