Such a program not only benefits the workers, it also benefits the institution through minimization of occupational illness and injury and lost time.
Institutions have legal and ethical responsibilities to provide staff with the training, knowledge, and equipment they need to protect themselves from workplace hazards. In 1985, Congress enacted two laws that require that institutions provide training for staff who care for or use animals: the Health Research Extension Act (Public Law 99-158), which made compliance with the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy a matter of law for all PHS-funded research, and the Food Security Act (Public Law 99-198), which amended the Animal Welfare Act (7 USC 2131-2156).
This chapter provides a framework for assessing personnel qualifications and developing training and education programs for organizations that use nonhuman primates in research, education, and testing.
AAALAC International requires accredited institutions to describe personnel qualifications in the accreditation application; OLAW lists evaluation of personnel qualifications as an IACUC oversight responsibility.
The point of responsibility for assurance of personnel qualifications must be clear if conformance with AAALAC International and federal guidelines are to be met. Nonhuman-primate housing facilities are often centralized and used by research staff from an entire institution. If personnel that work with the nonhuman primates do not share local lines of authority, it can lead to confusion about responsibility for qualification assurance. The facility director is ultimately responsible for determining the qualifications of facility employees, contract staff, support-services staff, program inspectors, and visitors who work with or around nonhuman primates and the associated equipment. Principal investigators are responsible for the verification of the qualifications of research assistants, collaborators, and guests.
Delineation of responsibility for assurance of qualifications should be established by institutional policy. Such policy demonstrates that upper management recognizes the importance of personnel qualifications, has determined an appropriate assurance plan, and has delineated responsibility for the implementation of the plan.
Management should determine operationally specific minimal qualifications for all staff and visitors that work directly with the nonhuman primates, their byproducts, housing, holding rooms, equipment, or tissues. Minimal assurance of qualification is important not only for new employees but also for current staff as they gain proficiency and engage