IOGP warns of burn risks associated with hand sanitizers

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) has issued a safety warning relating to the use of hand sanitizers, noting that the liquid used can ignite if exposed to an ignition source before the sanitiser has fully evaporated and dried.

A company employee used alcohol-based hand gel sanitizer in line with current regulatory requirements. After the sanitizer was applied, but before it had fully evaporated and dried, the individual touched a metal surface. A build-up of static created an ignition source and the sanitizer 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.

IOGP noted that hand sanitizer gels contained concentrations of alcohol.

Users should remember that alcohol vapours can ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as light switches or cigarette lighters.

Corrective Actions and Recommendations:

  1. When using the alcohol-based hand gel sanitizers, ensure the gel is given suitable time to fully dry/evaporate.
  2. 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.
  3. If unsure about using the alcohol-based sanitisers, washing hands with hot soapy water has the same effect as the hand gel.

https://safetyzone.iogp.org/SafetyAlerts/alerts/Detail.asp?alert_id=314