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Summary On Animals and Safety

  • The occupational health physician at the Cal Poly Pomona student health center recommends tetanus vaccination for all animal users, given as Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (whooping cough)).

  • Rabies and other vaccinations may be warranted in some situations. Discuss this with your personal health provider.  You may wish to note it on the eRASQ or HHQ.

  • Many classes at Cal Poly Pomona, which involve animals, will have the requirement to complete a risk assessment pertaining to the extent of exposure.  For some, that exposure may present a hazard.

  • Persons should periodically reassess their exposure and therefore their risk.  For example, like when a woman becomes pregnant, when working with a different animal species, when there is a change in health including a chronic illness, etc., persons should reassess their risks.

  • Persons are responsible for their own health and well-being.  While around animals or their areas, the following are necessary practices:  paying attention to how you feel, using PPE (personal protective equipment), avoiding exposures (e.g., don't rub your eyes, apply cosmetics or apply contact lenses), not eating or drinking, and frequent hand washing.  Clean before and after work and decontaminate all areas.

  • The protocol application to use animals in research, testing, and teaching will include questions pertaining to the hazards and risks associated with the work and the means to mitigate them with management practices, equipment and PPE.

  • Material safety data sheets (MSDSs or SDSs):  Campus-wide ones are available from EH&S; those specific to  Animal Care Facility are kept there as well.  Individuals working with animals in other areas should familiarize themselves as appropriate.

  • The ACUC will include evaluations of safety practices during its inspections, which are conducted at least semi-annually.

  • Training on safety - animal-related and otherwise - is available from EH&S.

  • Substantial animal contact is defined as contact with animals or animal tissue more than eight (8) hours per week.

  • If you are pregnant (or plan to become pregnant), limit your work with hazardous material. In particular, avoid inhaling and skin contact with hazardous chemicals, especially in the first trimester.  Take sensible precautions.

  • If you work with birds, rabbits, or turtles, know that these species pose unique risks.  Birds have diseases such as psittacosis and avian tuberculosis.  Only inspected and properly quarantined birds should be used in research studies and teaching demonstrations.  When working with rabbits, use appropriate handling techniques (be trained) to prevent injury to the animal and yourself. Turtles (and other reptiles and amphibia) can harbor salmonella.

  • Persons can have and can develop sensitivities and allergies to animal hair and dander and urinary proteins.  Simply wearing a mask, gloves, and lab coat can avoid what is known as LAA (laboratory animal allergies).

  • Wild rodents may carry many harmful diseases such as leptospirosis, hantavirus, and bubonic plague.

  • Engineering controls such as fume hoods and biological safety cabinets (BSCs) should be used as the first line of defense when working with hazardous agents.  PPE and other devices should be used when appropriate and all relevant safety practices consistent with current safety guidelines have been applied.

  • Anesthetic gases (e.g., isoflurane) may have adverse occupational health effects.  Chronic exposure may lead to harmful effects on fetal development and an increased risk for certain types of cancer as well as liver, kidney, and central nervous system diseases.  Various practices (respirators, detection devices, downdraft tables, etc.) can help to minimize and avoid exposures.