From: Janice Umbaugh <janiceu**At_Symbol_Here**LABCHEM.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] That Old Glove Problem
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:14:39 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: C88A6481BCF5154BA3159ABCB1645CA545A512B404**At_Symbol_Here**LC1DELL.labcheminc.local

There's an older but still good video on YouTube that illustrates contamination from PPE being spread using whipped cream or shaving cream:


If you think about the cream as a hazardous material, especially a biohazard, it becomes rather frightening.


Janice Umbaugh

Compliance Manager



Zelienople, PA 16063


From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Lewin
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2017 10:05 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] That Old Glove Problem


With 25 years previously in Biology, I feel your pain.  I've done all the "classic" talking points:


Disposable gloves are, well, disposable.


Hand carrying samples (especially when not in a spill proof secondary container) increases the chance of spilling and accidents.


"Yes, I know you are just protecting your samples from your DNA, but your realize you just touched a door knob with someone else's DNA on it."


The story from my graduate student days from my housemate who came home one night telling me he spent most of the night cleaning up P32 that had been spread around the lab by someone's contaminated glove.  They only found it because someone happened to be walking by the refrigerator carrying the Geiger counter while on and just happened to point it at the refrigerator handle.


During an inspection, telling a grad student, who pulled used gloves out of her pocket, to handle P32 that had we been the NRC she would have probably had the lab shut down.


But probably my best resource was that Biology happens to share a building with several engineering departments.  Their employees complained when they saw people on the elevator with gloves pushing buttons.  It gave me an excuse to placard the hallways and lab doors about "no gloves in the hallway" and support to enforce it.


One possible solution, although I'm not a huge fan, is the one glove policy in hallways.  You use a gloved hand to carry the samples and an ungloved hand to open doors.  I still don't like many of the safety aspects such as you still have the increase for a spill and once people put the sample down they often still use the gloved hand on surfaces.  It also increases the chances of the ungloved hand getting contaminated.  And, of course, once you implement it you are going to have an even harder time undoing it.


Of course this is only in jest, but maybe you need to do a demo - come out of the microlab (with sterile gloves and using aseptic technique to open the door) and walk around during lunch time and touch tables, chairs, and a sandwich or two ;>   




On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:16 PM <00000313ede34dce-dmarc-request**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

Suggest purchasing some UV fluorescence dye in a gel (glogerm or equivalent) and documenting the contamination from use of gloves in the hallway. Might be a way to demonstrate the scientific rationale for glove removal prior to public places. 

With regards,



Michael N. Cooper MS, MPH, CIH, NRRPT

Certified Industrial Hygienist

Radiation Protection Technologist

Principal Scientist 



Instructor, University of California, Davis mncooper**At_Symbol_Here**


On Jun 9, 2017, at 17:29, Turner, Mark O (DOH) <mark.turner**At_Symbol_Here**DOH.WA.GOV> wrote:

Good afternoon friends,


I just wanted to share a little tale, get some feedback and see if I have somewhere lost my mind.  How have I come so low that I cannot get management to support the enforcement of a very old rule - no laboratory gloves may touch common surfaces that bare hands touch, such as doorknobs, and no gloves in the hallways?  Staff take breaks and eat in these hallways (they are quite wide with alcoves for tables, chairs and copy machines) and they believe gloves are acceptable?  We are in the public health business!


I put out a safety newsletter for the staff here and wrote an article about gloves in the hallways, the justifications commonly used in support of gloves, and the obvious counters to those.  Prior to publication, through the grapevine management had heard about the safety department clamping down on gloves in the hallways and was upset, so I sent a preview of my article and attended their weekly meeting (that's right - here no safety representative is invited to management meetings).  I was lambasted by excuses and justifications for wearing gloves.  Things like, "it sometimes takes too long for people to transfer to a secondary container and decon that for transport, so it's better to make a quick walk down the hall with gloves." and, "it's more about protecting the sample from the person than the person - the samples are perfectly safe." Of course in the latter scenario those gloved hands are touching doorknobs and that "clean" sample while they claim aseptic techniques, but I digress.


I suspect for this group the arguments are obvious, so I will not go down that road.  Essentially the impression I am getting is that production trumps safety.  I tried a different approach and suggested removing the "break areas" from the hallway and restricting food and drink for adjacent offices - make it all "lab space."  Of course that would tank employee morale and here morale trumps safety too apparently.


Of course gloves is only one aspect of this fight.  I had initially said PPE, but restricting lab coats caused an even larger firestorm.  I come from a background in education (I used to work for colleges and universities) and I thought public health would be more supportive of safety, but I had an easier time with seasoned PhDs and 18-year-old freshmen than I am having with these public health folks.


You always have to pick your battles and maybe I picked the wrong one.  We have gas bottle storage issues, respirator issues, waste issues, etc. that I am dealing with, but this one just feels like I ran into a brick wall.  Am I off base here?  The microbiology labs, chemistry labs, and radiation labs all oppose the glove rule.


I would like some feedback before taking the next steps.  The next step is to call Labor and Industries (Washington state OSHA) for a consultation.  Washington state, if you are not familiar, has a wonderful consultation service through our Safety and Health Department that is 100% no fault and separate from the enforcement arm.  If they say management is right and these rules aren't necessary then I will move on.  If they go the other way then that will force management's hand...or will it?


So ends my tale - or maybe rant.  Thank you for reading and for any experience and knowledge you can offer.




Mark Turner

Safety Officer

Department of Health

Public Health Lab

1610 NE 150th St.

Shoreline, WA 98155

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Jeff Lewin

Chemical Safety Officer

Compliance, Integrity, and Safety

Environmental Health and Safety

Michigan Technological University

Houghton, MI 49931


O 906-487.3153

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