influences, especially fiscal constraints, lead to less than optimal risk-management decisions and actions.
To be effective, risk management must have two elements: a specific occupational health and safety plan and an appropriate safety culture and working environment. Safety culture is often taken for granted, although it is critical in building an effective risk-management system and a healthful overall work environment. At a basic level, safety culture is the way the institutional administration and workers in an organization feel about risk; feelings, attitudes, and perceptions about risk will influence how it is managed. The safety culture sets the tone of an organization, influencing the consciousness of its people as they conduct their daily activities. The safety culture encompasses an organization’s tolerance of risk in its daily operating activities and decision-making processes. The greater the degree to which the administration recognizes the need for effective risk-management in the organization, the greater will be its commitment to the establishment of standards and protocols for identifying, assessing, and managing risks, and the more beneficial the risk-management program will be.
This chapter deals with the foundation of risk management—successful OHSP and possible solutions specifically applicable to work environments involving nonhuman primates are described.
While there are no fundamental differences in the OHSP based on the size of a facility, there are some key differences in developing an OHSP for large institutions, such as a primate center, versus a small vivarium that may have only limited numbers of nonhuman primates. The critical differences are likely to be in the inability of smaller institutions to allocate resources and personnel to the OHSP that may be available at larger institutions specializing in nonhuman primates. These limitations can be addressed in part by obtaining the commitment of the institutional official prior to acquiring the animals and presenting a plan to identify the resources that will be required to properly work with the species in question. The allocation of adequate resources also depends on the oversight of the IACUC, which has responsibility for review of occupational health in the vivarium. Housing of nonhuman primates in a conventional research vivarium may require facility modifications and renovations. In some cases, depending on the species in question, it may be possible to address occupational health and safety concerns by use of appropriate personal protective equipment and modifications to existing standard operating procedures (SOPs). All facilities that plan to house nonhuman primates should identify the specific requirements for nonhuman-primate husbandry and incorporate these features into the design and construction of the facility.