The use of hand sanitizer has increased in the last year. Almost all governments have recommended its use as a means of protection against COVID-19. We have never used hand sanitizer on such a large scale before. While hand sanitizer is fast, convenient and effective, it does create some of its own unintended consequences.
1. Hand sanitizer on the floor creates a slipping hazard.
Hand sanitizer often gets onto the floor. No matter how careful your customers and employees are there will always be spills. All sanitation stations are different. This means it is sometimes difficult to know where the liquid will come out and how quickly. Sometimes, I have put my own hand under a motion-activated pump, only to remove it after a few seconds and then have the gel fall to the floor. When hand sanitizer is on the floor it becomes a hazard. Due to its consistency, there is a high probability of a slip. To avoid this, there are a few easy precautions you can take.
- Clean up any spilt hand sanitizer as soon as possible. Hand sanitizer is easy to clean with a cloth or towel. The faster you remove it from the floor the lower the chance of an accident.
- Install a small tray under the pump. This will catch some of the excess hand sanitizers. As I mentioned above people removing their hands too early is a big problem. With a tray, this problem is partly avoided. However, there is still the possibility of people letting the gel slide out of their hands or the tray overflowing.
- Have a disinfectant dispenser that has a fast and predictable mechanism. Having a motion-activated dispenser is preferable to one with a pump. However, if the motion sensor takes more than a few seconds people tend to move their hands. This results in the gel falling to the floor. A high quality, predictable dispenser is essential.
- Place a mat under the dispenser. This will absorb the spills. This is the easiest and most simple solution. Our Sanitizer Dispenser Mat (SDM) is perfect for absorbing any dropped or spilt hand sanitizer. Its rounded shape can accommodate any free-standing dispenser. We have made The SDM using our highest quality printable mats so it will protect your floors for a long time.
2. Some customers ignore hand sanitizer
Many governments are recommending the use of hand sanitizer when entering a building. Some are even taking steps to make it mandatory to help with the fight against COVID-19. Having customers ignoring the hand sanitizer is a problem, not only for themselves but also for other people. There are a few precautions you can take to mitigate this.
- Have the sanitizing station in a prominent position in the entrance means it is hard to miss. If you place the station somewhere hard to see it is easy to walk past and ignore.
- Train employees to encourage customers to use hand sanitizer. This is a very effective way of prompting people. It is especially effective if you station an employee at the front of the shop as people walk in.
- Have a sign attached to the sanitating station asking customers to use it. This makes customers aware of what you expect of them and increases the visibility of the station.
3. Hand Alcohol can damage floors
A common problem a lot of places are facing at the moment is hand sanitizer damaging floors. This is most noticeable on acrylic floors with some kind of finish. In the past, this has been a problem for the health care industry. However, now hand sanitizers are being used in more locations this issue is becoming more widespread. The alcohol content of the sanitizer denatures the cohesive between the finish and the floor. This causes light spots and slight wrinkles on the floor. Occasionally hand sanitizer will stick to the surface of the floor. Dirt and other debris then stick to the sanitizer causing a dark spot. To fix a floor damaged in this way it is recommended to strip and resurface it. This is a costly and avoidable procedure if you take a few easy measures.
- Clean up spilt hand sanitizer as soon as possible. Removing the sanitizer from the floor as soon as possible removes the possibility for damage. Employees should be trained to wipe up any spills as soon as they see happen.
- Have a mat under the sanitating station to catch the majority of the spills. A mat can create an effective barrier between hand alcohol and the floor. Our SDM is perfect for absorbing and protecting your floor.
4. Not all hand sanitizers are recommended
With the increased demand for hand sanitizer across the world, the supply of hand sanitizer has surged to match. The vast majority of these are safe and effective to use, however, there are some things to look out for.
- Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Any less than this and it will not be effective. The alcohol content of hand sanitizer is often labelled as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, 2-propanol or isopropanol.
- Hand sanitizers should not be labelled as “alcohol-free”
- The packaging of hand sanitizer should not resemble food or a drink. This is to make sure nobody accidentally eats it as this can be dangerous.
5. Hand Alcohol is flammable and is a fire hazard
The flashpoint of 60% hand sanitizer is 15 degrees centigrade. Higher alcohol percentages lead to lower flashpoints. The flashpoint of a material is the lowest temperature at which the vapours given off by that material are at risk of igniting. There are a few easy precautions you can take to mitigate this risk.
- Keep hand sanitizer away from any sources of ignition. This includes hot surface, flames, sparks, electrical equipment and static electricity.
- Store large quantities of hand sanitizer (15L) in a fire-resistant cabinet or in a room with sprinklers. Please refer to your regional fire prevention guidelines for more details on how to store flammable materials. If you would like to know more about our line of cabinets click here
The recent widespread use of hand sanitizer is a positive thing. However, it has created a few unintended consequences. More slips and falls, damaged floors and possible fire hazards to name a few. It is important we all stay educated about new safety topics. If you have any questions or you would like to learn more about our Sanitizer Dispenser Mat or Safety Cabinets get in contact. We are always happy to help.