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Statistical Analysis of Barrier Isolator/Glovebox Glove Failure

Author(s):  Park Young H, Pines E, Ofouku M, Cournoyer ME

Issue:  Jul/Aug 2007 - Hormone Replacement Therapy
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Abstract:  In response to new, stricter safety requirements set out by the federal government, compounding pharmacists are investigating applications and processes appropriate for their facilities. One application, currently used by many industries, was developed by Los Alamos National Laboratories for defense work. A barrier isolator or “glovebox” is a containment device that allows work within a sealed space while providing protection for people and the environment. Though knowledge of glovebox use and maintenance has grown, unplanned breaches (e.g., glove failures) remain a concern. Recognizing that effective maintenance procedures can minimize breaches, we analyzed data drawn from glove failure records of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Nuclear Materials Technology Division to evaluate current inventory strategy in light of actual performance of the various types of gloves. This report includes a description of the statistical methods employed. The results of our analysis pinpointed the most frequently occurring causes of glove failure and revealed a significant imbalance between the current glove replacement schedule and the rate of glove failures in a much shorter period. We concluded that, to minimize unplanned breaches, either the replacement period needs to be adjusted or causes of failure eliminated or reduced.

Related Keywords: Young H. Park, PhD, E. Pines, PhD, M. Ofouku, M.E. Cournoyer, PhD, barrier isolators, glovebox, glove failures, quality control, environmental controls, workplace safety

Related Categories: LEGAL, PEER-REVIEWED, QUALITY CONTROL, PROFESSIONAL ISSUES

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