In the second in the series on hygiene, Tatjana Ahmed, Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai, talks about how to have a proper skin care regime at work.
Cleaning professionals are exposed to dirt and bacteria at all times. Frequent contact with both water and chemical can be damaging to the skin and can cause serious health issues. Known as occupational skin disorders, issues can range from mild, short-term skin issues to serious conditions such as occupational dermatitis or infectious skin diseases. The seriousness and condition vary widely. If untreated, the condition can spread to other parts of the body, therefore immediate treatment is recommended.
The most common reasons for contracting occupational dermatitis are because cleaning involves a lot of “wet-work” and secondly the exposure to many different chemicals. To prevent occupational dermatitis, the main responsibility lies with the employer as they need to take the necessary preventive actions.
What is important here is implementing a proper skin care programme. If it is not possible to protect the employees skin against contaminants, proper cleaning and care of hand is very important in developing a proactive approach. An effective skin care system would involve applying a protective gel or cream before work, using hand sanitizers where water is not immediately available and using restorative creams.
Restorative creams are an important element of skin care as they moisturize, nourish and replenish the skin, preventing them from becoming dry. But it is not enough to only provide the right products for cleaning and restoring hands. Education is key.
The accessibility to soaps, sanitizers and creams is fine, but without an educational training program one will not achieve the desired result. Employers have to ensure that their employees understand the seriousness of occupational skin disorders.
Hands-on training sessions and regular staff meetings can help to ensure that the efforts made to prevent occupational skin disease are not just a one-off event that is soon forgotten about. It can have serious consequences if an employer neglects the skin care of the cleaning staffs. If a staff member is absent due to an occupational skin disorder, it might not only cost the employer to pay for the sick employee’s salary, but also require them to pay overtime to cover the absent employee.
Keep your employees healthy and safe. Protecting them is most important as they do so much to ensure that all of us work in a clean environment.
Precaution: Provide anti-bacterial hand wash, sanitizing hand wash gel and hand wash training to all your staff!