Ask the expert—Gloves and flu shots

By: December 19th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Does OSHA require healthcare workers to wear gloves when giving flu shots?

A:  Gloves are not required when giving a flu shot as long as hand contact with blood is not reasonably anticipated, according to “Most frequently asked questions concerning the bloodborne pathogens standard.”

There is nothing, however, preventing you from requiring gloves through your exposure control plan, and that is probably not a bad idea.


By Jeff Wesley on April 8th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

We require gloves for phlebotomy, of course, but what about finger-stick protimes and glucose levels when retractable sharps devices are used? and what about lab coats?

By David LaHoda on April 8th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Regular finger sticks would require gloves as it would meet, in my opinion, OSHA’s definition of occupational exposure:
“Occupational Exposure means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.”

You might want to consult OSHA’s interpretation letter “The wearing of gloves during routine vena punctures,” which references finger sticks, albeit in a oblique way. Also, check Managing PPE for more advice on both lab coats and gloves.

I’m curious about other facilities. Do you require gloves and lab coat, or other PPE for finger sticks?

By Warren Piece on January 16th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

OSHA’s decision to not require gloves for vaccinations is, in my opinion, based more on convenience for the institution than being based on safety. Imagine if a healthcare worker was required to wear gloves? Imagine the vast number of glove changes, washing of hands etc… The rule is a joke and should be changed.


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