Comply with infection control policies and procedures in animal work

This Unit of Competency covers the process required to comply with infection control policies and procedures in animal care workplaces and relevant field locations.


This Unit is applicable to all animal care workers who have a duty of care to ensure workplace procedures are followed in order to maintain infection control standards. All procedures must be carried out in accordance with current infection control guidelines, Australian and New Zealand Standards for maintaining infection control and the policies and procedures of the organisation. In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all Units of Competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.



Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Follow infection control guidelines

1.1. The application of standard precautions to prevent the spread of infection is demonstrated in accordance with the organisation infection control plan.

1.2. The application of additional precautions is demonstrated when standard precautions alone may not be sufficient to prevent transmission of infection.

1.3. Organisation and legislative reporting and documentation requirements related to infection control procedures are followed.

2. Identify and respond to infection risks

2.1. Infection risks are identified, reported and appropriate response implemented within own role and responsibility.

2.2. Procedures for risk control and risk containment for specific risks are followed.

2.3. Protocols for care following needle stick injury or bodily fluid exposure are followed as required.

2.4. Spills are removed in accordance with organisation policies and procedures.

2.5. Suspicions of a notifiable disease or potential infectiousdisease signs are reported in accordance with organisation procedures and legislative requirements within own role and responsibility.

2.6. Infection control accidents/incidents are reported and risk control procedures actioned in accordance with legislative regulations and infection control requirements within limits of own role and responsibility.

3. Maintain personal protection

3.1. Hand hygiene is maintained before and after animal contact and/or any activity likely to cause cross-contamination in accordance with Australian/New Zealand Standards.

3.2. Hand care procedures are implemented.

3.3. Cuts and abrasions are covered with waterproof dressing and changed as necessary.

3.4. Personal protective clothing and equipment that complies with Australian/New Zealand Standards are worn and changed, as appropriate, for the intended use.

3.5. Personal immunisation/vaccination requirements for working with animals are identified, obtained (where required) and boosters kept up to date.

4. Limit contamination

4.1. Clean and contaminated zones are demarcated and maintained in all aspects of animal care work.

4.2. Demarcation procedures involving the movement of animals within or between facilities are followed in accordance with legislative requirements and infection control guidelines.

4.3. Animals identified and/or suspected of presenting with a contagious or zoonotic disease are housed in isolation as soon as possible.

4.4. Work surfaces, materials, equipment and instruments are cleaned, disinfected and sterilised, where required, in accordance with infection control guidelines.

4.5. Soiled laundry and protective clothing are handled and processed in accordance with organisation infection control procedures.

4.6. Hazards to animal and human health from food sources are identified and methods used to manage potential risks are implemented.

4.7. Organisation rodent and vector control procedures are followed.

4.8. Clinical, related and general waste, including sharps, are handled and disposed of in accordance with legislative requirements and organisation policies and procedures.

4.9. Animal care facility clients/customers are provided with information regarding infection control, including risks of zoonosis.

5. Contribute to incursion readiness processes

5.1. Infectious Disease Control Kit is maintained in accordance with infection control guidelines in readiness for facility or field activity requirements.

5.2. Contributions are made to the review and revision of the organisation's infection control plan and incident response procedures when problems are identified or government recommendations change.

5.3. Infection control documentation is updated and maintained in accordance with organisation policies and procedures.

Required Skills

Required skills

Ability to:

comply with relevant Australian/New Zealand Standards

employ safe, humane and environmentally responsible organisational systems and procedures when working with animals

introduce additional precautions, when standard precautions are not sufficient, tailored to the specific infection agent involved and its mode of transmission

identify common indicators of the presence of disease, injury, compromised health or distress in animals and respond in compliance with animal welfare and workplace project protocols

identify emergency situations and respond according to workplace protocols in order to minimise the risk of injury/infection to self, others and animals

maintain the highest standards of hygiene and infection control at all times to reduce the risk of infection and cross-infection

prepare and maintain appropriate records and reports relevant to infection control procedures

use literacy skills to read, interpret and apply facility policies and procedures, including workplace health and safety, infection control, containment and exclusion and waste management; follow sequenced written instructions; record accurately and legibly information collected; and select and apply procedures to a range of defined tasks

use oral communication skills/language to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation, including questioning, active listening, asking for clarification and consulting with or seeking advice from team members, senior or more experienced staff or other relevant persons

use numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures

use interpersonal skills to work with others and relate to people from a range of cultural, social and religious backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities

use problem-solving skills to use available information and resources including recording information and prioritise daily tasks.

Required knowledge

Knowledge of:

standard precautions for the care and treatment of all animals, regardless of their perceived or confirmed infectious status for animal care

additional precautions, when standard precautions are not sufficient, tailored to the specific infection agent involved and its mode of transmission

aseptic techniques

aspects of infectious diseases, including:


opportunistic organisms

Australian/New Zealand Standards that are relevant including:

AS/NZS 3816:1998 Management of clinical and related wastes

AS/NZS 4187 2003 Cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of associated environments in health care facilities

AS/NZS 4261:1994 and Amendment 1:1997 Reusable containers for the collection of sharp items used in human and animal medical applications

