Animal Workers Medical Surveillance Program FAQs
All faculty, staff and students who are listed as internal personnel on active IACUC protocols and who come in contact with live or dead animals, animal tissues or animal excrement as a result of their normal duties. This also applies to animal facility staff, even if not listed on an active IACUC protocol.
Animal workers (as defined above) must complete the AWMSP “Consent for Medical Evaluation” form and the “Medical History” form. You send the Medical History form directly to University-contracted medical professional to review the hazards and health history. In some cases, follow up physical exams, vaccinations, or other medical testing may be needed. The medical professional will provide the university with a “fit for duty” assessment, which may include required safety measures (e.g. may only lift 20 pounds, must wear gloves while handling mice, etc.). The assessment by the medical professional must be received prior to beginning work with animals. Additionally, you must complete the appropriate trainings covering the risk factors to which you may be exposed as part of their work with animals, which at a minimum includes information regarding zoonotic diseases, physical hazards and other hazards associated with your animal care responsibilities.
This will be based on the individual’s risk assessment. The medical professional will determine the frequency, based on the hazards. Should an individual have a substantial change in the hazards they are handling and/or the animals with which they are working, the IACUC office may determine new surveillance forms are required to be submitted to and reviewed by the medical professional.
The University currently uses Occupational Medicine Associates as its primary resource for review and medical evaluation required for the AWMSP. Having review by dedicated, Board-Certified physicians in Occupational and Environmental Medicine allows them to be versed in our program and the hazards associated with animal work and various species at the University, and allows for consistency in review. We do not allow an initial assessment from your primary care physician at this time. You must use the University forms, and follow the steps outlined above in “What does the AWMSP consist of?”
The employee’s department is responsible for costs associated with medical screening, evaluation, testing, vaccination or other medical requirements under the AWMSP. Any additional expense for personal medical diagnosis and/or treatment of conditions discovered through this medical surveillance program and not directly related to your work with animals is your responsibility.
Yes. The information you disclosed in the Medical History, as well as the results of your medical examination and any tests are confidential and are maintained by the medical provider, consistent with regulatory requirements of confidentiality and privacy associated with such information. If you choose to submit the Medical History form via email, you are voluntarily submitting confidential information by a method that is not entirely secure. However, the Medical History form provide to the University-contracted medical professionals is used only for review and advice of risks.
No. The only information that the University obtains as a result of AWMSP screenings and evaluations is generic indications of whether or not an employee is fit for duty, and what safety measures may be required to allow the employee to continue to perform the tasks associated with his or her position. Specific medical information (e.g. weight, blood pressure, medical conditions, and medical prescriptions) is kept confidential by the medical provider.
The AWMSP is a preventive measure used to screen and monitor an employee's health when they will be exposed to a hazardous work environment. This is different than a reactive evaluation and treatment provided in response to a reported workplace injury or illness.
The Confidential Medical History form will still be submitted to the university-approved medical provider for evaluation.
If in-person follow up with a medical professional is indicated, an appointment can be scheduled by contacting University of Idaho Student Health Services at 208-885-6693 or your personal physician, who is to coordinate with the University-contracted medical provider.
Students enrolled in courses with animal exposure, volunteers, and other individuals not described in "Who must be a part of the Animal Worker Medical Surveillance Program (AWMSP)?" who have significant animal contact for their university-related duties (e.g., facilities personnel working in animal facilities and contractors with long term projects remodeling animal facilities) must participate in the training element of the program, and may choose to voluntarily participate in the other elements. As necessary, these individuals are provided appropriate personal protective equipment to mitigate risks associated with their animal work.
Third parties (not University employees and not listed as internal personnel on a University IACUC Protocol) who have University-approved access to and contact with animals may provide adequate proof of participation in their home institution’s occupational health and requirements for animal work established through that program; such evaluation and conditions for work must be for species and/or work conditions substantially similar to those at the University. If documentation is unavailable, or no like program exists, the individuals will be treated the same as described in “What if I am a volunteer or student enrolled in courses with animal exposure?”
Please contact the Office of Research Assurances at 208-885-6162 or IACUC@uidaho.edu to discuss your specific requirements.
For more information
Wendy Campbell, CIH, CSP