CM In­sider

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents -

Swar­fega has con­ducted a sur­vey into work­shop clean­ing and skin­care prac­tices which has yielded some in­ter­est­ing – and of­ten shock­ing – re­sults re­gard­ing OSDS or Oc­cu­pa­tional Skin Dis­or­ders.

Due to the high num­ber of caus­tic and toxic flu­ids present in ve­hi­cles, as well as a high level of dirt, those work­ing on cars are es­pe­cially sus­cep­ti­ble to skin dis­or­ders, and are listed as be­ing at a high risk of work-re­lated skin prob­lems ac­cord­ing to Health Safety & En­vi­ron­ment World­wide.

In Swar­fega’s sur­vey, 45% of re­spon­dents said that they washed their hands more than five times a day at work, with this in­creas­ing to nine times per day for auto me­chan­ics. Over-wash­ing can be detri­men­tal to the skin, par­tic­u­larly if the cor­rect hand cleaner isn’t used.

Swar­fega asked re­spon­dents if they had ever suf­fered dry skin be­cause of their work. A whop­ping 81% of those sur­veyed had ex­pe­ri­enced this, with 30% of them ad­mit­ting their skin was “dry con­stantly”; 27% de­scribed their hands as be­ing in poor con­di­tion, and 9% of th­ese said that their hands were cracked and sore.

When the re­spon­dents were asked what they used to clean their hands at work, 42% said that they used reg­u­lar soap, while 18% said that they sim­ply wiped their hands on a rag! Among all the con­tam­i­nants me­chan­ics han­dle, grease came top of the list (49%), fol­lowed by oil (29%) and paint (12%). Un­for­tu­nately, reg­u­lar soap isn’t ef­fec­tive in tack­ling th­ese heav­ier con­tam­i­nants, and if th­ese are not cleaned away prop­erly, re­peated ex­po­sure can lead to der­mati­tis.

It may not be a lack of aware­ness which leads to th­ese prob­lems, as 66% of re­spon­dents said that a com­bined ef­fort to pro­tect, clean and mois­turise the skin was most im­por­tant when tak­ing care of their hands, rather than choos­ing be­tween the three.

In light of th­ese re­sults, Swar­fega rec­om­mends a three-step ap­proach to ef­fec­tive skin care:

Pro­tec­tion Pro­tec­tive or bar­rier cream shields skin against non-wa­ter-based con­tam­i­nants such as dry pow­ders and makes it much eas­ier to clean hands at the end of a shift.

Cleanse Wash­ing hands reg­u­larly with a spe­cial­ist cleaner will help pre­vent a buildup of soil­ing and re­duce con­tact time with con­tam­i­nants.

Restora­tion Af­ter you’ve washed your hands, ap­ply­ing a restora­tive or mois­tur­is­ing cream will help re­plen­ish nat­u­ral mois­ture to the skin that you lose dur­ing wash­ing.

To find out more about Swar­fega’s skin­care prod­ucts, visit swar­ and

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