University of Hawai‘i
Research Compliance

OHSP Frequently Asked Questions

Who must enroll in the OHSP?

Enrollment in the OHSP is required of all individuals whose duties involve routine exposure to animals, animal waste, or animal tissues; and/or who will be named as a person working with research animals on an IACUC protocol in the AVS-operated vivarium. The OHSP also applies to individuals who will not be working with research animals but will have exposure to areas where animals are located, including but not limited to: personnel in non-research units such as Facilities Management, contractors, other support personnel, and visitors such as site inspectors who enter the vivaria.

What if I am a visiting scholar, student, volunteer working independently with research animals in the vivarium?

Visitors working with animals should complete a medical surveillance Health History Questionnaire Form A (HHQ) before working independently in the vivarium. Visitors coming to UH should anticipate all requirements needed to work in the vivarium and get the necessary paperwork completed prior to, or on the day they start. It may take as much as 30 days for the HP to review their HHQ, so it is highly recommended to get started well in advance of coming to UH.

Short term visiting scholars working with animals for 2 weeks or less, from an AAALAC accredited program, or visiting students for class demonstrations will complete the AVS OHSP training and pass an assessment tool with 90% to demonstrate they have comprehended the information. After completing the AVS OHSP training, if individuals have a concern about their health and/or working conditions, they may opt to complete an HHQ and receive medical clearance from Straub or an equivalent health care provider. The department or program that the individual reports to will bear the costs of reviewing the HHQ by a Health Professional, and any required immunizations, medical evaluations and screening, additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and/or medical clearance and fit testing to wear respirators.

What if I am on multiple IACUC protocols under multiple PIs?

Complete questions #2-3 on the HHQ with the PIs whose protocols you are listed on to identify all biological, chemical hazards and/or physical hazards you may be working with; and any special PPE, immunizations, or health evaluations you may need for working on their protocol(s). On page one of the HHQ, provide the name of one of the PIs you work under, and have them sign off.

What if I am a visitor to the vivarium not working with research animals?

Those who will not be working with research animals but will have exposure to areas where animals are located are educated about hazards associated with the vivarium. Other relevant animal facility policies and procedures are also provided prior to entry into the vivarium. Visitors, contractors, and site visitors will not need to complete a HHQ and will receive abbreviated occupational health education prior to entering the vivarium and signing the Visitor Orientation Form G, which is provided upon visitor request approval.

How do I enroll in the OHSP for individuals working with research animals in an AVS-operated vivarium?
  1. Complete OHSP training and pass the quiz with a score of 90%. Register for training.
  2. Complete the Health History Questionnaire (HHQ) for AVS-Operated Vivaria—Form A-Initial and send it to the Health Professional for review. For more information, see “What forms do I need to submit?” below.
  3. Receive medical clearance from a USA-licensed Health Professional (HP) familiar with occupational health and safety medicine and without a perceived conflict of interest. Show proof of medical clearance, Health Professional Medical Evaluation to Principal Investigator—Form B, to AVS Operations Supervisor.
How are individuals identified who are required to be enrolled in OHSP?

Individuals will be identified through:

  • The new hire process
  • When requesting access into Animal and Veterinary Services (AVS) operated vivariums
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol review process
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) protocol review process, or
  • Self-identification
What is the deadline for enrollment in the OHSP for individuals working with research animals in an AVS-operated vivarium?

All individuals whose duties involve routine exposure to animals, animal waste, or animal tissues; and/or who will be named as a person working with research animals on an IACUC protocol in the AVS-operated vivarium must complete OHSP training prior to being allowed access into the vivarium. Proof of a valid medical clearance by a Health Professional Form B must be on file with AVS in order to ensure continued access into the vivariums.

