Robert,
tongs for tray development is, IMO, not a good idea. The film emulsion will become so delecate that you'll really need a "hands on" approach. When doing the film shuffle, I use my right hand to gently lift the top sheets (to prevent any corners from creating scratches) and with my left hand, bring the bottom sheet out and move it t o the top of the stack. I use surgical gloves with a nice snug (but not too tight) fit and this allows me to move the film gently about and prevents my fingers from turning brown.
I remember my first split D23 development. I used no gloves (with developers like the T-Max developer, which I had previously used, your fingers didn't stain)
and my fingers were stained brown you many days. Among photographers, no big deal, but go out to dinner with your girlfriend, and suddenly your figuring out ways to hide your hands.