Recently I bought some Arista Ortho Lith Film from Freestyle, the 4x5 sheets. I'm exposing these in camera -- either in my homemade large format camera, or cutting the sheets into 2.5 inch squares for medium format. What I'm finding (and confirming with my reading) is that it's very easy to scratch or otherwise damage this film during processing. I'm using trays and developing by inspection.

The rubber tip tongs I have seem to be the worst possible thing; when I saw the imprint from the rubber on one of my negatives, I knew what was going on. I thought I could use tweezers and handle the medium format negatives at the edges (they have a border) but that didn't go so well either. I would try plastic or rubber gloves, but I worry about cross contamination.

Any ideas? My workflow is a prewet/presoak, developer, water stop, fix, Photoflo. Is the film more easily damaged at one particular stage of the workflow?