IACUC Inspection Pointers

  1. Are you familiar with the IACUC-approved protocol?
  2. Are floors, walls, ceilings, doors and jams, lighting in good repair and operation?
  3. Are surfaces smooth and impervious to moisture?
  4. Is the area clean and orderly and safe?
  5. Is it free of excessive stored equipment or clutter?
  6. Are equipment and implements clean and in good repair?
  7. Is lighting sufficient to ensure personnel safety?
  8. Does the air smell relatively fresh and clean?
  9. Are temperature and humidity appropriate?
  10. Is the area free of excessive noise?
  11. Are storage and disposal of waste, hazardous material, carcasses appropriate?
  12. Is an effective pest control program in place?
  13. Are all personnel wearing appropriate PPE?

Outside the animal facility door

  1. Is the door secured so access is limited to authorized personnel only?
  2. Is relevant information posted?
    1. PPE requirements?
    2. Hazard warnings?
    3. Veterinary and Animal Care Personnel Contact lists?
    4. Emergency Contact Lists?
    5. Animal Welfare Concerns Poster?
  3. Are lab coats, safety glasses, face masks booties, hearing protection, etc. available to use?

Through the door and in the corridor –

  1. Are animal areas separate from personnel areas?
  2. Are there certified safety stations, fire extinguishers, or alarm system?
  3. Are personnel dressed in the required PPE?
  4. Are you, the inspector, dressed in the required PPE?

Outside the anteroom door 

  1. Is the door closed?
  2. Is access restricted or secured?
  3. Is it posted with appropriate signage?
  4. Do you have the proper OHSP training to enter?
  5. Do you have access to the proper PPE?

In the anteroom

  1. Is appropriate PPE available for use?
  2. Are drawers, cabinets, refrigerators, shelving, floor, clean, orderly and free of clutter?
  3. Are trash cans lined and covered?
  4. Are syringes, drugs, cleaning agents, instruments, chemicals etc. stored in cabinets and drawers?
  5. Are sharps containers in place?
  6. Is there evidence of recapping needles?
  7. Is the refrigerator/freezer posted with storage restrictions?
  8. Are contents in keeping with restrictions?
  9. Are all drugs, solutions, dateable materials including food items properly labeled and within their expiration date?
  10. Are hoods inspected and periodically certified?
  11. Are cleaning agents and other hazardous supplies stored separately from other items?
  12. Are the use and location of electrical outlets and equipment safe?
  13. Is a sink and personal cleaning station available?
  14. Is there evidence of food, smoking, applying cosmetics?
  15. Is the light timer outside the animal room set for the appropriate cycle?
  16. Is there a bite/scratch/injury protocol posted?

If Animal Use Procedures are ongoing OBSERVE, INTRODUCE, ASK

  1. What protocol are you conducting?
  2. Is everything going well?
  3. Have you been given the opportunity to read the IACUC-approved protocol?
  4. Are you comfortable with your assigned responsibilities?
  5. Are there areas where you feel you might benefit from additional training?
  6. Have you been informed about any potential hazards associated with this research and this animal species and corresponding precautions?
  7. Have you had training in animal-related occupational health and safety?
  8. Do you know what steps to take if you were bitten or scratched by an animal or sustained an injury?
  9. Are you active in the OHSP?
  10. Are you familiar with procedures for voicing animal welfare concerns?

Through the door and into the animal room

  1. Are temperature, humidity and air-changes meeting Guide recommendations?
  2. Are floors dry and drainage adequate?
  3. Are feed barrels lined, covered and labeled with type of food and mill date or expiration date?
  4. Are animals housed by species and source by room?
  5. Are cages, pens, cage racks and wheel casters in good repair and clean?
  6. Can animals be easily observed with minimal disturbance?
  7. Is room illumination appropriate for the species?
  8. Do animals look healthy?
  9. Do enclosures look over-crowded?
  10. Do food and water look fresh and palatable?
  11. Is bedding or cage bottoms relatively clean and dry?
  12. Are ID cards in place on primary enclosures?
  13. Do cards include source, strain or stock, Pl name, contact info, pertinent dates, protocol number?
  14. Are medical and experimental records available?
  15. Are animals pair – or group-housed?
  16. Are individually-housed animals provided enrichment devices?
  17. Can individually-housed animals see and hear the other animals?
  18. Are animals with special needs provided appropriate housing?

