5273.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 5:15 PM

Abstract #13950

Evaluation and selection of protective gloves for workers in healthcare

Catherine J. Galligan, MS and Margaret M. Quinn, ScD, CIH. Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-3386, shp@uml.edu

Across the healthcare industry, practices regarding medical glove selection vary widely and may be aimed at the individual employee level, the department level, or at the level of the entire hospital. Among healthcare workers, medical gloves are used as a personal protective barrier not only for bloodborne pathogens, but also for a wide variety of biological, chemical, and physical exposures. Therefore, selecting gloves warrants consideration of the full range of properties needed to minimize worker health risks. The objectives of this study were to: 1) review the current criteria used to evaluate glove materials and glove performance and 2) develop a systematic approach to select protective gloves. In addition to regulatory requirements and manufacturers' testing procedures, the approach incorporates input on glove performance by the healthcare workers who use the gloves. Methods used include: a review of FDA, and ASTM standards for medical gloves, a literature review of public health and economic topics related to glove use in healthcare, and personal and telephone interviews of health care workers and managers, hospital and union health and safety professionals, researchers investigating materials development and the health, safety and environmental aspects of glove use, government agencies, glove manufacturers and distributers, and latex allergy advocates. To aid the overall approach, practical tools including a "Glove Evaluation Worksheet" to be used in conjunction with a "Glove Selection Process" decision-making flowchart were developed for use by health and safety professionals in healthcare.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, one will be able to:

  1. Identify health care exposures that are pertinent to selection of medical gloves.
  2. Recognize common criteria for evaluating medical glove fitness-for-use as a protective barrier.
  3. Apply key considerations to match gloves with expected occupational exposures.
  4. Utilize a systematic approach to select medical gloves.

Keywords: Health Care Workers, Occupational Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA