Health & Safety Department

Animal Allergens (AAs)

Information and guidance when working with animals and animal allergens (AA), possible health effects and control measures.

AA exposure can occur when working with laboratory animals either within a BVS managed animal facility or in procedure rooms out with these animal facilities. The following Code of Practice has been produced to assist those working with AAs to control any exposure and ensure systems are in place to protect the health of all staff, students and visitors.

Policy and Code of Practice

As a biological agent, AAs come under Section 25 Biological Safety in the Framework:Arrangements document. The accompanying Code of Practice, Bio CoP001 Animal Allergens, includes the following sections and must be followed:

  • Health effects and exposure routes
  • Organisation and management responsibilities
  • COSHH AA risk assessment
  • Control measures
  • Training and supervision
  • Health surveillance and COSHH health record
  • Emergency and waste management procedures

Code of Practice Bio CoP001 Animal Allergens

Code of Practice Bio CoP001 Guidance Document

Further guidance on control of sensitisers in general is also available.

Other pertinent codes of practice include:

Health Surveillance

Respiratory health surveillance

Under COSHH Regulation 11, if a risk assessment shows that a respiratory sensitiser (e.g. animal allergens) is not contained and/or controlled sufficiently by engineering measures, or there is reliance on RPE for control, it is likely that respiratory health surveillance will be required. Health surveillance consists of periodic health checks and/or health monitoring, and is provided by the University's Occupational Health Unit. Further information on the University's system can be found at:

Respiratory health surveillance

Skin health surveillance

Similarly, health surveillance may be required for work with a skin sensitiser.

Skin health surveillance

Organising health surveillance

If the outcome of the risk assessment shows health surveillance is required, the relevant line manager must ensure the individual(s) concerned are presented for baseline and subsequent appointments. This can be arranged via the local health surveillance contact person in your area (usually your local safety adviser/manager) or direct with the OHU.

Respiratory health surveillance guidance for managers

Skin health surveillance guidance for managers

Occupational Health Service

  • Health and Safety Department
  • The University of Edinburgh

Contact details

Address

Street

Drummond Street Annexe
Drummond Street

City
Edinburgh
Post Code
EH8 9XP

Training

All staff must be trained to ensure they understand their risk of exposure and how to ensure this exposure is controlled.

Mandatory training – laboratory animal allergens

It is a requirement that all Research Group Leaders, Principal Investigators and other relevant managers and supervisors who themselves are potentially exposed to animal allergens, and/or whose group members, or other relevant colleagues, would expect to have a similar potential for exposure, and all their staff/researchers in their groups complete the following courses. 

Health and Safety Awareness for Supervisors (including Principal Investigators)

All Principal Investigators and/or supervisors who work with laboratory animals (see above) must complete this training. It is recommended for all other Principal Investigators or supervisors.

The online course is available in People and Money (for staff).  Please self-enrol on the online course using the button below.

STAFF: Self-enrol on the Health and Safety Awareness for Supervisors online course in People and Money

Please contact your School Safety Adviser to ascertain if face to face sessions are offered or if you should use the online package.

Laboratory animal allergens and health surveillance

If staff or students will be undertaking work with animals, then the PI or supervisor, as well as those staff or students working with animals, must also complete the online Occupational Health and Animal Allergen (AA) Exposure course.

Please contact your School Safety Adviser to ascertain if face to face sessions are offered or if you should use the online course.

STAFF

Staff can self-enrol on the online course in People and Money using the button below. 

STAFF: Self-enrol on the Occupational Health and Animal Allergens (AA) exposure online course in People and Money

STUDENTS

The course is available but Learn Ultra does not allow students to self-enrol on courses.  We are currently working on a solution for this, but if you require access to this training in the meantime, please email safety.training@ed.ac.uk with your name and the course you wish to be enrolled on, and you will be manually enrolled.

Respiratory Protective Equipment

If staff or students are required to wear any respiratory protective equipment, then the PI or supervisor, as well as those staff or students working with animals, must also complete the online Respiratory Protective Equipment course.  This is available in People and Money (for staff) and  LEARN Ultra (for students).

Please contact your School Safety Adviser to ascertain if face to face sessions are offered or if you should use the e-learning package.

STAFF

Staff can self-enrol on the online course in People and Money using the button below. 

STAFF: Self-enrol on the Respiratory Protective Equipment online course in People and Money

STUDENTS

The course is available but Learn Ultra does not allow students to self-enrol on courses.  We are currently working on a solution for this, but if you require access to this training in the meantime, please email safety.training@ed.ac.uk with your name and the course you wish to be enrolled on, and you will be manually enrolled.

 

Training and Audit Unit

Contact details

COSHH Health record

All staff who may be exposed to sensitisers should have a COSHH health record. The COSHH Health Passport System (secured) (CHPS) is currently being rolled out for laboratory animal allergens but Schools can use this system now for all sensitisers. Please contact us for more information if you wish to start using CHPS for this purpose.

Occupational Hygiene Unit

Contact details