Working With Animals Policy

Effective: September 2000
Reviewed: July 2017
Revised: July 2017
Signature/Position: Vice-President, Finance, Administration and Risk

Applicable Legislation:

Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA), R.S.O. 1990


This Policy applies to all University of Guelph employees (faculty and staff) and students whose work and/or academic activities require them to handle animals.

Policy Statements:

  1. Employees and students shall be trained in safe techniques for restraining, manipulating and transporting animal species in their care, along with precautions required for health protection. Supervisors are responsible to provide appropriate training. 
  2. As a baseline, all employees and students using animals for teaching and research must complete the online Animal User Training Program through the Office of Research.   
  3. Supervisor shall review with employees and students the risks of sensitization, zoonotic diseases, routes of exposure and exposure prevention strategies.
  4. Supervisors and employees and/or students shall decide in advance how many experienced people will be required to handle and restrain an animal safely, the equipment to be used, whether working alone is acceptable, and safe procedures for working alone, as applicable.
  5. Occupational Health and Wellness (OHW) and Student Health Services shall determine requirements for immunization programs (e.g. rabies) and other health surveillance initiatives. Identified employees and students shall participate in the program.
  6. Supervisors must confirm participation of identified employees and students in the program prior to work with animals.
  7. All suspected zoonotic exposures resulting from bites, scratches, needle-stick injuries shall be reported to Occupational Health and Wellness (OHW), following the University Injury and Incident Reporting Process.


Term Definition
Sensitization the development of allergies upon repeated contact with animals or their excreta or dander.
Zoonotic Diseases diseases that are shared between species; diseases transmissible from animals to humans.