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This Policy will summarise the measures to be taken to protect staff who may be sensitive to latex in the form of latex gloves:


A: INTRODUCTION:


1. Latex rubber is a durable, flexible material that affords a high degree of protection against many micro-organisms. It is a key component of PPE where barrier gloves must be worn.


2. Sensitisation to latex is becoming an increasing problem where Care Staff need to use protective gloves to carry out infection control procedures. Latex exposure can lead to irritation and allergic reactions. Also, powdered latex gloves can increase the risk of respiratory sensitisation and should not be used.


3. Latex falls under the C.O.S.H.H. Regulations (latest revision), and as such the Organisation is required to prevent or control the risk of latex sensitisation. The measures outlined in Part B of this Policy are designed to achieve this.


B: CONTROL MEASURES:

The following protective measures will be implemented within the Organization to reduce latex sensitivity to a manageable level:


1. Identifying risks to latex on a personal basis, and therefore when and when not to use latex gloves.


2. Arranging for medical / health checks for staff on a personal basis, and identifying the action needed in the event of an adverse reaction to latex..


3. Limiting exposure by not wearing gloves where there is no risk of infection; e.g. making beds (if not soiled), or when other types of glove will suffice; e.g. PVC gloves for washing up.


4. Ensuring that when gloves have to be worn as PPE, latex-free gloves are available as an alternative.


5. Implementing a glove purchasing policy which specifies latex-free material, or material with low levels of latex protein.


6. Washing hands after removing gloves. Barrier creams should NOT be used in conjunction with latex gloves as they may increase the penetration of allergens.


7. Ensuring that this Latex Sensitivity Policy is included in Staff Training programmes.


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