Below are examples of recorded injuries and accidents to personnel working in laboratory animal facilities:

  • Burn injuries due to working around cage washers, autoclaves, or other sources of hot water or live steam
  • Crush injuries or lacerations from moving caging equipment, operating sanitation equipment, or working with intractable large animals
  • Musculoskeletal injuries (strains, sprains or fractures) due to the use of improper technique in lifting or moving heavy equipment, or improper restraint and handling of large animals
  • Slip and fall injuries from walking on wet flooring
  • Hearing impairment resulting from work around loud machinery or animals
  • Visual impairment from direct trauma (equipment), splash exposure (detergents, disinfectants, or particulate matter) or exposure to ultraviolet light resulting in corneal damage
  • Skin irritation or contact dermatitis from exposure to chemicals used in cleaning, latex or talc allergy, or in experimental procedures in the animal facility
  • Respiratory exposure to irritating vapors, aerosols or particulates from working with disinfectants and bedding materials
  • Needlestick exposures from attempts to recap hypodermic needles, improper injection technique, or delay or improper disposal of used needles

Personal awareness of hazardous conditions or factors in the environment is critical to avoiding these types of injuries. You should develop the habit of assessing the environments in which you work. Consult with EHS, DLAM, or OACU personnel about the identified hazards in particular work areas, and effective work practices proven to prevent incidents.