It’s now about almost three weeks since I started asking questions about gloves (if you haven’t seen the other posts they are here and here). Departmental policy, with approval from the UCL Safety Office, is that gloves should only be worn if there is a recognized need, to be determined on a case-by-case basis and that the routine wearing of gloves is to be discouraged.
So I went into our teaching labs today to see what was going on and to talk to the students. Slightly to my surprise, multiple boxes of disposable gloves had been issued, and perhaps as a result, over half of the students in the lab were wearing them. Here are two photographs of students who were making organic-soluble nickel complexes.
I talked to them, and each one suggested that they probably wouldn’t have spilled as much had they been not been wearing gloves. I also noticed that half of the students I spoke to (three out of six) used their gloves to adjust their hair while we talked. Another wiped his faces on the sleeve of his lab coat. None of them were aware of it until I pointed it out to them.
You might argue that this is a training issue and that we should spend more time spotting when students have dirty gloves and when they scratch or run their gloves through their hair. I would argue that these students need to take more responsibility for their own safety.
We have now received several hundred pairs of reusable Anson Sol-Vex nitrile gloves (shop around as prices vary wildly). For some reason they haven’t been issued to students in our teaching labs. We’ll see what happens over the next few days.