Magazine article Corrections Forum

Keeping Safe in Close Contact

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Keeping Safe in Close Contact

Article excerpt

CORRECTIONS OFFICERS FACE A litany of threats on a daily basis. Protecting C. O. s from infections diseases, such as HIV, MRSA, hepatitis, tuberculosis and many others, is particularly challenging in a correctional facility environ- ment, where close contact with inmates is inevitable. The protec- tive gear that officers wear has gone beyond a ballistic or stab- resistant vest. Now when they suit up for their shift, they're including gloves, boots and other items that can help protect them from unknown threats. "Not knowing what you're coming into contact with is a big problem," states Shannon Bell, product manager for glove manufacturer Microflex. "You have no idea what you can be exposing yourself to."

Hand Protection

"Corrections officers need to be educated on the products they're using, and often times, they're not using medical-grade gloves," explains Bell. But at any time you could be faced with exposure to any number of infectious diseases. Bell stresses the need for C.O.s to wear protective gloves especially when conducting cell searches, moving inmates, or even just walking through the facility. To protect against infectious diseases, Microflex offers MidKnight examination gloves, which are black, powder-free and made of nitrile instead of latex. Bell explains that using a material like nitrile rather than latex makes the gloves stronger and more reliable. Though these gloves offer protection from blood-borne pathogens, they still allow wearers a firm grip and enhanced tactile sensitivity.

Also available from Microflex is the Cuff First glove dispensing system. The Cuff First clip or Cuff First holster attaches to a corrections officer's belt and holds a dispensing unit filled with 10 of the company's Supreno EC gloves, a thicker medical-grade glove. "Similar to a tissue box, the gloves always come out cuff first," Bell adds. "When you're dealing with a blood situation, you don't want any cross contamination, so it's best to grab gloves cuff first." The clip or holster can be easily replenished with a new dispensing, and Bell notes that this is much safer than stuffing gloves into a uniform and running the risk of not having gloves when you need them or not having an even number. Ideal for the corrections industry, the dispensing unit isn't metal so there's no need to remove it when walking through a metal detector. "Since it's plastic and see-through, it's everything they need a product to be," states Bell.

For protection beyond exam gloves, corrections officers may be interest- ed in gloves from Damascus Protective Gear. "Some facilities will provide latex gloves, but these only protect against blood-born pathogens," explains Jason Fisher, international sales manager. "Even with double gloving, you have no protection from sharps."

The company's Vanguard line of gloves offers the Hipora-branded liquid-proof membrane that protect against blood-borne pathogens. The Hipora membrane is both waterproof and breathable. The DVG800 model has a thin, black nylon tricot outer liner bonded to foam and features a wrist length elasticized cuff. Gloves in the Vanguard line address the OSHA Blood Borne Pathogens Standard (29CFR 1910.1030).

For corrections officers concerned with cut protection, Damascus offers gloves made with cut resistance materials like Kevlar, Spectra and Razornet. As Fisher explains, "It all depends on what your job inside the correctional facility is. If you're bringing inmates in and out of cells or breaking up fights, you'll need a glove that is cut resistant." The company has the DFK300 Frisker K leather gloves with Kevlar cut resistant protective liners and a gathered short cuff wrist. The DFS2000 Frisker S glove is made with a Spectra cut resistant protective liner and has an extended gathered wrist. The DFM3500 Frisker Max is a leather glove with Razornet high performance cut resistance liners, which is a Spectra blend, and offers 10 times the cut resistance than the regular Spectra liners. …

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