Double Gloving during Surgery to Reduce Healthcare Worker Injury

Monday, 13 July 2009: 3:05 PM

Denise Korniewicz, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
Maher M. El-Masri, RN, PhD
Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada

Learning Objective 1: discuss the importance of double gloving to prevent healthcare worker injury.

Learning Objective 2: describe the methods used in the study to document the effectiveness of double gloving.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of using double surgical gloves during surgery to reduce needle stick injuries and perforation of gloves in direct contact to the skin and determine injury risks to HCWs.

Background:  Needlestick/sharp injuries account for over 75% of the traumatic injuries among Health Care Workers (HCWs) in hospital settings (OSHA 2001). Surgical personnel obtain needlestick/sharp injuries in the surgical field (33.4%), at the surgical site (25.1%) and 59.7% of the time injuries occur with the non-dominant hand (Jagger, et al., 1998). 

Methods: Five hundred HCWs participated in the study.  Demographic data included age, sex, surgical experience, role, employee health information related to needlestick/sharp injury, treatment, and the numbers of needlestick/sharp injuries reported by surgical staff. Data collection forms were used to collect the following: 1) surgical episode event form, 2) surgical instrument rating scale, 3) employee needlestick/sharp compliance form, 4) glove data collection form and 5) glove laboratory data collection forms.

Results: When double gloving was used, visible defects were observed in 100 (1.1%) outer gloves. No defects were observed in their counterpart inner gloves. Water leaks happened in 430 (5%) outer gloves when no leak was detected in their inner gloves. Of all green-indicator gloves used, 81% (n = 4588) were within the context of double gloving. Our data suggested that the mean surgical procedure time was significantly longer (t = -9.76; p <.001) when water leaks occurred as compared to data when water leaks did not occur (M = 3:09 ± SD 1:59 hours and 2:33 ± SD 1:51 hours, respectively).
Conclusion: Water leaks and visible defects are less likely in the inner gloves than the outer gloves; double gloving provides extra protection to HCWs. The risk for glove defect (measured by water leak) increased as procedure time increased.