Service animals in labs

Roles and responsibilities

  • It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure a risk assessment is completed prior to entry into any laboratory setting (with the exception of computer labs) or machine shop.
  • The supervisor/instructor of the laboratory has the ultimate decision to grant/deny a service animal’s access to the facility. Written documentation regarding the reason for denial shall be provided to the individual, upon request.
  • A copy of the completed risk assessment shall be given to AccessAbility Services (students) or Occupational Health (employees) for recordkeeping.
  • A re-assessment is required for each course or event that occurs in the space.


  • A risk assessment should be individually completed, with consideration of the species and size of the animal, the nature of facility, hazards encountered, duration and severity of risk, probability of harm or injury, and availability of risk mitigation.
  • If an individual emergency response plan is in place for the individual, it should also take into account the service animal (e.g. exposure to hazardous material or injury, a spill in the laboratory, evacuation of the laboratory or the building, etc.).
  • Should an incident related to the service animal occur (e.g. exposure, injury, etc.), the individual shall follow similar processes in incident reporting as outlined in Safety Office guidelines. Service animals are not generally permitted in laboratories utilizing risk group 2 or higher biological materials, where pathogens are collected or processed, where radioactive materials (open sources) are used, and/or where high hazard materials are used and represent a risk of exposure to the animal.
  • Service animals are generally not permitted in animal research facilities or in laboratories where research animals are handled.
  • Service animals should be located in the safest area possible (e.g. adjacent office, laboratory entry) and placed in an appropriately sized, well-ventilated crate.
  • No dog beds or fabric pads are allowed in the laboratory.
  • Disposable plastic-backed absorbent lab paper or pet pads for the animal to rest on during the lab is to be used, to protect them from whatever might be on the surface.
  • The individual is responsible for providing their service animal with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals, broken glass or other hazards, as needed. Examples of such PPE include, but not limited to:
    • Disposable or reusable boots to cover the feet.
    • Disposable lab coats.