Employee Health Program

The Public Health Service and the United States Department of Health and Human Services has mandated institutions to develop a program to promote the health and safety of those individuals who have substantial contact with animals. The goal of such a program is to prevent occupational injury and illness by avoiding, controlling or eliminating hazards that may exist in the workplace. An effective program must encompass all individuals that have contact with animals. However, depending on the species or the amount of animal exposure, the program may not affect all individuals equally. It is important to note that students who are enrolled in courses in which animals are utilized are not covered by these provisions.

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at PLU plays an important role in ensuring that individuals with substantial animal contact comply with health and safety requirements (e.g., ensuring individuals have received the appropriate training, evaluating compliance with standard operating procedures or institutional policy during semiannual facility inspections, etc.).

Note: Some of the information provided below was obtained from the University of Kentucky.

The program at Pacific Lutheran University has two major components (both of the referenced forms are attached to the “Occupational Health for Animal Workers Education and Prevention” document) listed below. Please complete them and submit them to Dr. Jacob Egge, Chair of the IACUC (Rieke Science Center, Room #151). Note: IACUC approval will not be granted until these forms are completed and submitted.

  1. Health Care Program for Any Individual having Contact with Laboratory Animals: This program consists of an assessment of health history, physical examination (if required), and indicated diagnostic tests and immunizations (if required).  For individuals listed on an IACUC animal protocol review application, you should have received a copy of the Animal Worker Medical Surveillance Program form from your mentor.
  2. Education: The Occupational Health for Animal Workers Education and Prevention document contains information about several specific conditions or practices of which animal workers should be aware. All individuals with laboratory animal contact are required to read this material.  For individuals listed on an IACUC animal protocol review application, you should have received a copy of the Personnel Education Program Acknowledgement form from your mentor.


CDC’s Disease Information Page includes information about the following zoonotic diseases:

The Center for Disease Control also has available on-line, “Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories,” for additional information.
The University of California at Davis has created a Risk Assessment Tool to help animal workers acquire the information they need to be safe on the job.