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Hand sanitiser ignited and burned hands

  • What happened?

    An employee used alcohol-based hand gel sanitiser, as per the current recommendations for COVID-19 personal hygiene requirements.

    After application, but before the liquid sanitiser had fully evaporated and dried, the person touched a metal surface.

    A build-up of static electricity created an ignition source and the sanitiser ignited, resulting in an almost invisible flame on both hands.

    The individual managed to extinguish the flames but was left with first and second degree burns (see picture).

    Burns to hand caused by sanitiser igniting
  • Why did it happen?

    Hand sanitiser gels contain concentrations of alcohol. Once the hand sanitiser is applied, the gel needs suitable time to dry.

    Alcohol vapours can ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as light switches or cigarette lighters.

    Why did it happen - icon
  • What did they learn?

    When using the alcohol-based hand gel sanitisers, ensure the gel is given suitable time to fully dry/evaporate.

    Avoid touching any surface until the gel has fully dried. Any form of ignition source has the potential to cause the same issues as experienced by the individual.

    If unsure about using the alcohol-based sanitisers, washing hands with hot soapy water has the same effect as the hand gel.

    What learn - icon
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    How can something like this happen here?

    What type of hand sanitiser do we use here?

    What changes can we make to how we use sanitisers to prevent something like this happening here?

    Ask your crew - icon
Published on 11/05/20 401 Views 2 likes

An employee suffered burns when alcohol based hand sanitiser ignited due to a static discharge.