Preparing for Semiannual Inspections

Why must the IACUC inspect my animal areas twice per year?

The responsibility of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is to oversee the provisions for the care and well-being of animals used for research, teaching and testing at The University of Texas at Austin. The IACUC is also committed to serving the public by ensuring compliance with all legal and ethical standards regarding the use of animals in research.

One part of that responsibility is to conduct Semiannual Program Reviews and Facility Inspections, as mandated by the Guide, PHS Policy and the Animal Welfare Act. As part of the Program Review, the IACUC will examine the entire animal care and use program, including its own policies and procedures. The Facility Inspections are conducted to ensure labs are complying with the regulations relating to animal research. The PHS Policy states that the inspection should include all buildings, rooms, areas, enclosures and vehicles (including satellite facilities in which animals are housed for more than 24 hours) that are used for animal confinement, transport, maintenance, breeding or experiments inclusive of surgical manipulation. The purpose of these facility inspections is not to get labs in trouble, but rather to help keep labs in compliance with the regulatory bodies.

What can I do to prepare my laboratory for inspections?

An ORSC staff member will email your lab with the date and time of your inspection and will ask for the contact name and number of a representative from your lab who will meet the committee members. The lab representative should be knowledgeable about the protocol, including familiarity with procedure techniques, drugs or agents used, euthanasia methods, etc. You can prepare for the inspection by using the “Laboratory Self-Evaluation Checklists” found on the Documents, Forms and Materials page.

During the inspection, you can expect the committee will evaluate or review:

  • Appropriateness of facilities, personnel and equipment to provide adequate care to animals
  • Cleanliness of facilities, lab areas and equipment
  • Evaluation of potential hazards and safety considerations for personnel
  • Adherence to aseptic techniques
  • Animal identification and health records, equipment service records, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), controlled substance logs, environmental control, husbandry records, etc.
  • Euthanasia practices
  • Storage and expiration date of drugs and chemicals used in animals
  • Animal husbandry
  • Any other considerations listed on the OLAW Inspection Checklists

What can I expect after the inspection of my laboratory?

After the committee has inspected your animal areas, the IACUC will communicate any deficiencies found, along with regulatory background to explain why the correction is needed and in some cases how you can meet the regulatory and institutional requirements moving forward. Your lab is responsible for implementing a plan of correction and you must respond to the IACUC at least 2 weeks following the initial notice. The response should confirm that:

  1. The item(s) noted have been corrected. Include the date of correction and how they were corrected.
  2. The item(s) noted will be corrected. Include the anticipated date of correction and a written plan for how they will be corrected.

The IACUC staff will follow up with your lab until all deficiencies have been addressed and finalized. Some areas may be revisited to confirm the deficiencies have been corrected. If you have any questions or concerns or if you would like additional information on how to prepare your lab for inspections, please contact the Office of Research Support and Compliance.

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