employees at veterinary clinics indicate that the most common injuries were animal bites and kicks, needle sticks, and crushing injuries, and that over 50% of the respondents had at least one injury incident over a 3-year period (Poole and others 1998, 1999). The important message from these comparisons is that any animal care occupation has a wide variety of workplace hazards. Once the hazards are identified, the same safety-driven approaches that are used to reduce employee risk in other fields of animal care and use, as well as in other workplace settings, are likewise applicable to people working with nonhuman primates.
Every organization uses a variety of tools to achieve institutional goals, including business plans, strategic plans, and long-range development plans. The goals of an organization’s OHSP are as follows: to identify hazards in the workplace and determine the risk associated with them, to design the facility and management program to reduce risks associated with the hazards, and most importantly, to communicate hazard identification, risk assessment, and appropriate safety measures to all employees. An OHSP integrates the efforts of management, administration, employees, and health care professionals in an active, evolving program that promotes a culture of safety in the workplace.
The challenge of providing a safe work environment is best met with the development of an OHSP that provides a foundation for a culture of safety and makes worker safety a central mission for all employees of an institution. Inclusion of safety in the development of a new institution is generally easier than integration of safety into long-established programs. There is always the concern that worker safety and the attendant OHSP expenses will have adverse effects on finances and process efficiency. Although economics will have an impact on any animal care and use program, cost alone must not dictate the scope or relevance of the OHSP implemented at an institution. The simple trade-off is that employee welfare and reduction in the loss of work time due to workplace injury will improve employee satisfaction and performance. It is important for staff to know that management is concerned about their welfare. For both new and long-established institutions, there is value in having a reference document, such as this volume, that provides a ready source of information for creating an OHSP. The intent of this report is to provide the proper tools to identify and manage human health hazards associated with nonhuman-primate research.
The National Research Council developed a document on OHS for animal research facilities (NRC 1997), which serves as a guide for management of an OHSP and provides a foundation for developing a pro-