Hand Sanitizer is an important part of killing germs, but it can also be a fire hazard. Here are some tips to keep your worksite safe while killing germs.
With the ongoing concern over COVID-19 at job sites around the world, it’s become extremely important for workers to maintain the highest level of hygiene to stay safe and healthy. Unsurprisingly, these precautions have also led to an increased use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, due to its effectiveness and relative ease of access as an over-the-counter product.
Over the last five years, the hand sanitizer manufacturing industry has seen healthy growth, rising an annualized 3.9% from 2015-2020. But looking at the 2020 numbers alone, that increase is even more pronounced. So far this year, the industry is reporting a 16.6% growth in revenue, largely due to heightened demand as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
But with this spike in consumption, there are important safety concerns to consider, especially at outdoor worksites during the summer months.
According to experts, a small amount of hand sanitizer, if ignited, can lead to personal injury or property damage.
“Most hand sanitizer products contain a high volume of alcohol, which is the reason for hand sanitizer concerns,” Keven Moore told the Northern Kentucky Tribune. “Alcohol-based hand sanitizers…have a flashpoint of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. [They also] contain ethyl alcohol, which readily evaporates at room temperature into an ignitable vapor and is therefore considered a flammable liquid.”
Considering the potential risks to workforce safety, we must be prepared to respond effectively.
Here are 6 tips to follow to avoid injury while using hand sanitizers:
- When using the alcohol-based hand gel sanitizers, ensure the gel is given suitable time to fully dry/evaporate.
- Avoid touching any surface until the gel has fully dried. Any form of ignition source has the potential to cause an almost invisible flame which could cause burns.
- Keep hand sanitizer dispensers away from any potential sources of ignition such as gas cylinders, stoves or electrical switches.
- Do not leave hand sanitizer in vehicles for extended periods of time.
- If unsure about using the alcohol-based sanitizers, washing hands with hot, soapy water has the same effect as the hand gel.
- In case of spillage, immediately remove all sources of ignition, ventilate the area, and dilute the spilled product with water. The spillage can be absorbed by using materials such as dry sand or sawdust and disposed of in a chemical waste container.
How to correctly apply hand sanitizers:
Here’s an easy acronym to remember how to properly apply hand sanitizer:
- T – Tips of fingers
- R – Rub your hands, palms, and dorsal part of your hand
- A – Adequate amount of hand sanitizer
- P – Proper time spent sanitizing (15-30 seconds)
- S – Spray in between fingers
Have questions? Reach out to HSE@rigup.com