Lessons Learned from Fall 2017 Semi-Annual Facility Inspections

November 8, 2017

The Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) recently completed its latest round of semi-annual inspections of all animal facilities, including housing rooms and use locations.

We recognize that this round of inspections closely followed the AAALAC Site Visit, and apologize for any inconvenience or added burden this may have placed on your lab. We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we navigated these busy few months together.

The Animal Care & Use (ACU) Office continues to modify and improve our processes to better serve the needs of our research community. Feedback and/or suggestions on semi-annual inspections are welcomed, and should be sent to Amanda Mayer in the ACU Office at adingman@umich.edu.

Inspection Results

In the continued pursuit of programmatic transparency, we’ve outlined common deficiency areas found in this most recent round of inspections. Please take a moment to share these results with your entire laboratory staff.

Donut chart outlining common deficiency areas found during Fall 2017 semi-annual IACUC facility inspections

Suggestions for Improved Practices

In addition to reviewing the inspection results with your staff, we also encourage you to discuss the following suggestions for improved practices in your laboratory: 

Occupational Health & Safety (60%)
  • Develop a schedule for maintenance (i.e., flushing eye wash; scheduling sharps disposal) 
  • Select one or two lab members to be accountable for these tasks
  • Assure area is free from physical hazards (i.e., trip hazards, improperly secured tanks)


Expired and/or Improperly Labeled Substances/Materials (21%)
  • Ensure all materials/substances are labeled, and dated if necessary, upon arrival/order
  • Create a schedule for tracking to ensure that expired materials are removed from circulation/use


Protocol Clarifications (13%)
  • Regularly review your protocol with all laboratory staff to ensure that the information is up-to-date, accurate, and being appropriately followed
  • Designate one or two lab members to be responsible for submitting protocol changes via amendment
  • Discuss any protocol questions or concerns with your Research Compliance Associate in the Animal Care & Use Office


Equipment Maintenance (6%)
  • Regularly check animal rooms (both housing and labs) to ensure that they are set up appropriately
  • Work with your ULAM Husbandry Supervisor and/or Plant Operations to address any maintenance or facility repairs in a timely manner


Finally, we want to remind you that the IACUC is largely comprised of your peers; scientists, non-scientists, faculty veterinarians, and members of the general public who are tasked with ensuring that the highest animal welfare standards are maintained at all times in the conduct of accurate, valid scientific research at the University of Michigan.

Accordingly, we ask that you treat these individuals, and any other stewards of the Animal Care & Use Program, as guests in your laboratory and partners in upholding the standards and integrity of your research. This is the commitment to shared responsibility and accountability we must all make when afforded the privilege of working with animals in research, testing, and teaching.