Animals on campus and work with animals

The guidance document below provides advice on the University's position in relation to staff and students bringing animals, typically dogs, onto the campus whether for work purposes or as companion, or assistance animals. Advice is provided on how such access should be managed. Note that the content of the document is not primarily safety-focussed but seeks to take account of the wider social issues and the need to balance and needs and wishes of all campus users. The guidance document has been approved by the University Health Safety and Wellbeing Committee with this aim in mind.

Animals on Campus Guidance Note (v2.2 - Nov 2023)

Working with animals

Where animals are present for work purposes there is likely to be legislative control over the activity involved. Virtually all work that involves keeping of animals, whether in an agricultural, veterinary or laboratory setting will require registration with various enforcing authorities and agencies.  All relevant authorisations and permissions must be obtained prior to work commencing. 

Key safety risks may include:

  • Physical injury during animal handling.
  • Transmission of zoonoic disease from animals to humans.
  • Allergic reaction to animal proteins, danders or dusts.

Appropriate housing and animal handling facilities are required and all animal handlers must be trained in effective and safe handling techniques.  Risk assessments identifying foreseeable risks, including those indicated above, must be in place. 

All staff who come into contact with animals should be instructed in the risk of zoonotic disease and of the risk and symptoms of animal allergies and should be instructed to report these conditions should they occur. 

A decision is required on whether routine health surveillance or pre-employment medicals are appropriate for staff working with animals. A risk assessment template is provided on the SEPS Health Surveillance page and should be used to assist with this process. Advice can also be sought from SEPS, and from the Occupational Health team.

Disposal of animal by-products

The Animal By-Products Regulations apply controls on the use, treatment, handling and disposal of animal by-products with the aim of controlling the risks, including disease, to both animals and the public. The Regulations define animal by-products (ABPs) as: entire bodies or parts of animals or products of animal origin not intended for human consumption.

Information on the safe and legal disposal of ABPs and of associated waste is available in the waste management section of SEPS web site.