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 swarfega.com and toughbs.com