Wed. Aug 12th, 2020

HSSE WORLD

Health, Safety, Security and Environment

Safety Flash: Alcohol-based hand sanitizer warning

2 min read

Source: HeliOffshore Infoshare 2020-013

This report is in relation to a Company customer with an employee who used alcohol-based hand gel sanitizer, as per the current recommendations for COVID-19 personal hygiene requirements.
After application, but before the liquid sanitizer had fully evaporated and dried, the individual touched a metal surface where a build-up of the static created an ignition source and the sanitizer ignited, resulting in an almost invisible flame on both hands.
The individual managed to extinguish the flames but was left with first and second-degree burns

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers – burns

What went wrong?

Hand sanitizer gels contain concentrations of alcohol. Once the hand sanitizer is applied, individuals must make sure the gel has a suitable time to dry In the interest of safety, remember that alcohol vapors can ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as light switches or cigarette lighters.

Corrective actions and recommendations.

  • When using the alcohol-based hand gel sanitizers, ensure the gel is given a 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 the same issues as experienced by the individual.
  • If unsure about using the alcohol-based sanitizers, washing hands with hot soapy water have the same effect as the hand gel.

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