This week (May 5-11) is North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, and WORX is thrilled to be a part of our distributors’ and customers’ plans to increase safety in the workplace.
Sure, a hand cleaner isn’t usually the first thing people consider when reviewing employee health and safety, but what other item in the workplace is used by every single employee, multiple times per day, no matter what their role is?
PPE, MSDS, TDG, and first aid training are all high on the list for this week at many companies. There are any number of pieces of equipment, standards, and goals to refresh employee awareness available. We’ll leave that to the experts in those areas.
We’ll focus on what we know: your hands. And we know your hands, maybe even a little better than you know them yourself.
For instance, we know that your hands have to go from holding a greasy wrench to holding a sandwich in as little time as possible when lunchtime rolls around, preferably without leaving grease or the strong scent of a hand cleaner in the bread. We know your hands get stubborn dirt, grease, grime, carbon dust, and foul odours practically embedded in every crease and pore. We know your hands will hold your children in the morning, then come in contact with any number of harsh solvents and staining contaminants throughout the day, then hold your children in the evening when you get home.
We know your hands crack and sometimes bleed – especially in the winter if you are lucky enough to live in a cooler climate, as we are. We know that sometimes it seems like your hands will never be clean again, no matter how many times you scrub them at the sink.
How do we know all that? Because you’ve told us, through the statistics on occupational dermatitis, through the “common complaints and ailments” sections of industry forums, and through your preference for hand-restoring products.
Your standard industrial hand cleaner falls into one of two categories: harsh chemicals, or damaging grit.
Harsh Chemicals: These hand cleaners are extremely effective at removing whatever might be on your hands. Unfortunately, that includes your skin. Cleaners that use harsh chemicals to get rid of contaminants can actually dry out your skin (potentially leading to or exacerbating occupational dermatitis), but they also may cause more severe damage by being absorbed through your skin into your bloodstream. That’s hardly a way to promote safety and wellness at work.
Damaging Grit: Alright, you work with some heavy duty contaminants. They’re difficult to get off your hands, and you are ready to use anything to get your hands feeling clean again. The problem with most “gritty” industrial hand cleaners is that the grit can actually take off a layer of your skin. Sands and pumices often work through scraping off a bit of your skin to remove the dirts. One hand wash with this might not be an issue, but when you wash your hands six to seven times per day, the damage keeps adding up. Worse, you could be using a product that uses walnut shells or another nut or legume product as a grit. Even if you are not allergic, there may be enough residue left on your hands to cause a reaction in someone else. Do you ask everyone you might come into contact with if they have an allergy?
So now you look at your hands, and you think: “Well, if I cut down on the amount of times I wash my hands while at work, and make sure I’m not using a walnut-shell product, I should be okay.” That’s true, you’ll probably be okay.
But you won’t be great.
Of course, we know what would probably help. Using an industrial hand cleaner that doesn’t contain harsh solvents – but still cleans just as well, if not better. A product that uses no pumice, sands, or nut or legume shells as a grit, but still removes stubborn contaminants.
This is why our customers and distributors are including us in their workplace safety goals. Trying a hand cleaner that actually leaves hands feeling soft and healthier is one small step in the journey to a safer workplace. But you know how the saying goes: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
We can’t take you to the end of your journey, but we can support you in this single step.
(For more information about the WORX All-Natural Hand Cleaner, visit http://www.worx.ca)