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Skin care at work: right product for the right job

Safety Groups UK esimates that there are approximately 40,000 new diagnoses of work-related skin disease each year. But even that is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg.

As awareness of occupational health risks rises, particularly with an ageing and more ethnically diverse workforce, skin care is recognised as an increasingly important issue. Skin damage, dermatitis, burns, and even cancers can be caused by the skin coming into frequent and prolonged contact with chemicals, solvents, water, natural substances, such as food ingredients, and the sun.

The effects can be painful leading to absence from work and loss of productivity.

The majority of work-related skin disease cases, however, are preventable by adopting simple steps to manage risks and procuring the right products, along with applying straight-forward exposure reduction methods.

ITS IN YOUR HANDS is a UK-wide initiative launched by the Health and Safety Executive, the British Safety Industry Federation, Safety Groups UK, the British Occupational Hygiene Society, the Institute of Occupational Medicine and the TUC back in 2006 and it has been updated regularly because of its importance.

It also offers excellent advice on the use of hazardous substances, who’s at risk and the precautions to take. Suffice to say, every workplace is different and the solution for each type and size of business should be tailored accordingly.

An assessment of use is a first key step along with the nature of the business. What hygiene regulations are in force? Are alcohol base products an issue? How important is comfort and moisturisation?

For some organisations the dispensing system can be extremely important, if workers are moving from one room to another and there are great products available that are integrated with door handles or wall mounted. Equally, the choice of protective gloves can make a huge difference and their purpose should be discussed with a procurement specialist before any decision in made. Their size, type, material and storage must be correct to be effective.

To get advice about the range of hand cleansers, sanitisers and protective gloves that we can supply, contact sales@guthriegroup.co.uk