If Animal Care Procedures are ongoing 

  1. What is your daily routine in this room?
  2. How often are cages/pens/water bottles/feeders cleaned and sanitized?
  3. How often do you sanitize cage racks?
  4. How often do you clean and sanitize feed barrels?
  5. How often do you sanitize enrichment devices?
  6. How often is the room emptied and sanitized?
  7. How often is water and food changed?
  8. Do you use dedicated mop, bucket etc. for this room?
  9. Are you active in the OHSP?
  10. Do you know what steps to take if you were bitten or scratched by an animal or sustained an injury?
  11. Are you familiar with procedures for voicing animal welfare concerns?
    Do you have any questions, concerns or recommendations about animal care operations?

Enter a Food/Bedding Storage Area  

  1. Is food/ bedding stored off floor on pallets, racks, or carts?
  2. Is stock rotated so that the oldest food is used first?
  3. Are feed bags in good shape?
  4. Is food used within 6 months of mill date?
  5. Is feed containing unstabilized Vitamin C used within 3 months of mill date?
  6. Is the date diets are autoclaved recorded and the diet used quickly?
  7. Are unused, opened bags of food stored in vermin and water proof containers?
  8. Are perishable items stored in a manner that avoids contamination?
  9. Is room free off evidence of vermin and pests?

Enter a Cage Wash Area 

  1. Is the cage washer convenient to animal areas and waste disposal?
  2. Is it designed for easy access of large equipment?
  3. Is there sufficient space for the workload?
  4. Are personal safety precautions and equipment used during bedding disposal; lifting and pushing activities; pre-wash and acid wash procedures?
  5. Is traffic flow clean to dirty?
  6. Are there adequate noise attenuation features?
  7. Is ventilation sufficient to handle excessive heat and humidity?
  8. Are features in place to minimize falls due to wet floors?
  9. Are cage wash personnel equipped with proper safety garb and equipment?
  10. Are cage wash temperatures recorded and meeting requirements?
  11. If cages are autoclaved, are autoclave temperatures and times recorded and meeting requirements?
  12. Is there sufficient and appropriate space for clean cage storage?

Aseptic Surgical Facilities

  1. Rodent Surgery
    1. Is rodent surgery performed in a clean and uncluttered dedicated area that minimizes contamination from other activities?
    2. Are storage and disposal of waste, hazardous material, carcasses appropriate?
  2. Non Rodent Surgery
    1. Is non rodent aseptic surgery performed in facilities intended for only aseptic surgery?
    2. Are surgical facilities close to but sufficiently separate from support areas, minimize unnecessary traffic, decrease the potential for contamination?
    3. Do surgical facilities have support areas including
      1. dressing area
      2. instrument preparation and storage area
      3. animal preparation area
      4. surgeon’s scrub
      5. operating room
      6. postoperative recovery
    4. Is the surgical facility designed to control contamination and to permit ease of cleaning?
    5. Are surfaces made of materials that are smooth and impervious to moisture?
    6. Is the air pressure in the surgery room positive to all other rooms?
    7. Does the operating room have as little fixed equipment as possible?
    8. Do surgical lamps provide adequate illumination?
    9. Are there sufficient electric outlets available for support equipment?
    10. Are anesthetic machines equipped with appropriate gas-scavenging devices?
    11. Are gas cylinders secured?
    12. Are warning signs in place?
    13. Are there appropriate procedures for drug storage, control, and monitoring of expiration dates?
    14. Are surgical and post-operative and recovery records in place?
    15. Are storage and disposal of waste and hazardous material appropriate?

Other Areas to Inspect

  1. Diet Preparation Areas
  2. Receiving
  3. Quarantine
  4. Isolation
  5. Necropsy
  6. Radiography
  7. Investigator Labs
  8. Satellite Facilities
  9. Animal Transportation Vehicles

Bottom Line: 

The institution, acting through its IACUC, remains responsible for ALL animal care and use activities NO MATTER WHAT.

Semiannual Program Review and Facility Inspection are the IACUC’s best opportunities for ensuring a quality and compliant Institutional Animal Care and Use Program.

Take advantage of the opportunity!