UCSF Policy for Immune Compromised Workers/Trainees in the Research Laboratory Setting

Policy and Scope

It is the policy of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) that all immunocompromised workers and trainees who work in research laboratories or handle animals will receive education and training regarding infectious agents present specific to their work area and job duties. As part of this training, information will be given regarding causes and risk factors for immune compromise. It will be provided before starting work and on an annual basis thereafter. 

This policy applies to all immune compromised laboratory workers or trainees who may be at increased risk for development of infectious diseases as a result of research laboratory activities. The term “work in research laboratories” will include workers/trainees who work directly with potential pathogens as well as individuals who have exposure because they work in the same laboratory space where infectious agents are studied. Examples from this group include LARC employees, EH&S staff, facilities staff, and custodial workers.

Education and Training of Laboratory Workers and Trainees

In addition to information and counseling on specific laboratory hazards, workers/trainees will be advised that individuals who are immune compromised are more susceptible to infection by infectious agents that pose little risk for healthy individuals. Individuals will be given an informational handout with educational and contact information in the event they have any questions. Faculty/staff/trainees with immune compromise will not be asked to identify themselves, but will be referred to resources cited in the handout in the event they have any questions or concerns. 

Counseling of Immune Compromised Laboratory Workers and Trainees Regarding Risk

At the time of hire:

  • Employees/trainees will be counseled regarding the increased risk of illness in immunocompromised workers as a result of infectious disease exposure in the workplace. 
  • Immunocompromised employees/trainees will be encouraged to call the UCSF Public Health Officer to develop a list of potential pathogens in their work area. The UCSF Public Health Officer will conduct an individual risk assessment based on the laboratory BUA(s) and potential workplace exposures from materials listed on the BUA and laboratory animals and equipment. 
  • All employees/trainees who contact the UCSF Public Health Officer will be encouraged to discuss the results of the risk assessment with their primary care physician and/or UCSF Occupational Health Services. The primary care provider for UCSF students is Student Health Services.
  • In the event the laboratory workers/trainees have persistent concerns regarding risks of employment, they shall be advised to make an appointment with UCSF Occupational Health Services.
  • UCSF Occupational Health Services will assess risks and advise the worker/trainee regarding resources and options. The worker/trainee shall be encouraged to work in areas that minimize risk of injury/illness by requesting informal accommodations or, if appropriate, to request reasonable accommodation.

During the course of employment:

  • Educational material regarding the risks of immune compromise will be provided yearly to all laboratory employees/trainees. This information will include reminders that employees are encouraged seek advice from the UCSF Public Health Officer regarding potential infectious hazards, their Primary Care Provider as well as the appropriate UCSF clinic for confidential counseling and / or risk assessment.


Public Health Officer

Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Phone: 415-514-3531


UCSF Occupational Health Services

Phone: 415-885-7580

Fax: 415-771-4472

Box 1661



UCSF Student Health Services

Phone 415-476-1281

Fax: 415-476-6137