AS/NZS 4815:2006 Office-based health care facilities - Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment

basic microbiology, including:

bacteria and bacterial spores



common diseases, ailments, injuries and other impacts on animal health and wellbeing and characteristics of healthy, sick or distressed animals

disease transmission, including:

sources of infection microorganisms, including persons who are carriers, in the incubation phase of the disease or are acutely ill

paths of transmission including direct contact, aerosols and penetrating injuries

risk of acquisition

Environmental Protection (Waste Management) legislation and regulations

immunisation/vaccination requirements for animal care workers where applicable

manufacturer's specifications for relevant equipment and materials

Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and control of Infection in Healthcare (2010)

organisation infection control policies and procedures, including animal movement tracking

rodent and vector control procedures

relevant state or territory legislation and regulations relating to workplace health and safety, animal welfare, biosecurity procedures and waste disposal

safe animal handling techniques

susceptible hosts including persons who are immune suppressed, have chronic diseases, such as diabetes and the very young and very old

terminology used to describe and document animal health and behavioural signs and symptoms

the purpose and use of containment facilities

workplace hygiene standards, disinfectants, cleaning agents, cleaning techniques and cleaning equipment and materials.

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this Unit

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this Unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this Unit. Assessors should ensure that candidates can:

comply with effective infection control guidelines to ensure the prevention of transmission of infections from animal to person, animal to animal and/or person to animal

identify and respond to infection risks

maintain personal protection

limit contamination and contribute towards incursion readiness processes

report suspicions of a notifiable disease or unusual disease signs

maintain documentation.

The skills and knowledge required to comply with infection control policies and procedures in animal work must be transferable to a range of work environments and contexts and include the ability to deal with unplanned events.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment of this Unit is to be practical in nature and will be most appropriately assessed in the industry sector in which candidates are working or in a situation that reproduces normal work conditions. Industry sectors can include veterinary practices, pet shops, breeding or boarding kennels and catteries, aviaries, companion animal training or grooming establishments, animal shelters, zoos, wildlife parks, mobile animal facilities, animal technology facilities or similar workplaces.

There must be access in either situation to a range of animals as well as relevant information, equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.

Method of assessment

To ensure consistency of performance, competency should be demonstrated, to industry defined standards, on more than one occasion over a period of time in order to cover a variety of circumstances and where possible, over a number of assessment activities.

The assessment strategy must include practical skills assessment. Suggested strategies for this Unit are:

written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge

observed, documented and first-hand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks

simulation exercises that reproduce normal work conditions

third-party evidence

workplace documentation


This Unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other Units of Competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.

Guidance information for assessment

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the Unit of Competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Standard precautions may include:

appropriate reprocessing of reusable equipment

aseptic technique

environmental controls (e.g. design and maintenance of premises and cleaning)

personal hygiene practices especially washing and drying hands (e.g. before and after animal contact)

safe handling and disposal of sharps and other clinical, related and general waste

surface cleaning and management of blood and bodily fluid spills

techniques to limit contamination

use of personal protective equipment.

Additional precautions may include:

additional use of personal protective equipment

dedicated equipment (e.g. to each animal or as appropriate to work function)


restricted movement of animal, staff and visitors/customers

special ventilation requirements

use of a special facility.

Reporting and documentation may include:

animal health records

animal movement records:

exclusion and containment movements

isolation of new stock arrivals

movement of animals within and between facilities

incident reporting and documenting details of injuries or potential exposures to zoonotic pathogens

maintaining currency of infection control plans and incident response procedures

relevant federal, state and territory legislative reporting requirements for suspected infectious diseases.

Infection risks may include:

airborne transmission of respiratory secretions

animal waste and animal tissues

clinical, related and general waste

contact with blood and other body substances

droplet transmission of respiratory secretions


other animals, insects and vermin

personal contact with infectious materials, substances and/or animals

sharps injury

stock, including food, due to contamination or passed 'used-by' dates.

Current notifiable diseases information may be accessed from:

relevant state or territory Departments of Primary Industries or equivalent websites.

Indicators of potential infectious disease signs may include:

infectious diseases:



internal and external parasites



infectious disease signs:

blisters, ulceration or erosions

dead animals

hair loss or skin disease

nervousness or other behaviour changes

profuse and bloody diarrhoea

rapid spread of signs and symptoms throughout facility

unexplained lethargy, listlessness or depression

unusually high numbers of sick animals

severe hacking cough.

Clean and contaminated zones may include:

clean zone:

storage areas for materials, equipment and medications

contaminated zones:

area used for items that have become contaminated during use.

Hazards to animal and human health from food sources may include:

animal movement and handling

shelf life of foodstuffs

manual handling and general food preparation, storage and distribution equipment

contamination of foodstuffs from vermin, bacteria, fungus, virus and other sources

organic and other dusts

excessive noise

possibility of zoonotic infection.

Rodent and vector control procedures may include:

rodent control:

eliminate nesting sites for rodents and birds

remove spilt or uneaten feed

sealed feed rooms

vector control:

animal care facility pen/cage/stall security

insect screening

pest control annual reduction program

remove mosquito breeding sites (e.g. sources of standing water)

remove access points for native animals (e.g. possums, macropods and reptiles).

Disposal of waste requirements may include:

disposal in accordance with:

Environmental Protection (Waste Management) policy and regulations

Australian and New Zealand Standards.

Infectious Disease Control Kit may include:



goggles/face shield

ground sheet


sanitising wipes

shoe covers

surgical masks (p2/n95).


Infection control

Employability Skills

This Unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.