Soap and paper towel readily available and used for handwashing

Hand washing protocols must be rigorously followed by laboratory personnel. Persons must wash their hands after handling animals and before leaving the areas where infectious materials and/or animals are housed or are manipulated, and chemicals are used. Hand washing should occur after the removal of gloves.

Hands must be washed after handling biohazardous materials and animals, and before leaving the laboratory.

In most situations, thorough washing of hands with ordinary soap and water is sufficient to decontaminate them, but the use of germicidal soaps is recommended in high-risk situations. Hands should be thoroughly lathered with soap, using friction, for at least 20 seconds, rinsed in clean water and dried.

Foot- or elbow-operated faucets are recommended. Where not available, a paper towel should be used to turn off the faucet handles to avoid re-contaminating washed hands.

Waterless antiseptic hand cleansers such as alcohol-based hand-rubs or antiseptic towelettes must be available to employees at risk of exposure if running water is not readily available. If waterless cleansers or towelettes must be used, the employee must follow-up with a soap and water wash as soon as feasible.


  • Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. HHS Publication No. (CDC) 21- 1112, 5th Edition.
  • NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. April 2019. Appendix G-II-A-1-h. and Appendix K-II-C.
  • MSU Biosafety Manual
  • MSU Bloodborne Exposure Control Plan
  • MSU Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • MSU Waste Disposal Guidance

Corrective actions:

All labs must have soap and paper towels adjacent to sinks for handwashing. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after removing gloves used for handling animals, biohazards and chemicals, before leaving the laboratory and before eating or drinking and touching common use surfaces (i.e., computers, telephones, etc.).

If no running water/soap is available use antiseptic hand cleanser but follow-up with a wash with soap and water wash as soon as possible.