5.5.3 Hand Protection

​Gloves must be worn when working with infectious agents, blood, body fluids and chemicals.  Gloves must be selected based on the hazards involved and the activity to be conducted.  Temperature resistant gloves must be worn when handling hot material or dry ice.  Delicate work requiring a high degree of precision dictates the use of thin-walled gloves.  See Table 3 which lists some general characteristics for commonly used gloves or contact EHS for assistance in selecting the appropriate gloves for protection from toxic or corrosive chemicals.

The lower sleeve or cuff of the laboratory garment should be overlapped by the glove. A long sleeved glove or disposable arm shield may be worn for further protection of the garment or the work.  When gloves are contaminated while working in a BSC they must be discarded into a waste container within the cabinet.  Hands must be washed and new gloves donned before continuing the work.

Disposable gloves are not to be washed or disinfected for re-use.  Disinfecting agents may cause deterioration of the glove material or compromise the protective qualities.  They must be changed as soon as possible when visibly soiled.  Replace gloves if a tear, puncture or similar defect is noticed.  Place used gloves in a plastic bag or container marked with a biohazard symbol and bearing the word BIOHAZARD.  All biohazardous material will be incinerated. 

Some people develop an allergy to the latex and/or powder in gloves they are using.  A variety of options are available that can alleviate allergic reactions.  Both powdered and powder-free hypo-allergenic latex gloves are available from suppliers.  

Utility gloves (rubber gloves), often used for housekeeping chores, are of a more substantial construction than surgical or examination gloves and are permitted to be decontaminated and reused.  They must be discarded if they are cracked, peeling, discolored, torn, punctured or exhibit other signs of deterioration.