Hand Hygiene Beyond Hand Washing

No matter what the industry, chances are that your company has employees that make a living using their hands. Our hands are the connection we make with everything in our everyday lives however; it is one key element that is most likely to be overlooked when it comes to employee health and safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 40 percent of industrial workers will suffer from occupational dermatitis at some point in their working lives. Poor hand hygiene will lead to increased illness and can result in:

  • Disruption cost and lost productivity through employee absence from work
  • Reduced employee efficiency through illness at work and lower morale
  • Damage to an organization’s reputation

For any organization, implementing and maintaining appropriate hand hygiene practices is a daily challenge. Employers and facility managers have a legal responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe working environment for their employees. Addressing hand hygiene is an important part of this. Leaving occupational skin disorders unaddressed in the workplace can cost an organization millions of dollars. In fact, with estimated costs including time away from work, reduced productivity and workers compensation claims, occupational skin disorders costs exceed $1 billion each year in the U.S.

Best Practices for Healthy Hands

Use Pre-Work Creams
Protective pre-work creams can be used under gloves or without gloves to help prevent skin irritation and maintain healthy skin for easier skin cleansing.

Wash Hands Properly and Often
Apply a small amount of hand cleanser to dry hands. Rub hands vigorously together for at least 20 seconds. Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of hands, wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails. Rinse well and then dry hands with a clean or disposable towel. Make sure to use a towel to turn off the faucet.

Use the Right Cleanser for the Job
There is an ongoing misconception that a hand cleanser’s performance is measured by its ability to clean hands aggressively. In actuality, most cleansers far surpass the user’s actual requirements. Make sure to embrace a product that takes into consideration the impact on the hands, yet is still powerful and effective for the job.

Choose Heavy-Duty Cleansers Without Harsh Abrasives
Grit is often added to a hand cleanser to help remove substances like oil, dirt and grime. However, there are a number of scrubbers such as pumice and sand that can cause micro-abrasions or tears in the skin. The goal is to have an effective cleansing without stripping or causing damage to the hands.

Opt for Solvent-Free Cleansers
Many industrial cleansers contain dangerous ingredients like petroleum distillates. Derivatives of crude oil, these solvents not only irritate hands but are absorbed through the skin and, over time, can lead to harmful levels of toxins in the body. Low-solvent and solvent-free cleansers are a safer option.

Keep Cleansers Accessible
The location of hand-cleansing products can help increase hand washing compliance. Place them where they are easy to find and see to enforce the importance of hand washing throughout the day.

Condition Hands After Washing
After cleansing hands, the skin can lose important oils and moisture. Apply an after-work conditioning cream to balance and replenish the moisture in the skin.

Use Gloves Where Required or Necessary
It’s not always practical or safe to use gloves when working. Nonetheless, gloves and other personal protective equipment should be used whenever possible to shield hands from harsh irritants and contaminants.

Report Skin Conditions Immediately
Make sure you and the employees in your care know that if skin problems occur, they should be reported and cared for right away to prevent further damage.


Your Guide to Choosing the Right Cleanser and Dispenser

Once your team learns more about prevention, pick the best-suited hand cleanser and dispensing system. Click here to view a quick reference guide that will keep your crew clean and compliant.


Hand Cleanser Types

The appropriate products should be available and accessible to workers where and when they are required. Creams should be located in key areas such as changing rooms, work area entrances, washrooms and hand washing stations.

Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick during flu season and throughout the year. It’s also a crucial step to prevent spreading germs from one person to another throughout the workplace and to ultimately creating a healthy and productive work environment.
To learn more about occupational dermatitis prevention and Deb Group’s complete line of skin cleansers, creams and dispensers, visit http://www.debgroup.com/us.


#repost from Deb Group, written by Andreas Klotz, to view the original article, click here.

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