Animal Handling Safety

Animal Handler Health Surveillance (AHHS) Program

All personnel who handle animals in teaching or research must participate in the AHHS program. The AHHS Program provides an overview of the occupational health services provided to employees such as vaccines, allergy tests, etc. These services are provided by Tulane Living Well or TNPRC Occupational Health. Employees are required to complete a Risk Assessment and History Form (RAHF) prior to working with animals. RAHF forms are provided in the AHHS Forms section below.

Animal Handling Practices

  • Use appropriate engineering controls, work practices and personal protective equipment to reduce or eliminate hazards.
    Potential hazards may include:
    • Physical hazards: animal bites/scratches/kick, high noise, sharps, wet flooring, electrical/mechanical hazards, equipment hazards
    • Biological hazards: microorganisms, animal dander, parasites, aerosols, infectious agents
    • Chemical hazards: anesthetics, cleaning agents, carcinogens, flammables, toxics, corrosives, irritants
    • Radioactive materials, lasers, high magnetic fields
  • Wash your hands after handling animals and before leaving work area. Always use soap and water.
  • All laboratory animals must be transported only on freight elevators; passenger elevators must not be used for this purpose.
  • Animals must be caged or restrained and, if possible, properly draped when transported throughout buildings. Research animals must be kept in the vivarium except when they are actively involved in a research experiment; overnight stays in lab areas are not allowed except as approved by the Department of Comparative Medicine (DCM) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
  • Perform animal manipulations in a well-ventilated area, preferably a chemical fume hood or biological safety cabinet.
  • Contact the DCM or Vet Med (TNPRC) for information on disposal of animal carcasses. Radioactive animal carcasses and chemically contaminated carcasses or bedding may require special labeling, packaging, and disposal procedures which must be handled through the OEHS.


AHHS Forms