person washing their hands in the kitchenperson washing hands

The Importance of Proper Hand Washing

It can be easy to assume that simply using disposable gloves in the workplace is enough to prevent the contamination of food or spread of bacteria or illness. It is important to keep in mind that wearing gloves must be paired with hand washing in order to be effective in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria. Use this guide to find out when to wash hands and change gloves, and how often.

Food Service Locations

Workers should wash their hands before donning a pair of gloves, and this is especially important if they have been completing other tasks bare handed. Workers are also required to change gloves if they have been dealing with food items such as raw meat and fish, cleaning, and touching other potentially contaminated surfaces such as a phone or a glass they are drinking from. After removing gloves, workers are required to wash their hands again before donning another pair. This helps to ensure the removal of bacteria that may have seeped through the glove, or come in contact with bare skin if the glove had become torn during use.

Gloves in food service locations should be changed quite often, especially when working directly with food items. This will require frequent hand washing to prevent food contamination when moving between various food items such as meat and fruit or vegetables.

Medical/Healthcare Locations

Similar to food service locations, workers are required to wash their hands before donning gloves. Gloves should be removed after an examination or procedure or when workers are coming in contact with bodily fluids. After gloves are removed, workers should wash their hands before donning another pair and ensure medical gloves are not reused or shared among workers.

Gloves in medical facilities will also be changed relatively often as gloves must be changed after working with each patient. Gloves may also need to be changed multiple times with the same patient if nurses are moving between different types of examinations or touching potentially contaminated surfaces.

Proper Hand Washing Techniques

First, ensure that gloves have been properly “doffed” or removed and disposed of appropriately. Then, lather hands thoroughly with soap for about twenty seconds - don’t forget between your fingers - and dry with paper towels or air dryers. That’s all there is to it! Be aware that regular towels or rags may be used by other workers and become contaminated, and make sure that you are using clean water to ensure hand washing is safe and will be effective.

Use food service gloves and medical grade gloves - in vinyl, nitrile, and latex - to meet all of your food service and medical or healthcare location needs.