Part of Boston University Research Compliance, BU’s Research Occupational Health Program (Research Occupational Health Program ROHP is part of the ...) is focused on the health, wellness, and safety of the University’s scientific research community.
ROHP promotes a culture of safety by working closely with Environmental Health and Safety, leadership at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories The NE...), and other research-related support services. It makes use of comprehensive best practices to perform medical surveillance, workplace risk assessments, biosafety and agent training, and clinical occupational health services led by board-certified occupational medicine and infectious disease physicians.
ROHP serves BU and Boston Medical Center (BMC) laboratory researchers and those who support those research laboratories. Its client population includes faculty, staff, students, and sometimes visitors to:
- Animal Science Center (The Animal Science Center manages and oversees animal-relate...)
- BU or BMC research laboratories
- Environmental Health & Safety
- Scientific SCUBA divers
ROHP is the primary occupational healthcare provider for these groups. Certain biological agents and other materials used in the labs for research may have distinct hazards or special occupational health requirements. Researchers and other staff who handle animals, biological agents, or viable samples from animals and humans should consult with ROHP before handling the animal or materials.
- Researcher pre-placement and fitness to work evaluations
- Immunizations and screenings for researchers
- Research work hazard identification
- Animal allergy screening
- Reproductive counseling
- Training programs specific to laboratory and research hazards
- Respirator medical screening, for those who need to wear a respirator
- Liaison with Boston Public Health Commission and the MA Department of Health for any reportable exposures, injuries or illnesses
- On-the-job injury/exposure care for researchers or incidents occurring in research laboratories or with animals:
- Immediate first aid
- Follow-up care for work-related injuries and illnesses
- Coordination of care and referrals to specialists
- Coordination of post-injury return to work
Reporting Laboratory Injuries and/or Exposures
The following instructions apply to all BU faculty, staff, and students.
- If you sustain an injury, chemical exposure, or biological exposure in a BU laboratory: Implement the first aid steps on which you have been trained, e.g., washing the injury, etc.
- In case of emergency: Follow BU Emergency Instructions:
- Call Public Safety for emergency medical assistance, 617-353-2121 (Charles River Campus) or 617 358 4144 (Boston University Medical Campus).
- Report all lab-related injuries or exposures to ROHP, 617-358-ROHP (7647), 72 E. Concord St., Evans 825.
- Immediate medical evaluation: Once you contact ROHP, a health care professional will advise you on immediate and follow up steps to ensure you get appropriate medical care.
- ROHP is staffed with specially trained nurse practitioners weekdays 8:30-4:30.
- After hours and on weekends and holidays, the number will ring to an after-hours occupational physician call service, and a physician will return your call promptly.
- Safety investigation: ROHP will report the incident to BU Environmental Health and Safety so that they may investigate the incident and determine whether any changes need to be made to prevent similar incidents.
- Follow-up care: If symptoms related to your injury or exposure worsen, please contact ROHP.
- Costs of treatment: No one should hesitate to seek treatment for a laboratory injury/exposure due to cost concerns. ROHP provides medical attention and coordinates aftercare for laboratory injuries and exposures without any cost to research faculty, staff and students. If immediate emergency care is needed, or if follow-up care is needed outside of BU, the costs may be covered by your own insurance, by Workers’ Compensation if you are an employee, or by the Provost’s PhD Fund if you are a PhD student. If you have questions about costs related to laboratory injuries and exposures, please ask ROHP at email@example.com.
When to Go to ROHP vs. Someplace Else
- Anyone working in the NEIDL, ASC, or in research laboratories should use ROHP as their occupational health provider for issues related to their work in the research environment.
BU Occupational Health Center (BUOHC) provides general occupational health services for all BU employees. BU employees who support research laboratories get most of their occupational health needs met at BUOHC. For example:
- BU Facilities workers assigned to the NEIDL require pre-placement screening by ROHP before working in the NEIDL.
- However, if a Facilities worker sustains an on-the-job injury outside of the NEIDL or other research laboratories, they should go to BUOHC.
- BUOHC provides Department of Transportation (DOT) certification for BU employees who need it for their jobs. ROHP does not provide this service.
Student Health Services is the primary health care provider for BU students.
- BU students assigned to work in research laboratories (for pay, or not) will need to be cleared by ROHP prior to working in a lab. Typically, ROHP will ask students to provide their immunization documentation from their Student Health Services (SHS) record.
- BU students working in labs should contact ROHP for any injury or exposure that occurs in a research lab.
- BU students should continue to use SHS for general health matters such as immunizations, routine allergies and colds, and behavioral health services.
BU Healthway manages all aspects of BU’s COVID-19 health program, including symptom screening, testing, medical evaluation of leaves of absence related to COVID-19 and contact tracing. ROHP does not determine leaves of absence or anything else related to COVID-19.
BMC Working Well:
- While ROHP may screen BMC researchers for research hazards, BMC employees should see BMC Working Well for routine and non-laboratory related occupational health needs.
- BMC researchers may go to either ROHP or BMC Working Well for laboratory injuries or exposures; they will need to at least touch base with BMC Working Well for workers’ comp and other administrative matters.
Questions? Just reach out to ROHP and we will make sure you get to the right place:
- Phone: 617-358-7647
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Agent Information Sheets
Find detailed information about biological agents approved for use within the Boston University/Boston Medical Center research community that have the potential to cause laboratory acquired infection (LAI). While LAI is a rare event, the research community continues to take proactive measures to further mitigate risk to researchers, safety personnel, and medical providers.
Information to Assess and Avoid Risks in the Lab
Get useful information on assessing individual risk and avoiding potential health problems, particularly those associated with exposure to laboratory animals including allergies, working with non-human primates, and microbiological agents.
Forms & Questionnaires
Many of the forms used as part of the ROHP medical surveillance program are available on this site in the Forms tab above. You can also review requirements on this webpage. Web forms will be submitted automatically to the ROHP office. Any required forms in PDF format should be sent to ROHP either by email or faxed to the ROHP secure electronic fax number, 617-977-8788.
The ROHP medical staff will review your questionnaire(s) and contact you if additional information, testing, immunizations, or a clinic visit is required. ROHP staff will contact you directly to schedule an appointment for you to visit us at the ROHP clinic located on the Medical Campus: Evans Building, 72 E. Concord Street, 8th Floor, Room 825.
Additional External Resources
ROHP practices are informed by a variety of expert resources external to BU. Below is a selection of resources that lab workers will find useful.