Ask the expert: Gloves for injections

By: January 12th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: In researching OSHA guidelines, I found that wearing gloves during an injection is not required. Any thoughts on this? I would like to make wearing gloves a requirement in my facility.

A: Wearing gloves may be prudent, but not required by OSHA.

“Gloves are usually not necessary when administering intramuscular or subcutaneous injections as long as bleeding that could result in hand contact with blood or OPIM is not anticipated, according to Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens.

Employers may have exposure control plans that go above the minimum requirements for the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, so if you decide to require gloves for all injections, be sure to specify the policy in the exposure control plan.


I agree with the author of the question, that gloves should be required and worn for injections. The wording “usually not necessary…if contact with blood or OPIM is not anticipated” contradicts the preparatory nature of PPE. How does anyone really know when they might be exposed? An injection punctures the skin, blood and OPIM leaks out and then the site has to be covered with at least a gauze or cotton ball. Yes, it’s possible to do without actually touching fluid, but why take the chance?

I disagree with the author of the question, that gloves be worn for injections. As a nurse with 30+ years experience and an employee health coordinator that gives Influenza vaccines annually I can speak from experience. Every year I give approximately 200 vaccines, in 2 days, and have never had exposure to blood. My patients hold the gauze and apply it if blood appears. Gloves hinder my injection performance and I use a safety needle that retracts upon use. Thus safe measures to reduce risks are in place. Look at the training and experience of the nurse doing injections, look at occurrence of needle sticks, and let individuals make the decision for PPE.

I agree with Trish, I do not think gloves for IM injections need to be worn. I too have a vast amount of experience and have never been exposed. I have never had a needle stick. Using good technique and the protective equipment should be enough.

I too have to agree that gloves should not be required. Especially when doing mass immunizations, because then I would have more concern about hand hygiene between vaccines. It is difficult to remove gloves, clean hands, and don another pair quickly. When doing employee flu vaccines, we keep alcohol hand sanitizer with us, and we have the employee hold a cotton ball or gauze pad over the injection site until we apply a bandaid. I have never had an exposure to blood this way.

By Bruce Cunha on January 18th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I give thousands of flu injections a year and have a number of patients that bleed after the injection. If you have the patient apply pressure with gause, the potential for exposure to blood is very low. But if you are applying the gause to the bleeding, you are going to get blood on you. Actually, it is my employees that make it more difficult to not use gloves. If I don;t they are constantly asking “Don’t you need to be wearing gloves” So, I wear gloves.

Each facility must complete a Hazard Assessment Certification for Personal Protective Equipment under the OSHA PPE Standard 1910.132. If the practice decides according to the assessment not to require gloves, they may still have them available if the employee wants them. The practice must complete the certification and make their decision about what must be worn at a minimum.

By Warren Piece on January 16th, 2013 at 8:15 pm

It’s not just the person who is giving the vaccine that needs to be considered. A nurse who doesn’t notice even a tiny amount of blood on his/her finger can easily transmit HepB if thy do not at least wash their hands thoroughly between ‘patients’.

By Kimberly Gramling on September 29th, 2015 at 11:51 am

If I were the nurse giving the injections, I would USE gloves. One microscopic drop of dried blood can transmit Hep B for a solid week. Hep C for 4 solid days, dried blood, microscopic amount. Nurse that says she does not get exposed to blood when giving injections without gloves is not truthful. Someone out of 200 people is going to be on an aspirin regimen or very nervous and bleed profusely no matter how you give your injection. Why would you take that risk?

Two words Best Practice. Anyone who says that gloves “hinder they’re injection performance” clearly needs more training on giving injections with gloves on.

I cant believe a nurse for 30 years has hardtime wearing gloves.
What about the many people you tourch has staph on their skin and you are transfering it to another. When you use gloves you take them off after each person if you dont then you need to wash your hands so which is quicker and safer. Please wear gloves.

By Beverly Sain on October 3rd, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Is the nurse required to wash hands or sanitize hands between each patient if not wearing gloves ?

I believe wearing gloves when giving shots should be worn when giving shots of any kind. you don’t know if the patient has a skin disease that you can get by touch, also I believe that gloves should be worn at all times with any shots. I have in the medial field 27 years and believe and I have always wore gloves, till my new position in a speciality office and they don’t believe that it is necessary.. but I disagree with them al them time and get yelled at for putting on gloves

I have never worn gloves for admin injections. Been an RN and NP since 1976.
For any blood draws or IV starts, of course I do always wear gloves.

I wear gloves. Others are catty and make snark remarks ..and completely change my new trainees minds to not wear gloves. I train everyone with the truth of what CDC “suggests”…and that they have a choice. I agree, not every injection is perfectly clean. And you dont know that until you pull your needle out, blood spills down a patients arm and here I am with microscopic papercuts, dry cuticles (from all the hand washing anyway)… no thanks…I take the time to wash my hands after I remove my gloves. Even during flu clinic. Hepatitis has increased since 2004…and “main cause is sharing drug needles” ….that’s ridiculous. Wear your gloves people AND wash your hands.

It is important to note that OSHA and the CDC use scientific data based on research upon which best practice guidelines are created. They are the authority, and your opinion that gloves are required in 100% of vaccination scenarios is simply your belief system without basis in fact. This is how misinformation is spread, just as people over-prescribe antibiotics, for example, because they believe they know better than the research of the CDC. Hence, crisis in America. Patients are depending on you to know best practice guidelines and to follow them.


Leave a Comment


« | Home | »

Subscribe - Get blog updates via e-mail

  • test
  • HCPro Broadcast Events Calendar