Occupational Health and Safety Program for Animal Care and Use Personnel

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University Policy Number 4004


Responsible Office: , ,

Policy Procedure:

  • Medical Surveillance Program
  • Respiratory Protection Program
  • Biological Safety Manual
  • Laboratory Safety Manual

Related Law & Policy:


This policy applies to all employees (including contracted employees), students, volunteers and visitors that work with animals as part of their work at or for George Mason University.


George Mason University is committed to providing a safe and healthful working environment.  It is the responsibility of each employee, student, visitor, and volunteer to conduct work, research, instructional courses, and activities in a manner that will not adversely impact them, others, animals used in research, university property, or the environment.  It is expected that individuals working with laboratory animals familiarize themselves with the relevant environmental health and safety policies, programs, manuals, guides, and procedures related to their health and safety while working with animals.


A. “Employee” means a person who is hired and paid by George Mason University to perform certain duties to include contracted employees.

B. “Faculty” means university employees who have full-time tenured or tenure-track appointments, who have term faculty appointments or serve as adjunct or affiliate faculty.

C. “Institutional Official (IO)” is representative of senior administration responsible for availing resources to ensure quality animal care and use is aligned with the university’s mission and meets regulatory requirements and guidelines as set forth by Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.  The Vice President for Research and Economic Development has been identified as the senior university administrator in this role.

D. “Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)” is a federally mandated committee, qualified through the experience and expertise of its members that oversees the university’s animal program, facilities, and procedures.

E. “Laboratory animal” means any vertebrate animal used in research, teaching, or testing.

F. “Student” means a person who is enrolled in a course of program of study offered by the university.

G. “Volunteer” means a non-paid person who performs a prescribed university function or responsibility that has been approved by the authorized university representative.


A. All employees (including contacted employees), students, visitors, and volunteers that work with laboratory animals are responsible for adhering to and familiarizing themselves with all policies, programs, manuals, plans, guides, and directives related to working with animals.

B. Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, Academic Heads, and Department Heads, are responsible for understanding and implementing Environmental Health and Safety plans, policies, and procedures applicable to employees, students, and classroom activities under their supervision, as well as work areas and facilities in their unit.

C. The IO is responsible for the animal program at the university.  The IO works with the IACUC and the attending veterinarian to establish policies and procedures, ensure regulatory compliance, monitor animal program performance, and support science and humane animal use.

D. Principal Investigators, Laboratory Supervisors, and Course Coordinators are responsible for understanding and implementing IACUC requirements as well as environmental health and safety plans, policies, and procedures applicable to students, classroom facilities, and activities under their supervision.

E. IACUC, as administered by and under the coordination of the Office of Research Subject Protections, is responsible for verifying all environmental health and safety requirements, including training, have been completed for each submitted protocol.

F. The Office of Research Compliance is responsible for administration of this policy as well as providing technical assistance in all environmental health and safety matters related to animal use.


A. IACUC reviews instructional and research projects identified by faculty involving laboratory animals.  As part of these reviews, the committee makes safety-related recommendations and determines appropriate sanctions to deal with non-compliance.  IACUC is also responsible for conducting semi-annual inspections of the university’s animal program including an inspection of the animal spaces.

B. Supervisors are responsible for implementing corrective and disciplinary actions for employees under their supervision when environmental health and safety plans, policies, and procedures are not followed.

C. Faculty and other employees who, as a part of their job responsibilities, work with students are responsible for implementing corrective and disciplinary actions for students under their supervision when environmental health and safety plans, policies, and procedures are not followed.

D. EHS personnel may inspect and audit laboratories using animals in their research to monitor and assess safety and health conditions, as well as compliance with environmental health and safety plans, policies, and procedures.


This policy is effective upon the date of signature below. This policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the university’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.


Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

Peter N. Stearns

Date Approved: October 1, 2005
Date Revised: February 17, 2012