How often must I complete a Health History Questionnaire?
  • Initially, all individuals enrolling in the OHSP will be required to complete an Initial baseline HHQ Form A-Initial, which must be reviewed by a Health Professional (HP).
  • AVS staff are required to complete a Renewal HHQ Form A-Renewal, which will be reviewed by a HP annually. In addition, AVS staff at risk, must have their hearing assessed annually.
  • Researchers are required to complete a Renewal HHQ Form A-Renewal, which will be reviewed by a HP every three years.
  • After initial review or between HHQ reviews, if there are any changes in an individual’s health status, such as but not limited to, pregnancy or intent to become pregnant, increased allergy symptoms, compromised immune system, or working conditions change, enrollees must update their HHQ to reflect these changes by completing a Renewal HHQ Form A-Renewal that is reviewed by a HP.
Who may review my Health History Questionnaire Form A and complete the medical clearance Health Professional Medical Evaluation to Principal Investigator Form B?

You may obtain medical clearance from a Health Professional licensed in the United States of America (USA), familiar with occupational health and safety medicine, and without a perceived conflict of interest (HP). UH has made arrangements with Straub Occupational Health Services to review health history questionnaires.

What should I do if I am required to wear a respirator?

Your Principal Investigator (PI) will advise which vendor to use for your medical evaluation to wear a respirator. Straub Occupational Health Services is one option to fulfill this requirement. You must also receive training if you are required to wear a respirator, and do initial and annual respirator fit testing. Please contact your local EHSO for training and fit-testing information.

May I decline to follow the recommendations made by the Health Professional on Form B?

While full participation in the program is strongly encouraged, individuals have the option of declining Health Professional follow-up recommendations. Those individuals declining to complete follow-up recommendations, should complete Form C – Declination, provided the individual has first undergone required OHSP training. The individual acknowledges on Form C – Declination, his/her awareness of risks and by declining follow-up requests may encounter the possibility of adverse health effects related to the occupational exposure. The declination for follow-ups can be reversed at any point by contacting the clinic or resubmitting a Renewal HHQ Form A-Renewal. In some cases, the PI may limit or restrict access of an individual to certain areas or activities based on the HP’s assessment, or if the individual chooses not to follow the HP’s recommendations and signs Form C – Declination.

How is my health information protected?

Protected health information of enrollees will be treated in a manner consistent with UH’s applicable standards of privacy and confidentiality.

Who will pay for the reviews of the Health History Questionnaires Form A?

The University of Hawai‘i has an arrangement with Straub Occupational Health to review initial Health History Questionnaires (HHQ). The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI) will cover the cost of the initial review of HHQ or basic health exam done by Straub for fiscal year 2019 (FY19). If the program chooses to use other HP to review HHQ, the program is responsible to cover these costs. From FY20 (July 1, 2019) and thereafter, each program will be responsible to budget for the costs associated with reviews of HHQ and other related expenses. Funds to cover OHSP expenses should not be billed to grants. Rather RTRF or TFSF should be used to pay for these expenses.

Who will pay for any renewal HHQ reviews, required immunizations, medical evaluations and screenings, additional personal protective equipment, and/or fit testing to wear respirators?

Costs associated with further medical evaluations, medical screenings, diagnostic testing, referral, Renewal HHQ reviews, and or additional PPE is the responsibility of the program. Funds to cover OHSP expenses should not be billed to grants. Rather RTRF or TFSF should be used to pay for these expenses.

What forms do I submit to Straub to review my Initial Health History Questionnaire?

Complete all four forms below and email to Straub at Jennifer.oldershaw@straub.net and dora.sakata@straub.net. Alternatively, forms may be faxed to Straub at 529-4950 or mailed to Straub Occupational Health Services, 800 S. King Street, Third Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813

What forms do I submit to Straub to review my Renewal Health History Questionnaire?

Complete all four forms below and email to Straub at Jennifer.oldershaw@straub.net and dora.sakata@straub.net. Alternatively, forms may be faxed to Straub at 529-4950 or mailed to Straub Occupational Health Services, 800 S. King Street, Third Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813

What forms do I submit to Straub for Respiratory Medical Clearance?

