Phil Vanes – The Critical Environment Expert

Phil Vanes – The Critical Environment Expert

You might call Phil an ‘old hand’ in the protective glove industry. With 33 years’ experience and 20 years in critical environment gloves, he has become the go-to authority in this specialist field.

After joining Polyco Healthline 14 years ago, he has continued to provide containment industries (life science, nuclear, pharmaceutical and medical) with bespoke protective solutions.

He specialises in offering advice on glove selection for glovebox units and isolators found in a cleanroom. Doing so, his role is twofold: to protect users from coming into contact with a dangerous material (eg, when handling radioactive materials), and to protect us ‘dirty humans’ from contaminating the material (eg, when handling drugs in their pure form).

Phil enjoys great satisfaction knowing that he’s an integral part of the process for pharmaceutical preparation. Thanks to his knowledge and advice, cleanroom technicians can work in comfort and confidence that they have correct hand protection for a task that will make real difference to thousands of people’s lives.

A self-professed problem solver, Phil loves to help customers in need of his expertise. From fixing a containment issue to advising on hand protection for new glovebox units.

So Phil, what questions are you asked most frequently?

Is this the right glove for the application?

What questions do you wish were asked more frequently?

As a salesman, of course I’d love to be asked whether a customer can buy more gloves!

But seriously, in the past, isolator units would come fitted with basic level gloves that may not be ideal for the task. And when there are so many procedures and environments that can negatively impact a glove’s effectiveness, I wish more customers would seek my advice to learn the best hand protection and how often it should be replaced to avoid containment failure.

What do you feel is the biggest problem within the controlled environment industry?

It’s a big problem when designers of a new glovebox or isolator leave the question of what gloves to use till last. By that point it’s often too late. Perhaps the holes which users’ arms must fit through are too small, or they might be far larger than any glove on the market can accommodate.

How do Polyco Healthline’s products and/or services address that problem?

Over the years, I’ve developed a number of contacts to ensure that glove sourcing and provision becomes part of new unit design conversations early on. We then do our best to specify that our glove products are written into the documentation for that unit, so that its use will always remain compliant.

What future development will have the greatest impact on your industry specialism? What will change?

We are increasingly asked to provide sterile (free from microorganisms) and particulately clean (free from dust particles) gloves directly. In the past, for this level of cleanliness in high classification cleanroom environments, the gloves would be subjected to gamma radiation by a third-party company after purchase. Now, customers want gloves already irradiated when they buy from us. It’s a new challenge which we’re working hard to deliver on.

Why are you proud to sell and represent Polyco Healthline products and services?

I feel we offer the very best expertise and advice to customers. When you’ve been working in the industry for as long as I have, there are few situations which are new.

What project are you most excited about at the moment?

I’m incredibly excited that a major pharmaceutical company which prepares anti-diabetic medication has decided to switch to containment units rather than a full-blown cleanroom. By using smaller units to manipulate the compound, workers won’t have to wear cumbersome cleanroom suits, but just rely on gloveboxes for their containment needs.

How are you able to provide the greatest value to Polyco Healthline customers?

I can readily answer any questions surrounding glove selection and material for use in cleanrooms or with container units. I know what works, what has been used in the past and can advise on staying fully compliant in various critical containment industries.