Staff Skin Care Policy

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1 This is an official Northern Trust policy and should not be edited in any way Staff Skin Care Policy Reference Number: NHSCT/10/350 Target audience: All Trust staff and in particular those involved in the handling and use of hazardous substances, those involved in work where the hands could potentially get wet, including hand washing. Sources of advice in relation to this document: Alex Lynch, Trust Corporate Risk Manager Craig Green, Health & Safety Advisor Replaces (if appropriate): Skin Care Policies for all 3 legacy Trusts, ie, Causeway, United and Homefirst Type of Document: Trust Wide Approved by: Policy, Standards and Guidelines Committee Date Approved: 27 October 2010 Date Issued by Policy Unit: 10 November 2010 NHSCT Mission Statement To provide for all the quality of services we would expect for our families and ourselves

2 Staff Skin Care Policy October

3 Target Audience Staff Skin Care Policy All Trust staff and in particular those involved in the handling and use of hazardous substances, those involved in work where the hands could potentially get wet, including hand washing. 1. Introduction The main function of skin is as a barrier and this is dependent upon the skin remaining intact. Broken skin increases the risk of infection. Both irritation and allergy can appear as a rash but can vary considerably in severity from a mild irritation, dryness and/or reddening to acute blistering and swelling of the skin. Staff with pre-existing skin conditions may be particularly susceptible to skin problems. Effective skin care reduces the incidence of skin problems and everyone should protect their skin, not only those with sensitive skin. The Trust is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of its staff, including the promotion of working environments within which the risks of developing a work related medical condition or suffering an injury is minimised in so far as is reasonably practicable. 2. Purpose and Scope In support of this commitment this policy describes the Trust s arrangements for the promotion of good skin care amongst all of its staff who might otherwise be at risk because of their duties. Reference should also be made to the Infection Prevention and Control Hand Hygiene Policy, Decontamination Policy and Regional Manual and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Policy. 3. Objectives As well as describing how the Trust will comply with the relevant legal requirements and detailing responsibilities this policy confirms the Trust s aim to take whatever action is reasonably practicable to prevent or minimise the risk of staff developing a skin or other condition as a result of their work by: increasing the awareness of managers and staff of the importance of good skin care; providing guidance on, and ensuring there is consistency in the selection, use and quality of gloves; establishing systems for the early identification and referral of staff who may have, or be at risk of, developing a work related skin condition; providing health condition monitoring as necessary. 2

4 This will be achieved by: completing and actioning of risk assessments which will identify activities or substances which create the potential to cause or worsen pre-existing skin conditions and measures needed to prevent or adequately control the risks to staff involved; providing guidance, information and advice on practices or measures which promote good skin care and reduce the risk of developing or worsening a skin disorder; promoting consistency in the selection and use of gloves within the Trust. 4. Responsibilities The Chief Executive has overall responsibility for infection prevention and control and health, safety and welfare in the Trust. The Trust Corporate Risk Manager has delegated responsibility for the overall implementation of this policy and with regard to skin care will: monitor reported incidents of skin disorders which may be work related and identify issues requiring further attention; co-ordinate and monitor the training identified as needed to achieve and deliver the objectives of this policy; and review the effectiveness of the Trust s arrangements for promoting good skin care practice. Directors will ensure that this policy is implemented in the areas and services for which responsible and that adequate arrangements and resources are available to do so. The Northern Occupational Health Service will: undertake pre-employment health assessments and identify people: - who have a history of existing skin conditions particularly eczema and dermatitis or who have known allergies; or - who, by being employed for work which may include wet work may be at increased risk of developing skin conditions; provide general skin care advice to Trust staff when requested; provide specific skin care advice: - to any member of staff referred; or - to any manager or supervisor presenting with skin conditions or who have queries about work practices or the use of gloves or creams; at the request of the Trust Corporate Risk Manager maintain records of staff presenting with skin conditions; 3

5 refer staff, as necessary, to the Dermatology Department; report incidents of staff confirmed or suspected of having developed an Natural Rubber Latex sensitisation to the Trust Corporate Risk Manager and the NI Defect and Investigation Centre; and report notifiable diseases as specified under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) to the Trust Corporate Risk Manager. The Infection Prevention and Control Team will provide advice or training as required on: effective hand decontamination procedure and technique, see Hand Hygiene Policy the selection and use of gloves to prevent the spread of infection; and the selection and use of hand hygiene products. Line managers will ensure that: this policy is brought to the attention of all relevant staff; good skin practices are regularly promoted and monitored; staff are encouraged to report any skin problems being experienced so that they can be referred promptly to the Occupational Health Service; staff attend training relevant to the work being undertaken; staff use the appropriate gloves and take other preventive measures indicated as being needed following a risk assessment; where possible, work practices are mechanised to eliminate or reduce the risk of skin conditions being developed; activities assessed as presenting the highest level of risk which cannot be eliminated or carried out by alternative means are rotated amongst as many staff as possible; any member of staff engaged in activities which create risks to their skin are provided with a copy of the Trust s guidance(see Annex A); appropriate records of leaflets issued are maintained; all incidences of work related skin conditions are reported in accordance with the Trust s Incident Management Policy and Procedure (Including Serious Adverse Incidents); 4