Complete all four forms below and email to Straub at Jennifer.oldershaw@straub.net and dora.sakata@straub.net. Alternatively, forms may be faxed to Straub at 529-4950 or mailed to Straub Occupational Health Services, 800 S. King Street, Third Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813

What forms do I submit if I am declining follow-up recommendations made by the Straub Health Professional reviewing the HHQ?

Complete all four forms below and email to Straub at Jennifer.oldershaw@straub.net and dora.sakata@straub.net. Alternatively, forms may be faxed to Straub at 529-4950 or mailed to Straub Occupational Health Services, 800 S. King Street, Third Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813

What is the process at Straub for reviewing my forms?
  • Submit ALL forms required forms to Straub Occupational Health Services
  • Email is preferred method for submission. Send to both Jennifer.oldershaw@straub.net and dora.sakata@straub.net.
  • Alternatively you may Fax 529-4950 or mail to Straub Occupational Health Services, 800 S. King Street, Third Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Forms may take up to 30 days to be reviewed.
  • If needed Straub will contact you via email to advise missing paperwork required to complete the evaluation.
  • Any questions regarding the status of the forms you may contact your Academic Unit point of contact.
Who is the point of contact at my academic unit to check on the status of my completed Form B from Straub?
What if I am injured on the job?

Any on-the-job injury, accident, or disease arising out of and in the course and scope of employment – regardless of how minor it may seem – should be reported within 24 hours to an employee’s supervisor or PI as required under UH Administrative Procedure A9.720 Worker’s Compensation. Affected enrollees requiring medical attention should go to their primary care physician (PCP) or other health care provider. See the AVS OHSP manual requirements for reporting animal bites and scratches in the vivarium.

