HSE in animal laboratory facilities

HSE reviews in experimental animal departments and animal laboratory facilities are intended to prevent work-related disease and injury, the most frequent of which are allergies and animal bites. These regulations are for managers with HSE responsibilities.

Norsk versjon - HMS i forsøksdyravdelinger

Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with experimental animals

What is an experimental animals department?

An experimental animals department is a designated area for animal housing (animal room), operations and laboratory work with a certain group of animals. This also should include adequate space that is specifically designated for support functions (washing/cleaning, storage etc.). An experimental animals department can contain several smaller departments (sub-departments) such as small animals departments, large animals departments, departments for genetically modified animals, infection departments etc. The area must be approved by the Experimental Animals Committee (in Norwegian).

What is an experimental animal?

An experimental animal is a live animal, often a mammal, but also including embryos and foetuses, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians with their separate early stages and crustaceans. The term also includes other animal groups that might involve potential risk of disease for human beings. Fertilised eggs are not included in the definition.

Prevention of health damages

Animal bites can lead to tissue damage, bleedling, broken bones, wounds and danger of infection. The unit must have procedures for prevention and treatment of animal bites.

The development of allergies to experimental animals can be prevented by organising and arranging the work to reduce the exposure to allergens to a minimum. Allergies are typically developed to proteins in animal urine, skin, saliva and fur. Dirty litter is the most important source of exposure. Allergies can also be developed to medicine and other substances given to the animals. Asthma and anaphylactic shock are examples of serious allergic reactions that might occur.

Additionally, the risk associated with use of pathogens, general anesthesia gases, radiation sources, cytotoxic substances and other medicines must be assessed.

Before starting work

As the person in charge for leading the work, and therefore the one with the HSE responsibility, you must make sure that:

  • If your unit shares facilities with others (SINTEF, St. Olavs Hospital, SiT), the HSE responsibility must be agreed upon and documented in a coordination agreement.
  • The facilities are suitable for the planned activity.
  • The unit performs a risk assessment of the planned activity.
  • The unit implements measures to control risks:
  • All involved personnel (including operating personnel) are informed about the health damaging factors they might be exposed to.
  • Supervision of alarm systems for fire, ventilation failure, lighting, break-ins and power failure.

During work

As the person in charge of the work, you must make sure that:

  • Procedures and plans are followed, evaluated and possibly adjusted. All involved personnel must be informed of any changes.
  • Any accidents or near misses are reported.

Person with special inspection responsibility

The experimental animals department must have one or more person(s) with a special inspection responsibility, according to §25 in Forskrift om bruk av dyr i forsøk (in Norwegian).

Access to experimental animals departments

  • Access is normally granted for academic and technical staff at NTNU who are conducting animal experiments, students who are working with animal experiments under the guidance of NTNU staff, cleaning personnel and service personnel.
  • Access is restricted to the timeframe of the scheduled project.
  • Access is secured with the use of keycards. A procedure for changing of codes must be in place.
  • There must be a list of personnel with access at any given time.
  • Any visits must be scheduled with the manager of the experimental animals department, or an individual authorised by the manager. Visitors must always be accompanied by an approved user at the experimental animals department. Visitors are recorded.
  • Plan drawings of the area must not be distributed to third parties without the specific permission of the line manager or the person in charge at the experimental animals department.
  • Written and revised procedures for fire preparedness at the experimental animals department must be displayed in strategic places.

Handling threats

  • Phone threats and other threats must be treated with respect. Write down the name of the person who makes the threat, the reason for the threat, as well as the time and date.
  • In case of threats to the experimental animals department or persons associated with the department: Refer to the department manager. The Communication Division can provide advice.
  • Threats must always be reported to the police. The manager of the experimental animals department is responsible for reporting the matter to the police.


NTNU regulations




Approved by Director of HSE - September 21st 2015 - HMSR10E - ePhorte 2016/3901