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Stand-Up Training: Why Food Handlers Should Wear Gloves

Chef putting on gloves

Empower Employees Through Food Safety Training

Help reinforce good food safety practices in your establishment through stand-up meetings. Teaching your employees why they should wear gloves and how to wear them properly will go a long way toward keeping food safe.

Learning Objectives

You may choose to read these learning objectives with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

At the end of this training, employees will be able to:

  • Recognize the risks associated with bare-hand contact
  • Change gloves safely
  • Recognize when they need to change their gloves
  • Evaluate their own glove use habits

The Facts

You may choose to read these facts with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

  • Even when washed properly, bare hands may carry many dangerous pathogens.
  • Touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands is one of the main ways that foodborne illnesses spread through the fecal-oral route.
  • Wearing gloves can reduce the risk of contaminating food, but only when they are worn and changed properly.
  • Gloves must be changed at least every four hours, when returning to work after a break, and when switching tasks.
  • Glove use alone cannot stop the spread of pathogens. Food workers must also wash their hands.
  • Gloves are not magic! They can become contaminated just like hands can. Whenever this happens, employees should wash their hands and change their gloves.

Training Activities

Choose the activities that will be most beneficial for your employees. Modify them as needed to fit the training needs of your establishment.

Explain It to Me

Discuss: How would you explain the process of changing gloves to someone who had never done it before?

Demonstrate: As employees start to give directions, follow them exactly—even if it means making a mistake. Encourage employees to chime in to make the explanation more precise and correct.

Reinforce: Ask for a volunteer to follow the more precise directions. These directions should include correctly removing their gloves, washing their hands, and putting on a new pair. Give corrective feedback if any steps are rushed or incorrect.

Contamination Control

Watch: Glove Changing video

Prepare: Ask for two volunteers to put on a new pair of gloves. Direct the volunteers to dirty their gloves with something that will leave visible residue, like ketchup or another condiment.

Instruct: Ask one employee to remove their gloves carefully and the other to remove their gloves hastily and forcefully. Be prepared for splatters on nearby surfaces. Ask the employees to show their hands to the training group. Point out any splatters from their glove removal.

Discuss: Why is careful glove removal important for safety?

The “When” of Changing Gloves

Ask: What are specific times and situations when you would need to change your gloves?

Record: Instead of discussing the question, have each employee think of times and situations on their own. If possible, give each employee a pen and paper to write down their ideas. If you are training a large group, divide them into smaller groups and ask each group to write their ideas on one paper.

Compare: Have the first employee or group start by reading their ideas out loud. If another employee or group had the same idea, they should cross it off their list. The employee or group who had the highest number of unique ideas wins.

Review: To close the activity, summarize that gloves must be changed at least every four hours, when returning to work after a break, and when switching tasks.

Following Up

Use these ideas to follow up with your employees and make sure they’re using gloves properly:

  1. Observe employees as they complete tasks during a normal shift. When needed, give constructive tips for improving their glove-changing habits. Praise positive behavior.
  2. Create a list of criteria by which your employees can rate their glove-use habits. Items on the list can include changing gloves before and after specific food preparation tasks, washing hands for at least 20 seconds, and changing gloves after using the cash register or phone.

Make sure your shift managers and supervisors can answer questions that other employees may have about glove use. Encourage employees to ask questions when they need help instead of guessing at the right answer. As needed, review this training with your employees.

Training Resources

The Glove Changing video shows a demonstration of changing gloves properly. It also shows incorrect glove changing and how it can cause contamination. View the Spanish version of this video: Video de Cómo Cambiarse Guantes.

Did you use this stand-up training in your establishment? We’d love to get your feedback! Take a minute to do our feedback survey.

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— Alyssa Erickson

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