Abstract Institutions with animal care and use programs are obligated to provide for the health and well-being of the animals, but are equally obligated to provide for safety of individuals associated with the program. The topics in this issue of the ILAR Journal, in association with those within the complimentary issue of the Journal of Applied Biosafety, provide a variety of contemporary occupational health and safety considerations in today’s animal research programs. Each article addresses key or emerging occupational health and safety topics in institutional animal care and use programs, where the status of the topic, contemporary challenges, and future directions are provided. animals; occupational health and safety, personnel protection, research Occupational health and safety (OHS) is an integral component of animal care and use programs (ACUP). Institutions must provide, and individuals should expect, a safe work environment that identifies the multiple and varied hazards and then mitigates the risk associated with hazards to acceptable levels. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals1 recognizes the importance of ensuring a safe work environment for individuals working in the ACUP. Distinct elements of the OHS program include: hazard identification and risk assessment, personnel training and protection, written procedures and policies regarding hazard use and monitoring, and medical evaluation and preventive medicine. There are many challenges to effectively orchestrate a comprehensive OHS program that considers all hazards and the health profiles of individuals. Programs are often decentralized and involve many scientific disciplines and a variety of animal species, which presents additional challenges in ensuring hazard awareness and the procedures to mitigate risks. Furthermore, each individual working in an ACUP has a unique personal health profile that should be assessed prior to their animal exposure. The hallmark of a successful OHS program is coordination among medical and safety personnel, researchers, veterinarians, and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee as well as the institutional administration and management. The Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals2 provides invaluable guidance on structuring an effective OHS program and the text is still widely used in most ACUPs. However, this text has not been updated to reflect advances in the field or information on new types of hazards, such as nanomaterials. Advances in technology drive research methods at a rapidly changing pace, requiring that workers and health care and safety professionals keep abreast of emerging risks and practices to mitigate them. Many publications have addressed specific OHS topics within ACUPs over the last 20 years, but consolidating the broad range of topics into one or two general reference texts is lacking. Therefore, it is the editors’ attempt to capture the diversity of topics related to safety in the animal research laboratory and to consolidate the resources in complementary issues of the ILAR Journal and Applied Biosafety Journal. Each article examines salient features of key or emerging OHS topics in institutions with an ACUP. Experts in the field address the existing status of the OHS topic, review contemporary challenges, and identify future directions. In this special issue of the ILAR Journal, Swearengen provides information about the common gaps in OHS programs identified on site visits by AAALAC International.3 Colby et al. provide an overview of relevant zoonotic risks found in contemporary animal care and use programs,4 while safety considerations related to research animal specimens are covered by Asfaw and colleagues.5 Lester et al cover the safety issues and concerns associated with transgenic animal work,6 and Edwards et al address safety considerations in agricultural research settings.7 O’Rourke et al discuss risks associated with nontraditional animal species.8 Kendal et al examine the challenges related to the consideration of the 3Rs in studies involving hazards.9 Lastly, Roble and colleagues discuss how disaster planning and personnel safety are interrelated.10 This array of topics in animal research programs, coupled with those included in the complimentary issue of the Journal of Applied Biosafety, provides an overview of contemporary occupational health and safety considerations in today’s animal research programs. Undoubtedly, advances in technology and science will continue to influence the evolution of research-related safety issues. The information provided here helps strengthen the foundation of OHS programs relevant to those engaged in animal based research. REFERENCES 1 [NRC] National Research Council (ILAR) . Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals . 8th ed . 2011 . Washington, DC : The National Academies Press . 2 NRC . Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals . Consensus study report. Washington, DC : National Academies Press ; 1997 . 3 Swearengen JR . Common challenges in safety: An analysis of AAALAC Findings . ILAR J 4 Colby LA , Zitzow L . Applied institutional approaches to the evaluation and management of zoonoses in contemporary laboratory animal research facilities . ILAR J 5 Asfaw Y , Reynolds R , Norton J , Alderman S . Research animal specimens . ILAR J 6 Villano JS , Vleck SE , Felt SA , Myers DD , Lester PA . Safety considerations when working with humanized animals . ILAR J 7 Edwards GL , Azain MJ , Parks A . Agricultural animals as biomedical models: Occupational health and safety considerations . ILAR J 8 O’Rourke DP , Baccanale CL , Stoskopf MK . Nontraditional laboratory animal species (cephalopods, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds) . ILAR J 9 Kendall L , Owiny J , Dohm E , et al. Replacement, refinement and reduction in animal studies with biohazardous agents . ILAR J 10 Roble G , Pullium J , Hester T , Harvey S . Disaster planning for animals in hazardous agent containment units . ILAR J © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)
ILAR Journal – Oxford University Press
Published: Nov 9, 21
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