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The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) are leading the UK government response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You can read  their most up-to-date Health & Safety Guidance on the Health and Safety Executive Website.


SAFETY ALERT - Alcohol based hand sanitisers

IOGP Safety Alert: Alcohol Based hand-sanitiser warning

The UK Chamber of Shipping received the safety alert below from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP).

A PDF version of the IOGP safety alert can be accessed here
This safety alert is also hosted on the UK Chamber of Shipping website, rel="noopener noreferrer" which can be accessed here.

Alcohol-based hand sanitiser warning

This report is in relation to a Company customer with an employee who used alcohol-based hand gel sanitiser, as per the current recommendations for COVID-19 personal hygiene requirements.
After application, but before the liquid sanitiser had fully evaporated and dried, the individual touched a metal surface where a build-up of static created an ignition source and the sanitiser 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 (see picture).

What went wrong?

Hand sanitiser gels contain concentrations of alcohol. Once the hand sanitiser is applied, individuals must
make sure the gel has suitable time to dry.
In the interest of safety, remember that alcohol vapours can ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as light switches or cigarette lighters.

Corrective actions and recommendations

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

Figure 1: Alcohol based hand sanitisers - burns

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  • Kills 99.9999% of pathogens in 30 seconds (log 6)
  • Triple action – sanitises, deoderises and slows regrowth
  • Contains No alcohol
  • Contains No Bleach
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  • Broad Spectrum Biocide/sanitiser
  • Available with or without fragrance upon request

R2 Pipetech Ltd would be delighted to offer all British Marine members the following discounts and offers.

  • 5%  discount on all orders up to £2,500
  • 7%  discount on all orders above £2,500
  • 5%  discount on all equipment hire
  • 10% discount on all equipment sales
  • Free on line group or individual company training using Zoom in the use of their products and equipment to properly deep clean surfaces. 
Members can connect over E mail or mobile both of which are listed on R2Pipetech's website:

Should I take extra precautions when cleaning the workplace?

The Government has published guidance which sets out what it believes is the most effective way to clean surfaces, communal areas and items of clothing.

British Marine would encourage its members to familiarise themselves with this guidance and to follow advice from the NHS and Public Health England.

What is the advice on social distancing in the workplace

The Government has published detailed guidance on the use and application of social distancing in the workplace. Sector specific guidance has also been published which includes information for manufacturers.

The guidance says that manufacturing plays a vital role nationally and work can continue if done in accordance with social distancing. Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full consideration should be given to whether that activity needs to continue.

In the event the work needs to continue, staff in the manufacturing sector should work side by side or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face. Staff should be assigned to the same shifts to limit social interaction with others and cleaning within the workplace should be done more frequently.

The guidance also recommends taking action to prevent staff congregating at break times, including staggering break times where necessary so that staff can continue to practice social distancing. It also says staff should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more at the beginning and end of every break, when they arrive at work and before they leave. To help with this, employers are encouraged to add additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities, providing soap, water and/or hand sanitiser.