training and reinforcement, promulgating and enforcing sound rules and guidelines, ensuring consistency and reliability in occupational behavior, maintaining proper records (a database) and providing comprehensive medical surveillance and feedback, and developing key leadership and staffing based on a commitment to a safe workplace (NRC 1997).
The importance of an OHSP in any laboratory animal care and use program is highlighted in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC 1996). The Guide identifies the essential elements of an OHSP, although more specifically in the context of animal care and use: hazard identification and risk assessment; personnel training; use of personal protective equipment; facilities, procedures, and monitoring; medical evaluation and preventive medicine; and addressing animal experimentation that involves hazards.
One of the most commonly identified deficiencies in animal care and use programs evaluated by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International) is in the OHSP (DeLong and others 2001). Overarching concerns identified by AAALAC International were a failure to base the OHSP on hazard identification and risk assessment and a failure to include in the program the general hazards of working with animals (as opposed to experimental hazards themselves, which are usually taken into account); inadequate training on such OHS topics as zoonoses and allergies; inadequate inclusion in the OHSP of all personnel potentially at risk, such as students, the nonaffiliated member of the IACUC, and visiting scientists; and inadequate linkage between the IACUC and institutional safety personnel. AAALAC International’s expectations for a sound OHSP are that the individual components of the program are appropriate for the institution and that the components work together effectively. Thus, there must be sound implementation strategies and effective coordination of program components and personnel.
The National Research Council report Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (1997) provides an excellent overview of OHS issues. However, in light of AAALAC International’s findings and the potentially serious risk that working with nonhuman primates can pose to workers, the present report is intended to serve as a tool for developing and improving OHSPs that must address the particular hazards posed by nonhuman primates. The intent of this report is to provide specific information to safeguard the health of people working with nonhuman primates; however, an additional benefit is the protection of animal health. This report will serve as a resource for health care