Section 6: Best Practices When Working With Research Animals

Best Practices to Prevent Illness Exposure When Working With Research Animals:

  • The most important thing you can do to prevent infection following any bite, scratch, or puncture from sharps exposure is to immediately and thoroughly wash the injury with soap and water.
  • Avoid the use of sharps whenever possible. Take extreme care when using a needle and syringe to inject research animals or when using sharps during necropsy procedures. Never remove, recap, bend, break, or clip used needles from disposable syringes.
  • Keep hands away from mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Wear the required PPE in all areas within the animal facility.
  • Remove gloves and wash hands after handling animals or tissues derived from them and before leaving areas where animals are kept.
  • Use mechanical pipetting devices (no mouth pipetting!).
  • Never eat, drink, smoke, handle contact lenses, apply cosmetics, or take or apply medicine in areas where research animals are kept.
  • Perform procedures carefully to reduce the possibility of creating splashes or aerosols.
  • Contain operations that generate hazardous aerosols in biological safety cabinets or other ventilated enclosures, such as animal bedding dump stations.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Keep doors closed to rooms where research animals are kept.
  • Promptly decontaminate work surfaces when procedures are completed and after surfaces are soiled by spills of animal material or waste.
  • Properly dispose of animal waste and bedding.

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