Access to Animal Facilities

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General Policy

Only authorized personnel are permitted entry into animal facilities that are maintained by the animal care staff. This restriction applies at all times and to all persons. The process for obtaining authorization for animal facility access is described below.


Employees who work in a particular animal facility, research staff listed in a IACUC-approved animal protocol that involves animals housed in a particular animal facility, and specified hospital service personnel who may require occasional access for routine services (e.g., P&S, Facilities, Environmental Health and Safety, IACUC staff) are permitted access to animal facilities.

Access may be suspended or revoked if the employee does not observe animal facility regulations and policies. Examples of situations in which access could be suspended or revoked include: allowing unauthorized persons to gain access into an animal facility; leaving animals in distress without reporting their condition to animal care staff; repeated or serious deviations from IACUC-approval protocols; placing personnel and animals at risk of harm.

Employees requiring access to centralized animal facilities must complete animal care orientation, facility tour, and Occupational Health Services screening prior to obtaining the access required. The orientation programs are usually offered twice monthly and the current orientation session schedule is posted on a website. Access approval must be approved by authorized departmental personnel (e.g., Principal Investigator if research staff are involved). New personnel may complete orientation, facility tours, and Occupational Health screening prior to the receipt of IACUC approval for a protocol, but access will not be authorized until a protocol listing the individual is approved. The Principal Investigator must submit a protocol amendment with the IACUC to add the new person to the approved protocol before animal facility access will be approved. The veterinarian will ensure that the individual requesting access is listed on an animal protocol approved by the IACUC (if the individual is research staff) and that the individual has completed both the occupational health screening program and orientation prior to approving access. The Director, Occupational Health Services, or designee will be responsible for verifying completion of the occupational health screening program.

Approved Visitors

Occasionally, non-employees may be justified in needing access to animal facilities. Such circumstances may involve research collaborators visiting from other institutions, regulatory or accreditation site visitors, equipment vendors or maintenance personnel.

In every case, the veterinarian must be notified in writing and in advance of each such instance. Notification can be provided by e-mail, fax, or interoffice memorandum, and must include the name of each visitor, his/her institution or agency and purpose of the animal facility visit, date(s) involved, and contact information for the host. Failure to notify the veterinarian in a complete and timely manner may result in suspension or revocation of animal facility access and research privileges.

An employee must accompany all visitors the entire time they are in an animal facility. All visitors must comply with all applicable policies and procedures required of staff. Additional restrictions may also apply, as stated in the IACUC Animal Research Facility Policy for Non-Technical Employees. These restrictions include, but are not limited to, removing documents, records, or animals, and taking photographs or making recordings. Failure to accompany visitors or to abide by security and safety precautions may result in suspension or revocation of animal facility access and research privileges.

Non-employees who may need access to animal facilities for extended periods of time will be subject to the same process as new employees to obtain authorization for unescorted access to animal facilities.

Outside Emergency Responders

Emergency responders from municipal, state, or federal entities may require immediate access to an animal facility due to fire, flood, etc. Refer to the IACUC Animal Research Facility Policy for Non-Technical Employees for details in this regard.

Terminated Employees

Persons whose employment is terminated will lose their animal facility access privileges.

Reporting Access Violations

Any person in an animal facility who is not authorized to be in that animal facility will be asked to identify himself/herself and to leave the facility. If the person does not comply, P&S is to be notified immediately. If the person leaves prior to the arrival of P&S, a description of the incident and person in question will be provided to P&S.

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