Ask the expert: Limiting glove use in home healthcare

By: September 2nd, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: In home healthcare who is responsible for purchasing gloves–employer, employee or patient? If the employer, can the employer put a limit on amount of gloves per month?

A: If you are the employee of a home healthcare agency, as opposed to an independent contractor, and glove use is considered personal protective equipment (PPE), then the employer must pay for the gloves. The employer can set restrictions if there is documented abuse or misuse of PPE, and even require the employee to repair or replace abused or misused PPE.

If you are using gloves in accordance with your employer’s exposure control plan, then employees do not have to supply them. And setting a limit on glove use that is inadequate to protect employees could be a serious OSHA violation for employer.

See the documents: Examples of “PPE for which Employer Payment Is Required,” “Examples of PPE for which Employer Payment Is Not Required,” and “Home Healthcare Worker Safety Checklist” on the Tools page under the PPE heading.

Have you found either undue restrictions on PPE by employers, or abuse and misuse of PPE by workers to be common problems in home healthcare? Let us know in the comment section below.

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We are currently using a home health care agency and was told that if one of their employees does not have a mask or gloves that we have to supply these items. According to the above article written in 2011, it is the agency’s responsibility to supply mask and gloves to their aides. Does this still apply today? What are the new rules.

Thank you for your fast response


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