6 notices on proper hand washing technique and good skin care practice are displayed near hand washing facilities, where appropriate; and health condition monitoring is undertaken where identified as being required. Staff will ensure that they: 5. Gloves comply with this policy; apply good skin care practices and techniques; apply safe systems of work as identified through assessments; use equipment and substances in accordance with training and instructions; participate in training if necessary; wear appropriate gloves and follow instructions given; inform their manager immediately of any skin problem, however minor, being experienced; and undergo health condition monitoring where identified as being required. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations (NI) 1993 require that, if following a risk assessment, avoidance of, or reduction in, the exposure to a hazardous substance or activity is not possible by other means, equipment appropriate to the activity being undertaken should be provided. The type of glove to be worn will be determined by a risk assessment of the activity during which exposure to a substance requiring that glove to be worn is identified. 6. Review This policy will be reviewed by the Trust Corporate Risk Manager at least every 2 years and which will be done following consultation with Staff Side. 7. Approval This policy was approved by the Policy, Standards and Guidelines Committee on 27 October Equality This policy has been drawn up and reviewed in the light of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) which requires the Trust to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity. It has been screened to identify any adverse impact on the 9 equality categories and no significant differential impacts were identified, therefore, an Equality Impact Assessment is not required. 5

7 9. Alternative Formats This document can be made available on request on disc, larger font, Braille, audiocassette and in other minority languages to meet the needs of those who are not fluent in English. 10. Sources of advice in relation to this document The Policy Author, responsible Assistant Director or Director as detailed on the policy title page should be contacted with regard to any queries on the content of this policy. 6

8 Annex A Skin Care - What you need to know (Guidance for Staff) Introduction The skin provides a natural protection for the body as long as it is not damaged by cuts or injury or subjected to irritation by such everyday substances as water or cleaning products. Because of this the skin must be cared for and protected from irritants both at home and at work. Greatest care needs to be taken with the parts of the body where the skin is most often exposed- the hands, arms, face and neck. Staff with sensitive skin or pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema need to take special care of their skin. Such staff may wish to obtain personal advice from the Occupational Health Service on any special precautions. If recognised and treated early many skin problems can be cured. Left untreated they soon become serious. If you notice problems with your skin such as Reddening Swelling Very dry skin Rashes. Immediately tell your manager. Referral for Occupational Health Services advice can then be arranged. Using detergents and cleaning products All chemicals and cleaning products are labelled to show if they could cause harm. Some may be harmful and others irritant or corrosive. Do not use a substance unless it is identified. Always familiarise yourself with the COSHH assessment before you start to use the product and follow the instructions given about Using the product safely; What to do if some accidentally splashes on your skin or into your eyes. Try to keep containers clean to avoid coming into contact with spillages on the outside. Hand washing An inadequate hand washing/decontamination technique increases the risk of infections being passed on and leaves substances or dampness on your skin. Proper hand washing is very important. 7

9 Always use lukewarm water, wet hands first and apply a small amount of soap as provided; wash hands using the 7-Step technique; rinse the hands thoroughly to remove the substances with which the skin may have had contact and also to remove traces of soap; dry carefully paying particular attention between the fingers (and under a wedding ring if worn); hands should also be washed after the removal of gloves even if the gloves worn appear intact. Creams After washing and drying your hands an emollient cream should be used. You should also use and emollient cream at home. Hand creams are available from Pharmacy or from the Procurement and Logistics Service and only hand creams dispensed from wall mounted or similar dispensers should be used. Barrier Creams are NOT a substitute for good skin care or gloves. They should only be used where directed by the Occupational Health Service. Gloves Over-use of gloves can cause as many problems as under use. Gloves should only be worn when identified by a risk assessment as being needed and only: For the specific task they have been provided for; By the person they were issued to; For the shortest possible periods. When using gloves consider the Individual needs of the member of staff; Percentage of working time during which gloves must be worn; Work environment, e.g. if washing is done in a deep sink with very warm water gloves should have a long cuff and cotton liners; Tasks being undertaken. Specialist advice on glove selection is available from the Occupational Health Service, Health and Safety Advisor or Infection Prevention and Control Department. Infection Prevention and Control If you are undertaking clinical procedures or personal care tasks you must reduce the possibility of transmitting infection by: applying proper standard precautions or following any instructions given by your manager or member of nursing staff; washing and drying your hands after you finish with each patient or client; using a new pair of gloves for each patient, client or resident if required; and 8

10 using a new pair of gloves between each task performed on the same patient, i.e., clean and dirty tasks. Not using protective equipment, or not using it for the purpose intended, i.e. for your safety and that of those people you come into contact with, constitutes a disciplinary offence. Further information Refer to the following documents prepared by the Trust which should be available in your department: Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Policy; Hand Hygiene Policy; and Regional Infection Prevention and Control Manual (intranet). 9

11 Annex B Top Ten Tips for Tip Top Skin 1. Always read the label on a product before you use it. 2. Avoid skin contact with substances which may be harmful as much as possible. 3. Wear the correct gloves for the task and as instructed by your manager. 4. Never wear gloves which are torn or share gloves with another person. 5. Never let liquids come in over the top of your gloves. 6. Wash hands after removing gloves. 7. Report immediately to your manager any: Skin irritation; or Puncture wounds, cuts or abrasions which occur at work and obtain first aid if necessary. 8. Cover your cuts and wounds with a waterproof self adhesive plaster when at work and change it at least daily. 9. Keep your skin clean but do not use abrasives to clean your skin. Wash or replace cotton liners frequently. 10. Use the recommended hand cream several times a day to keep your skin soft. Staff experiencing adverse effects using any of the available skin cleansing, creams or gloves products should contact Occupational Health personally or via their line manager for advice. 10

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