Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Hand Hygiene in Medical Facilities

The Importance of Using Appropriate Skin Care in a Hospital Setting

OSHA Standard number  1910.1030 Medical facilities

By: Richard Rich

The standard provides that when there is occupational exposure, the Hospital shall provide “appropriate personal protective equipment.” It also states that personal protective equipment will be considered “appropriate” only if it does not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials to pass through to or to reach the employee’s work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time which the protective equipment will be used.

it was brought to OSHA’s attention that significant deterioration of latex gloves was noted when exposed to petroleum-based lubricants like Lotions and Hand Creams. (See 56 Federal Register 64119, December 6, 1991.) Therefore, if latex gloves are used, employees shall not apply petroleum-based, including mineral oil based, skin care products. This information must also be transmitted to employees as part of their required training.

Medical Staff are bringing from home their own lotion moisturizers because of having to wash their hands throughout the day and use of alcohol sanitizers that strip the protective oils from their hands. Their hands after a while become raw and cracked, and they hurt when following the Hospital’s Infection Protocols. Wash your hands or use an alcohol sanitizer when entering a patient’s room and again when leaving the patients room.

Some Hospitals have switched to using Nitrile gloves which do not degrade from Mineral Oils like Latex Rubber, but the hands of the staff are still suffering from the amount of washing, alcohol sanitizers and the sweating within gloves harsh environment. So in order to save their hands from suffering from dermatitis they will bring into their medical environment their favorite hand moisturizer which 90 % are formulated with mineral oils and are highly fragranced.

Based on Human Nature Medical personal that hands hurt and sting while washing them or rubbing on an Alcohol Sanitizer would skip at times their hospital Infection Protocols. Medical Staff would go back to their Desks and use their own favorite hand moisturizer brought from home and hidden in their Desks. The problem with this is that their moisturizer does NOT kill Germs. The lotion is loaded with ingredients like Glycerin and Mineral Oils which attaches the Germs and Viruses to their hands and then spreads them throughout their workstation and possibly to their next patient or fellow worker.

The answer to this problem is to offer to the staff a Hand Cream that moisturizes their hands while killing 99% of Germs on contact! That has been tested for compatibility with other protective chemicals that the hospital has approve such as CHG, a hard surface cleaner and a particular brand of alcohol sanitizer.