severity or seriousness of the hazard); the exposure intensity, duration, and frequency (prevalence of the hazard); to some extent, the susceptibility (e.g., immune status) of the personnel; and the history of occupational illness and injury in the particular workplace (Newcomer 2002; NRC 1997). Ongoing identification and evaluation of hazards call for periodic inspections and reporting of potential hazardous conditions or “near miss” incidents.
Facilities, Equipment, and Monitoring The facilities required to support the OHSP will vary depending on the scope and activities of the Program. Their design should preferentially use engineering controls and equipment to minimize exposure to anticipated hazards (also see Chapter 5). Because a high standard of personal cleanliness is essential, changing, washing, and showering facilities and supplies appropriate to the Program should be available.
Where biologic agents are used, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) publication Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL; DHHS 2009) and the USDA standards (USDA 2002) should be consulted for appropriate facility design and safety procedures. These design and safety features are based on the level of risk posed by the agents used. Special facilities and safety equipment may be needed to protect the animal care and investigative staff, other occupants of the facility, the public, animals, and the environment from exposure to hazardous biologic, chemical, and physical agents used in animal experimentation (DHHS 2009; Frasier and Talka 2005; NIH 2002). When necessary, these facilities should be separated from other animal housing and support areas, research and clinical laboratories, and patient care facilities. They should be appropriately identified and access to them limited to authorized personnel.
Facilities, equipment, and procedures should also be designed, selected, and developed to reduce the possibility of physical injury or health risk to personnel (NIOSH 1997a,b). Engineering controls and equipment that address the risk of ergonomic injury in activities such as the lifting of heavy equipment or animals should be considered (AVMA 2008). Those are also frequently used to limit or control personnel exposure to animal allergens (Harrison 2001; Huerkamp et al. 2009). The potential for repetitive motion injuries in animal facilities (e.g., maintenance of large rodent populations and other husbandry activities) should also be assessed.
The selection of appropriate animal housing systems requires professional knowledge and judgment and depends on the nature of the hazards in question, the types of animals used, the limitations or capabilities of the facilities, and the design of the experiments. Experimental animals should be housed so that possibly contaminated food and bedding, feces, and urine can be handled in a controlled manner. Appropriate facilities, equipment,