Background: Adverse reactions to natural rubber latex gloves are an important cause of workers' compensation claims among health care personnel. In an effort to reduce latex-related illness, our institution transitioned to powder-free latex gloves in 2001.
Objective: To examine the effect of this transition on the number of workers' compensation claims for latex-related illness.
Methods: A review of claims data from 1997 to 2005 was conducted.
Results: The incidence of claims for latex-related illness was significantly lower following the switch to powder-free gloves.
Conclusions: The switch to powder-free latex gloves was associated with a significant decrease in workers' compensation claims for latex-related illness. The cost of gloves increased but was partially offset by a decrease in workers' compensation payments and operating room expenses.