Occupational Health for Researchers

Working in a laboratory inherently includes hazards which may negatively affect researchers. Engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment are in place to eliminate or reduce the risk of injury or infection while working in a laboratory setting. The following occupational health programs are available for researchers. For any questions or concerns regarding any of these programs, contact EHS Research Safety at [email protected]

Occupational Health Programs for Researchers

Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Program

Principal Investigators (PIs) with research involving any of the agents listed in Appendix D: Aerosol Transmissible Pathogens - Laboratory are subject to the requirements of the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard. Depending on the agent and the experiments, vaccinations and/or personal protective equipment may be required.

Animal Contact Surveillance Program

The Animal Contact Surveillance Program exists to ensure occupational exposure to animals and/or animal-derived materials are monitored, and to reduce the health risk of personnel conducting work associated with the use of animals. All personnel working with animals or animal tissue must complete an Animal Contact Program Questionnaire for evaluation and clearance by an Occupational Health Physician.

Bloodborne Pathogens Program

Researchers working with human blood or other potentially infectious materials, including human cell lines, are subject to the requirements of the Cal/OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. Researchers can request the Hepatitis B Vaccine Series by completing a Hepatitis B Vaccine Form via Adobe Web Form.

Respiratory Protection Program

Researchers that wear an N95 or half-mask respirator, either as required due to their job task or voluntarily, must be enrolled in the SDSU Respiratory Protection Program. The individual must be cleared by an Occupational Health Physician to ensure that wearing a respirator does not pose a health risk to the individual. To be evaluated to wear an N95 or half-mask respirator, contact [email protected].

Resources for pregnant/immunocompromised researchers

Pregnant or otherwise immunocompromised researchers are asked to self-identify to their PI and/or EHS. EHS can assist in gathering information and in conducting a risk assessment based on the individual job activities of the researcher. Contact [email protected].

Research Diving

Per the Standards of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, the SDSU Diving Safety Office must verify that research divers have been declared by an examining medical authority to be fit to engage in diving activities. The diver should be free of any chronic disabling disease and any conditions contained in the list of conditions for which restrictions from diving are generally recommended. All medical evaluations must be performed by, or under the direction of, a licensed physician of the applicant-diver’s choice, preferably one trained in diving/undersea medicine. Contact [email protected].

SDSU Medical Surveillance Program

In accordance with the SDSU Chemical Hygiene Plan, employees who work with hazardous chemicals in the laboratory are provided with the opportunity to receive a medical evaluation, including supplemental examinations which the evaluating physician determines necessary, under the following circumstances:

  • An employee develops signs or symptoms associated with chemical exposure in the laboratory;
  • Exposure monitoring reveals exposure levels above the action level (or in the absence of an action level, the exposure limit) of an OSHA or Cal/OSHA regulated substance; or
  • A spill, leak, explosion or other event takes place resulting in the likelihood of a hazardous exposure.