Skin Exposure

The HSE has updated its guidance on its 2009 ‘Managing risks of skin exposure at work’.  There has been some rearrangement of the contents, plus:-

  • References to revoked legislation on chemical packaging have been removed.
  • There is no longer a detailed summary of legislation which applies to the subject.
  • A new appendix shows the standard European symbols used by glove manufacturers to show the protection provided.

This is non-compulsory guidance but should be followed if you have skin protection issues amongst your staff.  Inspectors are likely to refer to it whenever there are obvious risks on a site relating to skin exposure.  If you believe your staff are at risk then it would make sense to read, understand and apply precautions as necessary.

It is written in an easy to read format and will enable most managers and supervisors to gain a basic understanding of the subject.  It would be good to set this as required reading by managers and staff that are exposed to substances which are corrosive, irritant, trigger allergic reactions or cause disease.  This will ensure that the structure of the skin, how it acts as a barrier and how that barrier can be breached if skin exposure is not managed.

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