How to Properly Remove Disposable Gloves
I know what you’re thinking “these guys are really reaching for stuff to write about.” But, believe it or not, there is a science behind how to properly remove disposable gloves.
Donning disposable gloves takes a bit of care. The biggest danger is stretching the material too much. But taking your gloves off — also called ‘doffing’ — is a vital part of keeping you safe.
This blog looks at the proper way to put on and remove disposable gloves.
How to Remove Disposable Gloves the Right Way:
It’s probably a smart idea to practice doffing disposable gloves that aren’t contaminated. That way, if it takes a few tries to get it right, you won’t have to worry about what your bare skin may have come into contact with. Here is the step-by-step method:
- Pinch the outside of the glove about an inch or two down from the top edge inside the wrist.
- Peel downwards, away from the wrist, turning the glove inside out
- Pull the glove away until it’s removed from the hand. Hold the inside-out glove with the gloved hand.
- With your gloveless hand, slide your fingers under the wrist of the glove, do not touch the outside surface of the glove.
- Repeat step 3. Peel downwards, away from the wrist, turning the glove inside out.
- Continue pulling the glove down and over the first glove. This ensures that both gloves are inside out, one glove enveloped inside the other, with no contaminants on the bare hands.
- Dispose of the gloves in a proper bin– this may differ depending on company policies.
Medical Grade and Industrial Grade Gloves:
The two most common grades of disposable gloves is medical and industrial. The end-goal, regardless of the type of glove, is to protect your skin from contact with dangerous substances. It might be biohazard, chemical or both.
Maybe you work in a pharmacy, and handling tablets or mixing liquid medications could put you at risk of absorbing them through the skin. Maybe you work as a caregiver and need protection against infection or medications. Or, maybe you handle chemicals for work. In any of these respects, gloves protect you on the job, and they also prevent you from carrying hazards away from the job.
But another function of disposable gloves is at least partial containment of the hazardous substance as the gloves are being removed, and afterwards once they’re in a bin. Think of them as a nifty protective device that transforms into a handy containment device, as long as you use the right doffing technique.
Why Donning and Doffing are So Darned Important:
The skin is your body’s largest organ. It protects your organs and acts as a barrier that guards against micro-organisms and chemicals.
But as protective as skin is, it needs protection, too. That’s because while skin is working hard to keep contaminants out, some actually absorb through unless you’re wearing PPE. North Carolina State University says that there are a lot of chemicals that pose an absorption risk.
Then there’s the risk of cross contamination or carrying a contaminant elsewhere. Even if you were wearing gloves while working with the contaminant, if you remove disposable gloves incorrectly, it can deposit the very same hazard back onto the skin that you thought you’d protected.
Properly Removing a Glove Takes Practice:
Doffing disposable gloves isn’t exactly a natural action. At every turn, you risk spreading a contaminant to your bare skin or the surfaces around you. Think about how easy it is to spread a hazardous substance through gestures that you rarely think about, such as touching your face or brushing hair from your forehead. That’s how easy it is to spread a contaminant; for this reason, it’s all about being mindful of what you touch, and where.
If you tuck a gloved finger into the cuff of a disposable glove in order to pull it off, you’ll contaminate the skin inside that glove. And, if you tug at the fingertips, you’ll risk ripping the glove (or flinging it across the room), and then you’re right back to the contamination problem again.
The right technique takes a little finesse. But, once you’ve got it, you’ll see why other methods just don’t work, and why they could put you and others at risk. All that it takes is a misstep and you could contaminate the doorknob, your keys, the steering wheel of your vehicle, your clothing, and even your family at home.
Watch this video by UCLA’s Office of Environment, Health and Safety for a demonstration:
If you watched the video closely, you probably noticed that UCLA recommends a second or alternative method for doffing gloves in a safe manner. They call it the “double fold,” and it might be easier for you than the more common method. Whatever you do, be sure to remove disposable gloves the way that your company requires.
Who would have thought that removing a pair of gloves would be just as important as putting them on in the first place? It is, and it affects you and everyone around you.
Take some time to learn the technique. It’s not difficult once you know what you’re doing. In fact, once you think about how important it is, the whole process will become second nature in no time.
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