Spring 2011

No Glove Outside the Laboratory

Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn when handling hazardous materials. Proper glove selection provides protection from absorption of particular hazards in the lab such as chemical, biological, and radiological materials through the dermal layers of the hands.

While glove use is essential inside the laboratory, they are not to be worn outside of the lab. All PPE should be left inside the lab when exiting, as described in the lab safety handbook. The only exception to this rule applies when transporting hazardous materials. Outside of the lab, one hand must be ungloved to open doors and push elevator buttons while the other gloved hand is used to hold the transportation device containing the hazardous material.

Exiting the lab with gloves puts everyone outside the lab at risk. Your gloves (which may be contaminated without your recognition) are touching all common areas that are used by the public daily. Some of these most common items include door handles/knobs and elevator buttons.

When removing your gloves please remember the proper glove removal technique.

  1. Pinch one glove at the wrist level, without touching the skin of the forearm, and peel away turning the glove inside out.
  2. Hold the removed glove in the gloved hand and slide the fingers of the ungloved hand inside between the glove and the wrist.
  3. Remove the second glove by rolling it down the hand and fold into the first glove then appropriately discard the used glove.

Never touch the outside of a used glove with any part of your skin.

After glove removal, hands must always be thoroughly washed before leaving the lab. Don't simply perform a quick wash and rinse of your hands when you are ready to exit the laboratory. A thorough hand washing includes washing the backs of the hands, the wrists and between the fingers with soap for 20-30 seconds followed by a rinse. Gloves act as a barrier to prevent skin contact, but they should not be considered 100% effective, especially when gloves are used inappropriately for applications other than what are recommended for the glove material, so wash those hands.

For assistance with proper glove selection please refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the chemicals you will be working with. You may also refer to the company website that manufactures the gloves that your lab uses for a glove selection guide or you can type in "glove selection chart" into an internet search engine such as Google and you can pull up quick glove selection reference guides by different glove manufacturers.

Please protect yourself and others by following these simple instructions.