Canadian Occupational Safety

October/November 2018

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 32 of 39

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 33 While it's true that safety is its own reward... we can't help celebrating. MSA Safety congratulates Canada's Safest Employers! Keep the right safety equipment..... 8 lost work time, workers' compensation and training a replacement worker, says Armand Coppotelli, senior manager, business development and technical training at Deb Group in Charlotte, N.C. Typically, it equates to about 24 lost work days for one case of contact der- matitis, he adds. If left untreated, contact derma- titis can result in a career change for the worker. 3 MOMENTS In order to ensure workers are taking good care of their hands, there is a best practice they should follow called the 3 Moments of Skin Care. Inspired by the World Health Organisation's My 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene for the health-care sector, the 3 Moments model was developed by an expert panel of eight international dermatol- ogists who drew upon personal clinical experience as well as an analysis of 75 occupational skin care studies. Essen- tially, it requires skin care before work, during work and after work. "While the statistics demonstrating the current extent of the problem give cause for concern, adoption of the 3 Moments standard makes it possible to reverse the trend of occupational skin disorders," says John English, a dermatologist at Circle Nottingham Hospital in the United Kingdom and a developer of the 3 Moments model. Before starting work where there is a risk of exposure to irritants, work- ers should apply a pre-work cream, often referred to as a barrier cream. These creams act as a supporting layer for the skin's defense mechanism and help the skin retain natural lipids and moisture. The creams also make hands easier to clean. There are even certain creams that help protect the skin in cold working conditions, strengthen the skin under gloves and help prevent excess sweat build-up inside gloves. According to the study in the Euro- pean journal, pre-work creams have been proven effective in preventing the onset of contact dermatitis and even improving skin condition in healthy subjects. They also reduce irritant access to the skin and help with the removal of oils, greases and resins. Barrier creams should not be used in replacement of work gloves. However, in some instances, gloves are prob- lematic, says Coppotelli, such as for anyone doing wet work or mechanics who need a certain amount of dexter- ity that gloves cannot provide — and a glove could get caught in machinery. Barrier creams might make sense in these situations, but they need to come with a lot of worker education around using a sufficient amount, applying it properly and re-applying often (every two to three hours). The study in the European journal suggests that the naming conven- tion may be problematic, as the term "barrier" might give workers a false sense of security. The study suggests that changing the terminology from barrier cream to pre-work cream might change workers' perceptions. "What happens when they are using a barrier cream is most of the patients think their skin will be very safe and they will do most of their work with- out being afraid to touch chemicals and substances," says Martinez Cabria- les. "It sends the wrong message." Coppotelli recommends choos- ing pre-work creams that are industry specific, rather than a generic barrier cream. There are creams on the market that are best suited for exposure to sol- vents, wet work and multi-component resins (sticky materials), for example. "It depends on the type of facility, the type of manufacturing and what hazards employees are exposed to," he says. "It would be like if you were going to put in a glove program, you just wouldn't pick one universal glove, you would base it on the type of exposures so that it's the best glove for that environment." It's important to choose a pre-work cream that does not affect an indus- trial process, cautions Coppotelli. For example, some of the consumer prod- ucts that can be purchased at the drug store contain silicone, also known as dimethicone, which can interfere with the curing of rubber parts and the bonding of paint to metal (caus- ing "fisheyes" in the final paint job), says Coppotelli. "A worker may bring something from home and unbeknownst to them or the employer, that could become a contaminant in the work process... And production may need to be shut down to allow for cleaning," he says. "You want to have a good way of standard- izing what is used in the workplace, so we know exactly what workers are put- ting on their hands so it doesn't affect the work process." During work, workers wash their hands regularly. Soap and water dries out the skin and depletes it of its natural oils. Plus, many workers use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that also dry out the skin, says Croutch. When selecting a cleanser, it's important to avoid those that have harsh ingredients that can cause damage to the skin's natural barrier, such as pumice and petroleum-based solvents, says Coppotelli. The mildest hand cleanser possible should be used to remove a specific contaminant. Bar soap is not recommended due to the risk of cross-contamination. The second moment in the 3 Moments model is to apply a con- ditioning cream to the hands after washing and drying. "It helps to moisturize the skin and repair any damage in the skin," says Croutch. "It prevents it from drying and cracking and splitting and it keeps the skin soft and supple." But if workers are returning to their previous tasks, their "second moment" would be re-applying the pre-work barrier cream. The third moment in the model is to apply a conditioning cream after work. This helps restore skin health for the following day by adding moisture back into the skin, replenishing the skin's oils and improving its strength. "During the work day, all the hand washing and friction and contact with industrial surfaces has removed the moisture from the skin… We want to add these ingredients back so that the natural barrier can start to regenerate and repair itself," says Coppotelli. "Even men use skin moisturizers these days." But before any cream is applied, workers should first check to make sure they did not develop any rashes or blisters when they remove their gloves, cautions Martinez Cabriales. If they did, the moisturizer may further irritate the skin. With any creams at any stage of the 3 Moments model, it's important that they are applied thoroughly with spe- cial attention to the spaces in between the fingers, the nail beds and the backs During the work day, all the hand washing and friction and contact with industrial surfaces has removed the moisture from the skin • We want to add these ingredients back so that the natural barrier can start to regenerate and repair itself •

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