What, No Gloves Needed in Blood Donation Centers?

person injecting syringe

Q: I am a phlebotomy instructor who always emphasizes adherence to wearing gloves when drawing blood. One of my students told me that he regularly donates blood and platelets at a blood bank that has a sign on the wall that states, "Gloves are not required when drawing blood. If you want your phlebotomist to wear them, you must request them." I have never heard of this. Is it correct?

A: OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens standard does make a glove-wearing exception for phlebotomists in volunteer blood donation centers. Sections (d)(3)(ix)(D)(1) to (4) explain that if an employer in a volunteer blood donation center judges that routine gloving for all phlebotomies is not necessary, then the employer shall periodically reevaluate this policy, make gloves available and not discourage the use of gloves by employees of the donation center, and provide gloves during training.

"Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens" explains: "Paragraph (d)(3)(ix)(D). The exemption regarding the use of gloves during phlebotomy procedures applies only to employees of volunteer donor blood collection centers, and does not apply to phlebotomy conducted in other settings such as plasmapheresis centers or hospitals."