Research Occupational Health

Animal Use Medical Screening

The animal use medical screening (AUMS) is a component of the UW Occupational Health Program. The EH&S occupational health nurse (OHN) is responsible for administering and managing the AUMS. All faculty, staff, visiting scholars, veterinary staff, animal husbandry staff, and students who work directly with animals, unfixed animal tissues or body fluids must be offered the medical screening. Others who conduct activities in the animal care and use environment (e.g., facilities and maintenance staff) must also be offered the medical screening.

The purpose of this screening is to evaluate and address potential health risks that may be associated with work activities in the animal care and use environment. This screening follows guidelines and requirements from the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC) and the UW Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Completion of the AUMS Form must occur (1) prior to work in the animal care and use environment, (2) every three years thereafter, (3) when a change in health status has occurred, and (4) as otherwise directed by the OHN. There is an option on the AUMS Form to decline the medical screening. Annual in-person evaluations are completed for all animal husbandry, veterinary and other designated research support staff. The OHN provides the Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) with a list of persons who are cleared for work.

Contact an OHN at ohnurse@uw.edu or 206.221.7770 with any questions.


Laboratory Animal Allergies (LAA)

The animal use medical screening includes a screening for laboratory animal allergies (LAA). The goal of screening for LAA is to identify and reduce individual risk of developing lab animal allergies and to help prevent existing allergies from worsening.

Allergies are the body's immune response from exposure to proteins called allergens. In animal settings, the sources of allergens include dander, scales, fur, body wastes, and saliva. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that approximately 33% of animal handlers have allergic symptoms and approximately 10% have animal-induced asthma.1

Reducing exposure to allergens involves a global approach of raising awareness, workplace controls such as engineering controls (ex. ventilation and biological safety cabinets), work practice controls (ex. good hygiene and housekeeping) and personal protective equipment (PPE) including respirators to reduce inhalation of allergens.2 The OHN will discuss your individual risk and methods for reducing exposure to animal allergens. If there is a need for a work-site evaluation or medical follow-up, we can refer you to the appropriate resources.

Resources:

  1. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): Preventing Asthma in Animal Handlers
  2. See the EH&S guidance on voluntary respirator use in animal care and use settings.
  3. The UW Employee Health Center and EH&S have developed a LAA Pamphlet (pdf) which provides information, signs and symptoms of exposure to allergens, controlling exposure, and medical consultation.

AUMS Steps and FAQs

The following steps summarize the animal use medical screening process:

  1. Complete and submit a confidential AUMS Form to an EH&S OHN via the AUMS electronic system (UW NetID required). To create a UW NetID, follow the instructions given on the UW Information Technology (IT) webpage. An option to decline the medical screening is provided on the form. If you are not affiliated with the UW, contact ohnurse@uw.edu for assistance.

  2. An EH&S OHN will screen the form and may contact you to discuss health issues, typically within one week.

  3. You will receive a clearance notification via e-mail from the EH&S OHN. The e-mail will include a link to the AUMS electronic system where the clearance letter may be accessed.

  4. The EH&S OHN will also notify the OAW when you are cleared to work in the animal care and use environment.

  5. Completion of the AUMS Form must occur (1) prior to work in the animal care and use environment, (2) every three years thereafter, (3) when a change in health status has occurred, and (4) as otherwise directed by the OHN.

    The renewal due date, referred to as "recall date", appears on the clearance letter and is also accessible when you log on to the AUMS electronic system. AUMS Forms should be submitted two to six months before the recall date.

See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information.


Research Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Medical Safety Screening

The purpose of the Research MRI Medical Safety Screening is to help assure the safety of all UW employees who may be exposed to the MR magnet. The MR system has a very strong magnetic field and is on at all times. Pre-existing health conditions may present a health risk when working in the MR environment.

All persons who plan to enter the MR environment (Zone 3) in the course of their work must complete the Research MRI Medical Safety Screening Form prior to entry and annually thereafter or as directed. This includes researchers, MRI staff, and ancillary staff such as custodians, maintenance workers, security officers, and support persons. Employees who have any of the conditions on the form must contact the Employee Health Center-UW (EHC-UW) to review them. Employees may not enter unless the EHC-UW issues MR medical clearance.