The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Program for individuals with live animal exposure is a required portion of CU Boulder’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) responsibilities. The federal Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) requires all institutions conducting animal research to provide occupational health and safety support for all of its animal researchers and staff. The OHS program at CU Boulder is designed primarily to detect and prevent animal-related health hazards and injuries associated with animal research-related activities. The requirements of the OHS Program are based on the guidelines in the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Contact us at to schedule a training. Please include the name of the Principal Investigator of the laboratory you are joining, the species you are working with, and your student or employee ID number.

FAQs About OHS Program

What free services are provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Program?
  • Allergy prevention
    • Pulmonary function testing (as needed)
    • N95 or half-face elastomeric respirator fit-testing
    • Rodent immunoglobulin E (IgE) testing for allergies
  •  Risk-assessment and communication
    • Training
    • Noise testing
    • Workplace safety assessments
    • Chemical and biological hazard assessments related to animal research
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) selection guidance
  •  Work-related immunizations and/or appropriate antibody titers
  • Travel visits and travel immunizations for field researchers
How do I enroll in the Occupational Health and Safety Program?

In-person training is scheduled upon request. Please email OHSP.

Who is required to participate in CU Boulder’s OHS Program?

All individuals at CU Boulder who have exposure to live research and/or teaching animals must participate. 

These individuals generally include:

  • Veterinary staff associated with CU Boulder’s IACUC
  • Animal caretakers/technicians
  • Animal facility managers
  • Principal investigators on animal protocols
  • Graduate students, undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, visiting scientific personnel, other laboratory personnel who are listed on IACUC-approved protocols

It is the responsibility of the principal investigator, departments and facility managers to identify individuals who meet these criteria.

Will you communicate illness/injury/exposure information to my PI?

OHS personnel will initially talk directly to the patient about any work-related concerns. OHS personnel will recommend PPE use, if applicable. OHS personnel may suggest further evaluation by the patient’s primary care provider. In rare circumstances, OHS personnel will restrict laboratory activities until a medical evaluation is completed. The health condition will never be communicated to the PI or supervisor. Recommendations for the individual may be communicated to the PI or supervisor.  (E.g., PPE recommendations for an individual will be communicated to a PI or their lab manager; diagnoses are not communicated.)

If a work-related illness, injury or exposure occurs, the affected individual is expected to report this to University Risk Management as well as to their supervisor. Reporting automatically allows at least an initial visit to a designated worker’s compensation provider.

The role of the Occupational Health and Safety Program in animal research is mainly to provide preventative services, training, direct patients to appropriate care, and to look for concerning health trends.

What do I do if I have an injury/illness?

In case of emergency call 911. For non-emergencies, please contact University Risk Management.