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Preventing Skin Disorders on the Job

Gloves chronic irritant contact dermatitisDADEven with the proliferation of more environmentally preferred cleaning chemicals, the risk still exists for workers to be afflicted with skin disorders that are caused by exposure to chemical irritants.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, skin exposure to chemicals in the workplace is a significant problem in the US.  In fact, the number of cases and the rate of skin disease in the US exceeds recordable respiratory illnesses.  In 2010, 34,400 recordable skin diseases were far more than the 19,300 respiratory illnesses recorded.

The most common skin problem for cleaning professionals is contact irritant dermatitis.Symptoms may include stinging, pain, itching, blisters, rash, dead skin, scabs, scaling, fissures, redness, swelling, bumps, and watery discharge.

However, many studies indicate the absorption of chemicals through the skin can occur without being noticed by the worker.  This can lead to additional health problems and complications.

The hands are the most common sites of irritant contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis from repeated workplace exposure of the hands to soaps, cleansers, and solvents is the source of most occupational skin disorders

It is imperative that proper glove protection is provided for cleaning professionals to guard against skin disorders.  Luckily, today’s technology has created a number of glove options that are comfortable and allow for precise dexterity.

Additionally, OSHA provides standards for glove usage and hand protection for Building Cleaning and Maintenance Services (standard 29 CFR 1910).  These standards are:

1910.138(a)

General requirements. Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.

1910.138(b)
Selection. Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.

Not sure which gloves are right for your workers?  Give Banner Systems a call and we’ll steer you in the right direction!

> Visit OSHA’s Cleaning Industry Information Site

> Check out Banner’s line of protective gloves

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