Animal Contact

UCSC is committed to conducting animal research in accordance with the highest scientific and ethical principles. Two groups work toward this aim, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), an arm of the Office of Research. EH&S handles the health surveillance system and safety documents while IACUC oversees trainings specific to animals and operational protocols. Together EH&S and IACUC strive to ensure animals are housed and treated humanely, and work to minimize and manage potential health risks for students and researchers. 

Medical Surveillance

To provide a framework for assessing and controlling potential health risks for participants in animal research protocols UCSC utilizes the online Occupational Health Surveillance System (OHSS). 

Use of Live Vertebrate Animal Subjects with Contact

In most situations UC Santa Cruz personnel, including faculty, staff, post-docs, students (graduate and undergraduate), and volunteers, listed as working on an IACUC Use of Live Vertebrate Animal Subjects with Contact protocol, must complete the OHSS process for protocol approval. Exceptions to this requirement include students participating in coursework (field classes), and short term volunteers (generally, less than six activities in 12 weeks). Please see the IACUC website for additional details. 

Non-UCSC personnel affiliated with other institutions or agencies are covered under their own organization's occupational health surveillance program and ARE NOT required to enroll in the UCSC OHSS program.

Observation Only or Vertebrate Sample Protocols

Submission of an Observation of Non-Human Vertebrates – No Contact protocol or Use of Vertebrate Samples protocol to the IACUC does not require participation in the OHSS process unless you are notified to do so by EH&S. Observation Only or Vertebrate Sample protocols will be reviewed by EH&S for health and safety concerns (biosafety, field safety, general safety, etc). If additional information is necessary or medical surveillance is deemed appropriate, EH&S will contact the PI directly to request details.

Questions related to the risk assessment process for Observation Only or Vertebrate Sample protocols should be directed to

Exposure Incident Response

In the event of a serious accident, injury, or illness contact Campus Dispatch at 911.

Medical Incident

Bites and Scratches

CDC Rabies Post-exposure Guidelines

Fact Sheets & Zoonotic Disease Information

Refer to the fact sheets page for information on specific animal care and contact precautions, as well as zoonotic disease reference material.


Information on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), including application forms and procedures, is available at their website

For other information, contact the Campus Biosafety Officer at or (831) 459-2553.