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Managing the risk from exposure to laboratory animal allergens

UCL requires that any work involving exposure to laboratory animal allergens is assessed and risks from exposure managed.

Risks:allergic symptoms due to contact with, or inhalation of animal allergens; can progress to more serious symptoms of asthma. Allergic symptoms include runny or stuffy nose (rhinitis), watery or prickly eyes (conjunctivitis) and skin rashes.


Biological Services Unit (BSU): a centrally managed animal unit providing facilities and infrastructure for research.

Departmental Registered Room/Area:  a room or area within a room used for procedures listed on the Home Office Establishment Licence Schedule of Premises that is not located within a Biological Services Unit.

Individually ventilated cage (IVC): a cage which can provide protection to both the animal and those working with animals

Laboratory animal allergy: an allergic hypersensitivity response which may develop as a result of exposure to laboratory animal allergens

Local exhaust ventilation (LEV): an engineering control system to reduce exposures to airborne contaminants such as dust, mist, fume, vapour or gas in a workplace.

Occupational asthma: respiratory symptoms (cough, wheeze, chest tightness, shortness of breath) caused by substances inhaled at work.

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) - a particular type of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect the wearer from breathing in harmful substances or from oxygen-deficient atmospheres when other controls are either not possible or insufficient on their own

 Roles and responsibilities

 UCL Standards and Guidance


Heads of Department



Departmental Designated Contact



Occupational Health Services

Biological Services

Safety Services


UCL LAA standard

Assessing the risks

Managing the risks:

- General controls

- Controls in BSUs

- Controls in registered rooms

- Approaches to control - by example


Occupational health surveillance programme

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

RPE - face-fit testing



The law


RiskNET - risk assessment tool

Health and safety in animal facilities (to be launched October 2015)

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations



Animal research at UCL

UCL Occupational Health

HSE - Occupational asthma

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