Alcohol-based hand sanitiser led to second degree burns

Seafarers have been warned to exercise caution when using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, after reports an offshore employee received second and third degree burns in one incident.

The employee used the hand gel sanitiser as per the current recommendations for COVID-19 personal hygiene requirements.

The individual touched a metal surface before the liquid sanitiser had fully evaporated. A build-up of static created an ignition source and the sanitiser ignited, resulting in an almost invisible flame on both hands.

Alcohol-based gels should be allowed to dry completely before touching metal surfaces, lighting cigarettes or other potential ‘ignition sources’, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) said.

‘In the interest of safety, remember that alcohol vapours can ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as light switches or cigarette lighters.’

Seafarers that may be unsure about using alcohol-based sanitisers can wash hands with hot soapy water for the same effect as the hand gel.

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