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manage hazards associated with nonhuman primates is through the development and implementation of an institutionally specific occupational health and safety program (OHSP). This report discusses in detail the building blocks of a successful OHSP, namely identification of hazards, risk assessment, identification of applicable safety regulations, risk management, and personnel training. It also emphasizes the importance of a strong institutional commitment to an OHSP and the clear delegation of responsibility, authority, and accountability at all stages of development, implementation, evaluation, and re-evaluation of the OHSP.
The National Research Council developed a document on occupational health and safety for animal research facilities (NRC 1997), which has served as a guide for the management of an OHSP and has provided a foundation for the development of an institutional OSHP where none exists. The present report attempts to aid in the development or improvement of OHSP at nonhuman-primate facilities or facilties that use nonhuman-primate blood or tissue and is not intended to duplicate the scope or content of the previous document. Rather, its goal is to complement that publication and expand on topics that are particularly relevant or specific to facilities where nonhuman-primate species are housed. This report has also attempted to address the meaning and implications of uncertainty in risk management.
This report is intended as a reference for vivarium managers, veterinarians, researchers, safety professionals, and any other persons who are involved in developing or implementing an OHSP dealing with nonhuman primates. The diversity of institutions, research programs, and animal colonies makes it impossible to encompass all the details of a complete institutional OHSP in this report. Instead, it attempts to list the important features of an OHSP and provide the tools necessary for informed decision-making in developing an optimal program that meets all particular institutional needs.
The Committee identified and assessed numerous risks, infectious and noninfectious, of working with nonhuman primates or their blood or tissues. Significant risks included ergonomic injuries and illnesses caused by shigella, tuberculosis, and B virus infections. These risks can be effectively dealt with using a layered approach to exposure control. Engineering controls are an essential mode of exposure/injury control and include facility design and specialized equipment such as biosafety cabinets. Work practices within the facility provide another modality in exposure/ injury control, but can be most important. Development of standard operating procedures that are universally followed and are integrated into employee training can effectively mitigate many hazards.
Another important element in exposure/injury control is the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE for use in nonhuman-primate