Physical distancing and good hygiene are the best defense against COVID-19 spread. They will often be more effective than wearing gloves.
Hands should be washed with soap and water, even though disposable gloves or multi-use gloves can still be used in certain situations (e.g., food handling, cleaning, gardening, and trades).
To reduce germ spread, you and your employees must wash their hands often for at least 20 secs with soap or water.
Gloves can spread germs if they aren’t used correctly. This could put you, your employees, and others in danger. Gloves can be contaminated with germs that can then spread to their hands and face. Gloves should not be used as a substitute for regular hand washing.
Replace gloves regularly. Multi-use gloves must be washed according to manufacturer instructions. Disposable gloves shouldn’t be re-used, and multi-use gloves shouldn’t be shared among workers.
You must be aware of the recommendations and guidelines regarding personal protective equipment (PPE), that apply nationwide and in your territory. These should be followed at work. These may include instructions about wearing gloves under certain circumstances.
To protect against COVID-19, who should wear gloves?
Consider whether washing your hands or using gloves is the best way to prevent germs from spreading in your workplace. Consider what workers are likely to touch, how long it will take, the potential for cross-contamination, and whether gloves would be practical. Workers may prefer to use soap and water to clean their hands or to wear gloves.
Not all gloves are suitable for every task. To determine which gloves are best for your workplace, a risk assessment must be done with the appropriate consultation. Also, see our information about consultation and risk assessments.
You must be up-to-date with the recommendations and directions regarding the wearing of PPE in your country and your territory. These should be followed at work. These may include instructions about wearing gloves in certain circumstances.
Wearing disposable gloves could pose new WHS hazards for you and your employees. Disposable gloves can cause skin irritation, contact dermatologists, or other sensitivities.
Gloves are sometimes used in some industries to protect against non-COVID-19 hazards. Consider whether this practice needs to be reviewed or modified in light of COVID-19. This will ensure that hygiene standards are maintained. Workers must adhere to good hygiene practices at all times, which includes hand washing, in every workplace.
You should ensure that the gloves you supply are appropriate for your business. To protect against exposure to biological hazards, gloves made from rubber, PVC, nitrile, or neoprene should be used.
Protecting patients and health workers from infection spread is part of the PPE that medical gloves are. Both the wearer as well as the patient are protected by medical gloves. Some gloves may not be medical grade. There are also disposable, non-sterile gloves available that are not of medical grade.
These medical gloves are:
- Non-sterile and sterile examination glove
- These gloves are for use with surgical gloves
- Gloves for chemotherapy.
Medical gloves are made from latex, vinyl, or synthetic polymer. Medical grade gloves should only be used in health care settings.
Do I have to wear gloves?
Gloves can be used as PPE depending on the type of work and the number of workers. In many cases, gloves are not necessary.
To determine which gloves are best for your workplace, you must conduct a risk assessment.
You should also keep current with the recommendations and directions regarding the wearing of PPE in your territory and nationally. These must be followed at work. These may include instructions about wearing gloves in certain circumstances.
You should ensure that the gloves you supply are suitable for the job. Not all gloves are suitable for every work environment. Medical gloves, for example, are made from natural rubber latex or synthetic materials (e.g. They are effective in protecting against exposure to ‘biological dangers’.
Wearing gloves can increase WHS risk. Wearing disposable gloves, for example, could lead to skin irritation, contact dermatologists, or other sensitivities among some workers.
Workers must be taught how to properly use gloves. To properly use gloves, you must have the proper facilities, including a handwashing area with soap, water, and paper towels, and a closed disposal bin. Below are instructions on how to properly put on and remove gloves.
You should make sure that your employees have good hygiene habits, including frequent hand washing.
How to put on and remove gloves
To prevent germs from spreading, ensure that your employees wear disposable gloves or multi-use gloves.
1. Before you start (and after you finish) a task, wash your hands with soap, water, or if it is not possible with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Before touching gloves, wash your hands.
- Try to touch only the glove’s top edge at your wrist when you put on the gloves.
2. Maintain good hygiene during the task. This includes not touching your face, coughing, or sneezing into your elbow. You should be careful what you touch, and make sure to change your gloves often.
- Every time you wash your hands or clean your hands, replace your gloves.
3. When you are done with the task, take a moment to reflect on what you have touched. Also, consider whether you could spread germs if you begin a new task. Although your work tasks might not be very varied, they could include touching different objects or attending to different customers or persons. You might consider whether a new pair of disposable gloves, hand washing, or hand sanitizer is the best way to tackle the next task.
4. Take off your gloves
- Remove the first glove by grasping at the wrist edge, but not touching the skin. Pull the glove downwards and turn the glove inside-out.
- Slide your fingers into the glove with the ungloved side.
- Dispose of disposable gloves if you have them. Refer to the below for more information.
- Multi-use gloves should be kept clean according to their manufacturer’s instructions and your workplace policy.
- Use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
How to get rid of gloves
Disposable gloves, unless they are contaminated, can be disposed of with general waste, preferably a closed container. A closed bin has a fitted lid.
If gloves have become contaminated, they should not be touched but disposed of in a sealed bin. It would be a good idea to have a bin that can be opened with only one hand or a foot pedal.
To ensure that the waste is double bagged, two bin liners should be placed in the bin for contaminated gloves. Double bagging reduces the risk of contamination for the person who is disposing of the waste.
Gloves could be deemed contaminated if they are:
- They have been worn by a visitor or symptomatic worker at the workplace.
- They have been worn by an intimate contact of a COVID case confirmed, or
- The wearer has touched potentially contaminated surfaces.
If a closed bin cannot be found, the gloves that are contaminated should be stored in a sealed bag. Double bagging is equivalent to using a sealed bag and one bin liner.
After removing your gloves, it is essential to practice good hand hygiene. After removing and disposing of your gloves, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.