Request for consideration: permit thin nitrile gloves during machine use

Dear all,
In preparation for DMS reopening over the next few months, I would like to propose a change to the safety rules prohibiting wearing of gloves in the machine shop.

Gloves may not be worn for any reason during machine set-up, while running, or tear-down; even nitrile or latex. Gloves may be worn during cleaning or maintenance or for material handling only.

We have a myriad of tools and tooling, much of which is challenging to clean.

I propose that the balance of risk has tipped towards wearing 3 mil nitrile gloves while operating machinery.

3 mil gloves tear quite easily. I can come up with a few situations in which they could get caught and a hand drawn into a machine, but they are low probability.

Perhaps we can discuss this prior to the next virtual meeting? I will attend unless professionally obligated elsewhere.

thank you,

1 Like

I believe the “single task” nature of gloves is not worth the risk.
Sanitizing the surfaces and tools you are using before and after use would be a better approach.


Gloves do not tear easy enough, these are high RPM machines.

And gloves are only good for cross-contamination considerations, they have no bearing on being more sanitary using machining tools. Washing hands between areas is more important.

We can talk about it next Saturday during the meeting if we want to. However, I am highly against any gloves. It poses an Immediate Life & Limb Safety issue. The consequences very severe, I personally do not want to see anyone seriously injured or killed.


Would you mind updating with your sanitizing products? I have a hard time thinking lysol all the time is good for steel but that’s what we were told to use

I vote no.

Even the thinnest disposable plastic “gloves” food service workers wear can pull a hand into rotating machinery when bunched up.


I fully agree with the need to avoid life and limb safety issues. This is even more important for ‘hobby’ spaces like DMS.

As many here are more experienced in these matters than I, hopefully they can point me to an authoritative source for safety rules in a machine shop relating to nitrile or other gloves intended to prevent biological contamination.

Except as pointed out gloves don’t do this. Gloves are only meant to prevent cross-contamination
So for example it makes sense for doctors who go from one patient, swap gloves, and start the next patient.
It does not make sense for the same person to be wearing gloves all day in this situation.


COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be transmitted through skin contact, and the virus might actually survive longer on a glove than on human skin (which is slightly acidic). Touching your eyes or nose with or without a glove is still a bad idea.

Gloves aren’t warranted in this situation. Masks are, however, a great idea.


I am with the no-gloves contingent.

For better virus avoidance, wash your hands before touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Masks help keep you mindful of that. And, if you have trouble remembering not to touch your face, gloves will not help you.


at the machine shop I work at which is strictly a CNC shop, we are wearing gloves and masks.
The machines are wiped down at the end of the day (single user machines) or when you get done with it with lysol or a bleach product with no ill effects. Most machines either have a layer of paint or things like handles are generally stainless steal so there is no more chance of rust than with wet hands.


@nicksilva how are you guys keeping your safety glasses from fogging up?

You know - it’s really about placement. If the mask is in front of the glass it tends to fog more than if behind the mask. Plus breathing normally thru the nose rather than a big exhale through the mouth is key. More than anything these masks ITCH!


Do not use a glass cleaner to clean your glasses. I use regular soap and water to clean my glasses. Apparently it leaves a different film on the glasses and they do not fog up anymore, even when wearing a mask. I always wear prescription safety glasses at all times.

Glass cleaner can also harm the special coatings you paid etc for.

Might be the same reason a spot of liquid detergent (or spit) in your scuba mask keeps it from fogging.

Maybe that’s it. The constant invisible fog of coolant is repelling the breath.

1 Like

I’m in the ‘no’ camp on gloves and not just because of the safety considerations. The fact of the matter is that gloves do absolutely nothing and in my experience, make people do stupid things. They think gloves are magical when in fact a gloved hand is just as filthy as a bare one AND people have no incentive to wash them. I’d rather use a machine touched by someone who is regularly handwashing than by someone who has worn the same pair of gloves all day.


I agree that gloves can prevent cross contamination. I also agree that wearing the same pair of gloves all day for all activities is not useful and possibly harmful if it leads to careless behavior.

(Correctly chosen) gloves also provide a barrier to chemical or biological exposure. Intact skin is decently good at protecting you. Unfortunately, small cuts are hard to notice. Gloves are also easy to remove as the first step in cleaning your hands. Protective gloves available in almost any lab, not just medical facilities.

My lab is now masked at all times we aren’t in a private office (which may well be a recently converted closet). We wear gloves in the common areas, mostly because lasers are not happy with cleaning solutions. It is something of a challenge to keep standard gloves intact while working with hand tools, screws, etc.

The protocols for wearing gloves usefully take some training, but more common sense in terms of ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ zones.

I agree entirely on the placement of the mask. A good fit around the nose and the mask extending under your glasses is key.

I have found that masks with 4 ties are easier to position properly than the ear loop masks (which really chafe your ears after a while).