In this blog post, we look at how gloves can benefit any virus mitigation system and who should be wearing gloves. The aim is to help employers navigate the many questions the coronavirus poses with regards best practices.
When should gloves be worn?
The WHO state that gloves have two primary purposes and should be worn either to reduce the risk of contaminating a worker's hands with blood or bodily fluids or to reduce the risk of germs spreading to the environment of a worker from a patient and vice versa.
There is no official government ruling about who must wear gloves, you must consider the above recommendation and decide whether wearing gloves would help to keep your employees and customers safe.
It is important to remember, however, that although there are multiple studies that confirm gloves prevent their wearers' hands from being contaminated by pathogens, gloves do not provide complete protection against hand contamination.
How to wear gloves
If you decide wearing gloves is the right decision for your employees, you must ensure they wear gloves safely. For example, employees must be shown how to remove gloves safely and be given gloves that are the correct size for their hands.
It is important all employees are aware that gloves are not a substitute for handwashing. Disposable gloves should never be re-used. When an employee's environment changes, such as they enter a new building or begin working with a new client, their gloves should be changed.
How to safely apply gloves
There is an art to applying gloves as well as removing them:
- Check the glove size is correct (see link to chart above)
- Remove any jewellery
- Wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water or hand sanitizer
- As you carefully remove gloves from their packaging look for any tears
- Pull the gloves onto your hands ensuring they fit securely and there are no holes or damage present on the gloves - start with your dominant hand and ease the gloves into place gently to fit between fingers
- It is a good idea to wash gloved hands again or apply hand sanitizer to gloves
Key points to note:
- Never blow into the gloves to inflate them
- Ensure that you have the right thickness of gloves for the task in hand - some are more resistant to puncturing and others are thinner and designed for maximum dexterity
- It is possible that employees could have a latex allergy, so opt for nitrile or vinyl equivalents
Here to help
If you would like to learn more about virus mitigation systems and how to keep your employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, please download our get ready for work guide.