On This Page
Policy Authority

Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care (A-PLAC)

Policy Contact

Describes the occupational health surveillance program for individuals involved with animal care and use. Clarified in August 2007 in regard to the medical oversight of the program.

1. Background

This memorandum announces changes in the University's Laboratory Animal Occupational Health Program (LAOHP) applicable to all faculty, staff, students and visiting scholars who work directly with vertebrate animals, unfixed animal tissues or body fluids, and those who work in animal housing areas. This program is authorized by federal regulations and Stanford's external accrediting agency. The LAOHP has been designed to:

  • Protect individuals from work-related risks associated with exposure to animals through a program of species-specific health information, education, and risk-based medical evaluation
  • Protect the health of research animals from certain transmissible diseases
  • Be pertinent to the species with which individuals are exposed and the work they perform
  • Be minimally intrusive
  • Be cost-effective

2. Changes to the Laboratory Animal Occupational Health Program

The LAOHP has been revised as follows. Stanford University has opened its own Occupational Health Center (SUOHC) for Stanford employees, which will provide occupational medicine services as well as guidance pertaining to LAOHP.

3. Risk-Based Participation

The requirements for participation in the LAOHP depend upon an individual's level of potential risk. There are two defined categories of risk within the LAOHP: Risk Category 1 (RC1) and Risk Category 2 (RC2). The Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care (A-PLAC) will determine the risk category for research and teaching individuals during the protocol review process.

Risk Category 1 (RC1)

Risk Category 1 (RC1) is considered higher risk and encompasses Veterinary Service Center (VSC) personnel, other dedicated animal care staff, and individuals who work with non-human primates (including unfixed tissue and bodily fluids), hoofed mammals (e.g., swine, goats, sheep, cows), wild rodents, and certain field studies. The specific risk factors are variable and dependent upon specific uses and handling identified in the animal care and use protocol application.

RC1 Participation Requirements

All individuals in RC1 group must complete and submit the LAOHP Health Questionnaire prior to the A-PLAC approval of an individual to work on a related protocol or assignment. Each questionnaire will be evaluated by a Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC) Clinician to determine the level of potential exposure and whether further steps are necessary. Specific medical surveillance can also be requested by Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) and/or the SUOHC for any individual, based upon identified risk factors.

Risk Category 2 (RC2) 

Risk Category 2 (RC2) is for all individuals involved in animal care and use protocols that do not fall within the RC1 participation group.

RC2 Participation Requirements

All individuals in RC2 group are provided with information, educational materials and periodic updates on potential health and safety issues associated with the particular animal species or research material with which they work. These individuals are strongly encouraged to complete and submit the LAOHP Health Questionnaire, but this questionnaire is optional for members of RC2 participation group.

4. New Occupational Health Center

Another major change in the LAOHP program, as of July 2007, has been the opening of an on-site Occupational Health Center for all Stanford University faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars who work directly with vertebrate animals, unfixed animal tissues or body fluids, and those who work in animal housing areas.

The SUOHC is located in the Environmental Services Facility 480 Oak Rd. (M/C 8007) phone: (650) 725-5308

The SUOHC is staffed with occupational health clinicians with experience in providing health-care services to individuals involved with laboratory animals. Each Health Questionnaire submitted by individuals from RC1 (mandatory) and RC2 (optional) is evaluated by the SUOHC clinician for potential exposures, individual health risk factors, and a determination as to whether further intervention steps or follow-up interactions are necessary. The SUOHC also provides the health-care services for VSC and other Stanford University Occupational Health programs. Contents of the Health Questionnaire and clinically related communications between the medical provider and the individual become part of the individual's Occupational Medical Record; maintenance and confidentiality of the Medical Record is dictated by appropriate Federal and State Regulations.

5. In-Service Training and Education

The SUOHC staff and other specialized personnel also provide periodic in-service training, seminars and education programs. These programs emphasize the specific risks associated with different types of laboratory animals and provide guidance to research and support personnel on appropriate methods of exposure control and protection.

6. Summary

Stanford is concerned about the safety and welfare of its faculty, staff, and students. We are committed to alerting individuals to potential work-related health risks and counseling them on methods to avoid workplace hazards. We must also comply with outside regulations associated with the use and welfare of animal subjects. The LAOHP for individuals who work with vertebrate animals is an integral part of achieving these goals.

Your cooperation is essential to the success of this program. If you have any questions about the occupational health program or SUOHC, please contact EH&S (723-0448) or SUOHC (725-5308). Please contact the A-PLAC Office (723-4550) with questions about the animal research protocols and risk level assigned.

Current Version: 08.13.07
Original Version: 01.19.95