Workplace hygiene measures cause serious skin problems, but workers unlikely to report
Hand washing is still considered a key measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces, but a study has highlighted the importance of skin surveillance, using hand cream and having access to good quality hand care products at work.
UK researchers surveyed more than 1,500 nurses and found that in the previous 12 months, 93 per cent experienced at least one skin problem that impacted their work and quality of life, with common complaints including dryness, itching and redness. Almost half said they suffered poor skin health, due to wearing gloves, excessive use of antibacterial hand gels and having an allergy.
These effects have the potential of discouraging compliance with hand hygiene practices, and more than half reported reducing or stopping using antibacterial gels and soap. Despite their prevalence, fewer than a quarter of participants disclosed their skin problems or sought help from their employer, even though employers are responsible for promoting and screening occupational skin health.
Read more: V Parsons, et al, A national survey of skin health in nursing personnel. [Abstract] Occupational Medicine, published online April 2022, doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqac012. Source: OHSAlert