Oiled Sea Otter Rehabilitation Course

Injury And Illness Prevention Program


International Wildlife Research makes the safety and health of our wildlife responders the first consideration in operating an oiled wildlife rehabilitation program. Safety and health must be a part of every operation, and every responder’s responsibility at all levels. It is the intent of International Wildlife Research to comply with all laws concerning the health and safety of our workers and the public. To do this, we must constantly be aware of conditions in all work areas that can produce or lead to injuries. No worker is required to perform a job known to be unsafe or dangerous to their health. Your cooperation in detecting hazards, reporting dangerous conditions and controlling workplace hazards encouraged. Inform your supervisor immediately of any situation beyond your ability or authority to correct.

Safety First Priority

The personal safety and health of each wildlife responder is of primary importance. Prevention of occupationally-induced injuries and illnesses is of such consequence that it will be given precedence over operating procedures. To the greatest degree possible, International Wildlife Research will provide protective clothing and equipment for your personal safety and health, but our wildlife responders must bear primary responsibility for working safely. A little common sense and caution can prevent most accidents from occurring.

Individual Cooperation Necessary

To be successful, a safety and health program must embody proper attitudes towards injury and illness prevention on the part of supervisors and workers. It requires the cooperation in all safety and health matters. Only through such a cooperative effort can a safety program in the best interest of all be established and preserved.

Safety Rules for All Wildlife Responders

It is the policy of International Wildlife Research that everything possible will be done to protect you from accidents, injuries and/or occupational disease while on the job. Safety is a cooperative undertaking requiring an ever-present safety consciousness on the part of every worker, especially when handling wild animals. If a worker is injured, positive action must be taken promptly to see that the he or she receives adequate treatment. All operations must be planned to prevent accidents. To carry out this policy, the following rules will apply:

1. All workers shall follow the safe practices and rules contained in this manual and such other rules and practices communicated on the job. All workers shall report all unsafe conditions or practices to their supervisor.
2. The Operations Supervisor shall be responsible for implementing these policies by insisting that workers observe and obey all rules and regulations necessary to maintain a safe work place and safe work habits and practices.
3. Good housekeeping must be practiced at all times in the work area. Clean up all waste and eliminate any dangers in the work area.
4. Suitable clothing and footwear must be worn at all times. Personal protection equipment (coveralls, rubber boots, gloves, eye protection) will be worn whenever needed.
5. Anyone under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, including prescription drugs which might impair motor skills and judgment, shall not be allowed on the job.
6. Horseplay, scuffling, and other acts which tend to have an adverse influence on safety or well-being of other workers are prohibited.
7. Work shall be well planned and supervised to avoid injuries in the handling of animals and equipment.
8. No one shall be permitted to work while their ability or alertness is so impaired by extreme fatigue, illness, or other causes that it might expose them or others to injury.
9. There will be no consumption of liquor or beer on the job.
10. All injuries should be reported to the Operations Supervisor so that arrangements can be made for medical or first aid treatment.
11. When lifting heavy objects, use the large muscles of the leg instead of the smaller muscles of the back.
12. Do not throw things, especially material and equipment. Dispose of all waste properly and carefully.

Agreement to Participate

The information in this manual constitutes a written injury and illness prevention program. While International Wildlife Research cannot anticipate every workplace hazard, the following general principals should guide your conduct. To be safe, you must never stop being safety conscious.

Study the guidelines contained in this manual. Discuss the workplace situation with the Operations Supervisor. Attend all training meetings. Read all posters and warnings. Listen to instructions carefully. Follow the Code of Safe Work Place Practices contained herein. Participate in accident investigations as requested. Accept responsibility for the safety of others. Maintain all required documentation.


Worker safety training is an essential requirement of an effective injury and illness prevention program. While International Wildlife Research believes in skills training, we also want to emphasize safety training. All wildlife responders should start the safety training by reading this manual and discussing any problems or safety concerns with your direct supervisor. You may wish to make notes in the margins of this manual where it applies to your work.

Safety and Health Training

Training is one of the most important elements of any injury and illness prevention program. Such training is designed to enable responders to learn their jobs properly, bring new ideas to the workplace, reinforce existing safety policies and put the injury and illness prevention program into action.

Training is required for both supervisors and workers alike. The content of each training session will vary, but each session will attempt to teach the following:
a) the success of International Wildlife Research’s injury and illness prevention program depends on the actions of individual wildlife responders as well as a commitment by IWR.
b) each responder’s immediate supervisor will review the safe work procedures unique to that worker’s job, and how these safe work procedures protect against risk and danger.
c) each wildlife responder will learn when personal protective equipment is required or necessary, and how to use and maintain the equipment in good condition.
d) each worker will learn what to do in case of emergencies occurring in the workplace. Supervisors are also vested with special duties concerning the safety of workers. The supervisors are key figures in the establishment and success of International Wildlife Research’s injury and illness prevention program. They have primary responsibility for actually implementing the injury and illness prevention program, especially as it relates directly to the workplace. Supervisors are responsible for being familiar with safety and health hazards to which workers are exposed, how to recognize them, the potential effects of these hazards, and rules and procedures for maintaining a safe workplace. Supervisors shall convey this information to the workers at the workplace, and shall investigate accidents according to the accident investigation policies contained in this manual.


Smoking is not allowed in the rehabilitation facility or associated facilities.