The University of Texas at San Antonio Occupational Health Program is designed to provide oversight for university personnel who are exposed to animals and certain biological, chemical, and other physical hazards. This will be accomplished through assessment, management, education and preventive medicine. The medical surveillance component is critical for an effective occupational health program. This program applies to all University of Texas at San Antonio employees.
UTSA employees who work with chemical, biological or physical hazards or with animals should complete the UTSA OHP Risk and Health Assessment. These assessments allow the Occupational Health Program, Licensed Health Care Professional/Provider (LHCP), to assess your employment health risks to reduce the potential of an exposure to an absolute minimum. The information provided on these forms is solely for the protection of personnel and the environment. The Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management (EHSRM) office, working with your supervisor or the Principal Investigator, will determine whether appropriate biosafety levels are in place and make recommendations to include facilities environmental controls, personal protective equipment, workplace practices, as well as medical surveillance recommendations to the Occupational Health Program (OHP) staff.
The EHSRM office is responsible for administering the Occupational Health Program (OHP). Questions regarding the OHP should be directed to the Occupational Health Coordinator in the EHSRM office at 458-5304 or 458-5072. Specific questions regarding the hazards and recommended protective measures associated with using biological, chemical, radiological materials or radiation producing machines in the laboratory should be directed to the Laboratory Safety Manager at 458-6101.
Enrollment in the UTSA Occupational Health Program is mandatory for employees who work in areas that are at a high risk of contact with certain chemicals, biological agents, radiation and/or animals while working at UTSA. The enrollment process requires all participants to complete the online form. You will also be required to complete related safety and facilities training prior to working with these hazardous materials or being allowed access to certain high risk facilities. These hazards, job functions, and facilities that require enrollment are listed on the accompanying chart. Mandatory enrollment ensures that state and federal regulatory requirements for worker protection and vaccination are met.
Once you have completed and submitted your enrollment form and submitted all required vaccination and test records for your job functions to the OHP staff, you are considered enrolled in the UTSA Occupational Health Program.
Once all OHP forms, test results and vaccinations required for your job function or work area have been processed by the UTSA Occupational Health Program LHCP (or your personal LHCP, if applicable), you and your supervisor will be notified of your medical approval to work in that job function or work area.
The UTSA OHP staff respects your right to privacy and has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain this privacy. Personal health information will not be released to management, non-LHCP EHSRM staff, Human Resources staff, Employee Assistance Program personnel, other persons, or members of your family without your written consent. Exceptions to confidentiality may occur in instances where state and federal laws require release of health information. You have the right to access your medical records as part of the Occupational Health Program. At any time, enrolled participants may request to schedule a work-related medical consultation during normal working hours with one of the OHP medical professionals. Your medical records will be maintained in an appropriate secured location for the duration of your employment plus thirty (30) years.
UTSA students (non-employees) enrolled in academic research programs that involve working directly or indirectly with: 1) live animal research, unfixed animal tissues or wastes; 2) non-human primates with potentially infectious diseases, their blood, unfixed tissues or wastes; or 3) pathogenic organisms, should be enrolled in a medical surveillance program. To begin this process, the Principal Investigator (PI) or Lab Supervisor completes and signs the Student Request and Authorization for Medical Surveillance form and submits it to LARC for approval. Upon approval, students should go to the Concentra Medical Center or Texas MedClinic location listed on the LARC form to complete a medical surveillance questionnaire and be evaluated by a health care professional. For questions, please contact LARC Business Operations Manager at 210-458-6173 or see OHP Flowchart (PDF) for additional instructions.
Volunteers (non-employees) or Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) approved institutional committee Community Members (non-employees) that participate in research, educational, or inspection programs working directly or indirectly with: 1) live animal research, unfixed animal tissues or wastes; 2) non-human primates with potentially infectious diseases, their blood, unfixed tissues or wastes; or 3) pathogenic organisms, should be enrolled in a medical surveillance program. To begin this process, the Principal Investigator (PI) or Lab/Area Supervisor completes and signs the Volunteer Request and Authorization for Medical Surveillance form. Volunteers should go to the Concentra Medical Center or Texas MedClinic location listed on the LARC form to complete a medical surveillance questionnaire and be evaluated by a health care professional. For questions, please contact LARC Business Operations Manager at 210-458-6173 or see the OHP Flowchart for additional instructions.
Individuals not employed by UTSA, but who will be conducting work with animals at UTSA, must provide proof of current participation in an occupational health program equivalent to that being provided at UTSA before being allowed access to high containment level 3 labs and/or animal facilities. See the OHP flowchart for additional instructions.
Any occupational exposure, injury, illness, animal bite or scratch, needle stick, allergic reaction, accident, etc., must be immediately reported to the supervisor/PI and the UTSA WCI/Occupational Health Coordinator (458-5304). Supervisors must complete the Supervisor's Detailed Description Of Injury / Illness And Accident Scene form and an Employees First Report of Injury Statement form must be completed by the employee. Send the completed forms to the EHSRM office within 24 hours of the injury. A copy may be faxed to 458-7450 and the originals sent via campus mail. These forms are required whether or not there is lost time from work. Additional forms and instructions are located at: www.utsa.edu/safety/#/workplace/wci.
After-hours incidents or incidents requiring immediate medical attention should be referred to an urgent care clinic or the hospital emergency room as appropriate.
Employees are encouraged to seek medical evaluation for symptoms that they suspect may be related to infectious agents in their work area.
Anyone observing conditions or work practices that pose a potential risk should notify their supervisor. Supervisors should communicate these observations to the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management (458-5250) for further investigation and potential mitigation.
Prevention is the most effective approach to managing hazards. Classroom, on-line, and on-the-job training programs are available to educate employees about the hazards to which they may be occupationally exposed, the types of exposures that place their health at risk, the nature and significance of such risks, as well as basic first aid and follow-up for potential exposures.
For more information, contact the Occupational Health and Workers Compensation Insurance Coordinator.