there is a regulatory requirement for such a committee. Operational and day-to-day responsibility for safety in the workplace resides with the laboratory or facility supervisor (e.g., principal investigator, facility director, or a staff veterinarian) and depends on safe work practices by all employees.
Control and Prevention Strategies A comprehensive OHSP should include a hierarchy of control and prevention strategies that begins with the identification of hazards and the assessment of risk associated with those hazards. Managing risk involves the following steps: first, the appropriate design and operation of facilities and use of appropriate safety equipment (engineering controls); second, the development of processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs; administrative controls); and finally, the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees. Special safety equipment should be used in combination with appropriate management and safety practices (NIH 2002; OSHA 1998a,b). Managing risk using these strategies requires that personnel be trained, maintain good personal hygiene, be knowledgeable about the hazards in their work environment, understand the proper selection and use of equipment, follow established procedures, and use the PPE provided.
Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment The institutional OHSP should identify potential hazards in the work environment and conduct a critical assessment of the associated risks. An effective OHSP ensures that the risks associated with the experimental use of animals are identified and reduced to minimal and acceptable levels. Hazard identification and risk assessment are ongoing processes that involve individuals qualified to assess dangers associated with the Program and implement commensurate safeguards. Health and safety specialists with knowledge in relevant disciplines should be involved in risk assessment and the development of procedures to manage such risks.
Potential hazards include experimental hazards such as biologic agents (e.g., infectious agents or toxins), chemical agents (e.g., carcinogens and mutagens), radiation (e.g., radionuclides, X-rays, lasers), and physical hazards (e.g., needles and syringes). The risks associated with unusual experimental conditions such as those encountered in field studies or wildlife research should also be addressed. Other potential hazards—such as animal bites, exposure to allergens, chemical cleaning agents, wet floors, cage washers and other equipment, lifting, ladder use, and zoonoses—that are inherent in or intrinsic to animal use should be identified and evaluated. Once potential hazards have been identified, a critical ongoing assessment of the associated risks should be conducted to determine appropriate strategies to minimize or manage the risks.
The extent and level of participation of personnel in the OHSP should be based on the hazards posed by the animals and materials used (the