Why Gloves Alone Are Not The Solution
While gloves are a step in the right direction towards sharps injury prevention, gloves alone are not enough. All to often, glove manufacturer advertisements can be very misleading. Their product photographs and promotional videos can lead viewers to believe their gloves will prevent a needle stick. However, upon closer inspection of these advertisements there is always a disclaimer stating that their products are only cut and puncture resistent and that they are not puncture proof. In fact, there is not one manufacturer of protective gloves that will guaranty their product to be puncture proof. Not one. Unfortunately, these misleading advertisements can lull a user into a false sense of security placing them at even greater risk of a potential accident. This is not in the best interest of the customer.
The majority of professionals understand that the most commonly used, inexpensive latex style gloves will do very little to prevent any potential sharps related injury. The latex variety glove is purely meant to shield the user from fluids coming in contact with their skin. Conversely, the more advance types of gloves are designs to provide a greater level of protection. Some of these more advanced glove models may even appear to be impervious to penetration by various sharps such as needles.
Unfortunately, what they appear to provide and what they actually grant may be two very different things. To date, there are not any glove manufacturers willing to provide a one hundred percent guaranty that users of their product will not be subjected to a needlestick. So while there advertisements for their products may imply a heightened measure of protection that many may construe as total protection, somewhere in the advertisement's context will be a disclaimer stating that they will not stand behind that product one hundred percent and users may experience a needlestick if they do not exercise proper caution.
Additionally, quite often as the level of protection increases for a style of glove, so does the thickness of the product. For any professional that requires a "sense of feel" while performing their job, it is obvious that the thicker the glove, the lower the sensitivity level. So while a certain type of glove may provide increased protection, it also reduces the users sense of feel.
Furthermore, for those concerned with their bottom line, cost is usually a major factor when investing in anything, especially protective equipment. Depending on what level of safety you may be seeking, the cost of gloves can have a very broad range. Simple latex are very inexpensive and may cost a few dollars for a box of one hundred disposable gloves. Whereas, when one looks into the much more protective types of gloves, they can range anywhere between fifty to two hundred dollars per pair. Depending on your budget, that may not be necessarily affordable. But responsible employers and knowledgeable employees know that one cannot place a price tag of personal safety. Still, more often than not, budgetary constraints tend to trump individual needs.
Moreover, with regards to the cost of these more protective gloves, those purchasing such items must keep in mind that their purchase may not be a one time buy. In the event that a glove is stuck by a contaminated object like a needle, that glove will then need to be properly disposed and replaced. Over time this can prove to be very costly and cause those with limited budgets great concern.
That all being said, gloves are still a positive beginning to improving individual safety. As mentioned previously, any step in the right direction is a good step. Users of these products simply need to understand that just because these products have helped to increase their level of protection, it does not mean they are completely safe by any stretch of the imagination.
So, what else may be done? First and foremost, whatever protective equipment one may have at their disposal should be employed whenever possible. Always assume there is a risk. As the great Albert Einstein once said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Also, if at all possible, incorporate safety gear that provides critical "stand-off distance." Stand-off distance is the space between the user and whatever they may come into contact. A great example of a tool that offers stand-off distance and that was designed specifically to prevent accidental sharps injuries is the Ampel Probe hand held safety tool from Protective Outfitters, Inc. This simple, yet revolutionary device, when used in conjunction with proper technique, has been proven to reduce and in some cases even eliminate accidental sharps injuries. For more information on how the Ampel Probe from Protective Outfitters, Inc. may benefit you, call (772) 242-3345 or visit online at www.protectiveoutfitters.com.
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