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Surface Disinfection in Healthcare

Information about the risks and protective measures for employees.

Consistent surface disinfection contributes significantly to avoiding infections. Skin compatibility must be ensured for those personnel who carry out the disinfection. For this reason, BAuA recommends always wearing suitable protective gloves.

Nearly 1,850 skin damage cases in relation to disinfectants in the healthcare industry were confirmed in 2013 as an occupational disease. The tendency is rising.

A hand in a yellow protective glove with a turned-up cuff wipes down a grey-blue surface with a pink cloth. © Sylwia Wisbar, BAuA

Therefore, in a pilot project, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) analysed the practice of surface disinfection. And we have spoken with hygiene experts, users and manufacturers at further training events and trade fairs. The following appeared as the central result: an improvement potential exists in the selection and use of protective gloves.

In the ongoing authorisation procedure for disinfectants in accordance with the EU Biocides Regulation No. 528/2012, there is the option to work towards the improvement of supported, integrated or direct application safety of products. As gloves continue to be the most frequent protective measure against skin exposure, their effectiveness should be ensured by qualified selection and use. BAuA continues to advocate for this as a authorising body.

Help is provided by TRGS 401 (Risk resulting from skin contact), a revised version of which will be available in early 2021.

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