Most people don’t associate hand sanitizer with danger, but in the right conditions, it can be — especially handmade hand sanitizers that contain higher alcohol content. And in the age of COVID-19, hand sanitizer use in the workplace is more prevalent than ever.
As employers institute policies aimed at protecting workers from infection, the improper use of alcohol-based disinfectants can have unintended safety consequences of its own. Under certain conditions, if alcohol-based hand sanitizing liquids or gels are not allowed to dry thoroughly, they can potentially ignite on the hands if they encounter static electricity or other heat source, causing painful burns.
Employees who touch a work surface that’s holding a static charge while their hands are still damp risk igniting any alcohol that’s not yet evaporated. It’s crucial that workers allow hand sanitizers to completely dry on the hands before returning to work.
If you’re wary about introducing alcohol-based hand sanitizers into the workplace, be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for thorough hand washing using soap and warm water. That’s an effective way to encourage proper workplace hygiene without the use of a potentially flammable alcohol-based sanitizing product.