  • Inform your Supervisor/Principal Investigator (PI) within 24 hours of any animal bites, scratches, illnesses, injuries or other exposure (aerosol release, spill exposure, etc.) received during the course of working with or around animals while in the vivarium.
  • Notify your Supervisor/PI within 24 hours in the event of a possible biological, radiological, chemical, or physical agent exposure.
Besides enrollment, what are my other responsibilities as an individual required to enroll in the OHSP?
  • Always follow pertinent standard operating procedures.
  • Inform your Supervisor/Principal Investigator (PI) within 24 hours of any animal bites, scratches, illnesses, injuries or other exposure (aerosol release, spill exposure, etc.) received during the course of working with or around animals while in the vivarium.
  • Notify your Supervisor/PI within 24 hours in the event of a possible biological, radiological, chemical, or physical agent exposure.
  • After initial review or between Health History Questionnaire (HHQ) reviews, if there are any changes in your health status, such as but not limited to, pregnancy, or the intent to become pregnant, increased allergy symptoms, compromised immune system; or working conditions change, you must update your HHQ to reflect these changes and have the HHQ reviewed by a HP.
What are my responsibilities as the Supervisor/PI of any individual enrolled in the OHSP and under my supervision?
  • Assess the protocol-specific risks and recommending procedures and practices to mitigate risks.
  • Provide guidance to the individual completing Health History Questionnaire (HHQ) Form A, questions #1 – 3. After completing this step, the PI will sign off on page one of the HHQ.
  • Ensure that the individuals under your supervision are up to date on all requirements to be enrolled in the OHSP.
  • Ensure that individuals listed on your protocol(s) update their HHQs based on new hazards proposed in their protocols
  • Receive and archive completed Form B information for individuals under your supervision. Ensure that these individuals are enrolled in the OHSP prior to initiation of active work in the vivarium.
  • Use information provided by the Health Professional (HP) on Form B, to ensure that the individual under your supervision follows up on further evaluations, including but not limited to, being provided additional PPE to mitigate risks. In some cases, the PI may limit or restrict access of an individual to certain areas or activities based on the HPʻs assessment, or if the individual chooses not to follow the HPʻs recommendations and signs Declination Form C.
  • PI’s department archives the current information for individuals they supervise, including but not limited to, Medical Clearance by HP to PI Form B, written proof of completion of immunizations, medical screenings, respirator evaluation, issuance of PPE, and other related items required by their program. Maintain this information in accordance with applicable standards for privacy and confidentiality.
  • Ensure that staff under your supervision are educated on protocol-specific SOPs for hazard(s) used in animals in the vivarium. Protocol-specific SOPs are developed and updated as needed by the PI based on a risk assessment developed in conjunction with Biosafety Office, Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO), and AVS management. Protocol specific training will be provided and documented in writing for all individuals exposed to the hazard(s), prior to commencement of the activity. The PI will provide the appropriate PPE to their staff, and ensure proper facilities, engineering controls and practices are used, based on the risk assessment.
  • Ensure that staff under your supervision are aware of the activities that they are approved to do on their IACUC and IBC protocols, and that they follow proper procedures to ensure their health and safety when working in the vivarium.
  • The PI’s department or program that the individual reports to will bear the costs of reviewing the HHQ (Form A) by a Health Professional, and any required immunizations, medical evaluations and screenings, additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and/or fit testing to wear respirators. Funds to cover OHSP expenses should not be billed to grants. Rather RTRF or TFSF should be used to pay for these expenses.
  • If the PI chooses not to use Straub for medical evaluations to wear respirators, you are responsible for setting up the account and paying for services directly to the alternate health provider.
  • In the event of a suspected Laboratory Acquired Infection (LAI) direct your staff to the appropriate MD for follow up.
What are the responsibilities of the Health Professional reviewing my Health History Questionnaire (HHQ)?
  • Review the HHQ Form A within 30 days of receipt, prior to initiation of an individual’s active work.
  • If HP has questions about the individual’s HHQ, contact the individual to have them come in for an in-person medical evaluation. If necessary, the HP may refer individuals to their Primary Care Physician (PCP) for further medical evaluation, immunizations, diagnostic testing and/or referral and/or recommend further modifications such as additional PPE, based on information provided on Form A.
  • Complete Form B
    • Noting whether or not an individual is physically fit to be exposed to animals or animal by-products, OR
    • Noting any recommendations to the individual for further medical evaluations, immunizations, diagnostic tests, and/or PPE. Receiving written proof of completion from the individual when these recommendations are completed, OR
    • Noting on Form B if the individual declines to follow the HPʻs recommendations made on Form B, after receiving a signed copy of Declination Form C from the individual.
  • Mail a copy of Form B to the enrollee’s academic unit listed on HHQ Form A.
  • Maintain all employee health records in accordance with applicable standards for privacy and confidentiality.
  • Straub will bill either UH JABSOM, UHCC, or AVS for reviews of Health History Questionnaires and medical clearances for respirators. Straub will reference on the bill the PIʻs name to whom the individual enrollee reports.
What are some of the pertinent federal, state and local laws, regulations and guidelines regarding the protection of individuals who have exposure to research animals?
  • The Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, requires institutions that receive federal funds to provide occupational health-care services to employees who work in laboratory animal facilities and have substantial animal contact.
  • 42 CFR 73.12 states, the biosafety plan must include an occupational health program for individuals with access to Tier 1 select agents and toxins. All individuals with access to Tier 1 select agents and toxins (SA) must be enrolled in an occupational health program.
  • OSHA Blood-borne pathogens standards 29 CFR 1910.1030 requires institutions to provide hepatitis B vaccinations to employees who handle blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HBV and to make available to an employee a confidential medical evaluation immediately after exposure to animal tissues that are contaminated with a blood borne pathogen.
  • The NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules requires institutions that receive NIH support for recombinant-DNA research to provide health-care services to employees engaged in animal research involving viable recombinant DNA-containing microorganisms that need biosafety level 3 or greater containment.
  • Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (5th Ed.) states that workers who may be exposed to human pathogens should receive a pre-placement medical evaluation.
  • The OSHA standard on occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories 29 CFR 1910.1450) requires medical surveillance when exposure-monitoring reveals an exposure routinely above the action level for an OSHA regulated substance.