The most common type of PPE used by medical couriers are protective gloves. Latex gloves can be attributed to allergic reactions, so many laboratories now use nitrile gloves, made from a different type of rubber.
Gloves protect the courier when there are open wounds, cuts, or abrasions on the hands.
Couriers need to wear gloves when handling specimens directly. This may not occur often, as couriers typically transport specimens that have already been bagged or packaged. Bagged specimens do not need to be handled using gloves. Couriers should not wear gloves when picking up specimens from a client (physician) office, and they should not be needed inside a vehicle unless a spill has occurred.
If gloves are needed, check them as you take them out of the box for rips or tears. Always report defective gloves to your supervisor. This information can then be reported to the purchasing department for re-imbursement or a possible change of product.
You need to wear gloves that fit like a second skin. Loose dangling glove finger tips may cause you to drop specimens and cause an accident.
If the gloves become contaminated with blood or body fluids – change them immediately – washing your hands between gloves. Remember, it only takes one drop or one virus!
Never wash your protective gloves.
Again, you will need gloves only if you handle specimens directly or if you touch contaminated surfaces (such as a computer or telephone) in the lab. If you remove specimens from the bag they were transported in- for instance if you need to barcode scan individual specimens - you will need to wear gloves.