Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

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Student Animal Handler

Unpaid students* who have regular direct contact with a variety of common laboratory, domestic and wild animals, their tissues, body fluids, wastes, or living quarters, are required to participate in the Student Animal Handler Program.  Such contact may be the result of activities in research, husbandry, veterinary or animal control practices that are a part of their academic program. There are three potential health risks associated with working with animals:

  • physical injuries
  • allergies caused by or aggravated by animal allergens
  • zoonotic illnesses (infections spread from animals to man)

In addition, there may also be potential risks inherent in the chemicals and procedures involved in specific research protocols. In order to protect students, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and the Institutional Biosafety Office are mandated the responsibility to insure that facilities and procedures be designed and maintained so as to provide as healthy a work environment as possible. In addition, Student Health Services will provide the necessary health screenings and services, determined by the student's exposure risks.

Students are enrolled in laboratory safety training, and are instructed to complete an online registration to become part of the Animal Handler Health Registry. Students referred to Student Life Student Health Services via the registry are required to complete the Animal and Biological Agents Contact Form (see forms above). Once this form is submitted it will be reviewed for risk factors. Students will be contacted by Student Life Student Health Services and advised about any necessary testing, vaccinations, or other interventions. All charges for required health screening for animal handlers will be paid through departmental funding. Failure to complete the required elements of your screening will be reported to your principal investigator/supervisor and could result in your exclusion from your laboratory.

* Students who are paid for working with animals, such as Graduate Associates, are considered University employees, and receive Animal Handler services from OSU Employee Health (614-293-8146).