Skin protection: Important preventative measures in the work place

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It has an important protective function and supports humans in immune defence. In occupational environments, skin is constantly exposed to numerous harmful influences. This increases the risk of skin conditions. Skin complaints make up 38% of all occupational health complaints, as the skin is exposed to numerous harmful influences in occupational environments. Dermatitis is one of the most common skin conditions and is caused by allergenic materials, chemicals or even toxic substances.
The costs incurred from such down times are correspondingly high; likewise, healing from skin conditions often takes a long time. For these reasons, skin protection at the work place is of great importance in order to maintain the healthy condition of the skin. When skin is appropriately protected in combination with regular hand hygiene, absences due to illness and high costs for treatment can be lowered by up to 40%.
Comprehensive skin protection protects against injuries or skin damage caused by:

  • Working in damp conditions
  • Contact with hazardous substances (e.g. chemicals, etc.)
  • Physical effects (e.g. sharp edges or falling objects)
  • UV radiation (e.g. burns)

Four-step approach for optimal skin protection

Skin protection

Skin cleansing

Hand disinfection

Skin care


First aid

In the next section you will learn what the individual product categories encompass as well as what you should pay attention to when selecting products.

Do you have any questions? Our experts are keen to help you at any time:

What to take into consideration when selecting products

  • So that your employees are optimally protected, skin protection starts even before work and is re-applied during work; these are preventative measures. Skin protection prevents work materials from penetrating into the skin and serves as a protective barrier against harmful substances. This makes it easier to clean the skin. Different skin protection products protect against things such as the following:
  • Heavy soiling
  • Strongly adhesive materials
  • Water-based materials or wet environments
  • UV radiation
  • Moisture accumulation

Gentle skin cleansing

Skin should be cleaned before, during and after work. Products from this category gently remove dirt without unnecessarily irritating the skin. Their effectiveness depends on the product; from light to medium soiling up to very heavy soiling, as well as strongly adhesive materials.

Hygienic hand disinfection

In occupational areas in which hygiene plays and important role, hand disinfection is vital. It prevents the transfer of germs, bacteria as well as viruses and should take place before, during and after work.

Moisturising skin care

In order to maintain the natural protective barrier of the skin, it requires lipids and moisture. In order to rejuvenate and soothe irritated skin, your employees can use appropriate skin care products after work. Depending on individual needs, there are products for normal, dry and irritated skin, as well as very dry and highly stressed skin.

Important ingredients in skin protection products

Similar to many skin care products, specific active ingredients support skin moisturising, reduce itchiness and promote healing:

  • Allantoin is a natural substance which promotes the healing of wounds and has cell-rejuvenating effects. It is used for alleviating skin irritations.
  • Glycerin prevents the loss of moisture in the skin.
  • Witch hazel is a plant extract from the hamamelidaceae family. It relieves slight itching and promotes the healing of wounds.
  • Panthenol is a provitamin. It strengthens the skin’s barrier function, increases the keratin layer’s ability to retain water, and improves the skin’s elasticity. Additionally, it reduces inflammation and itching.
Emulsifiers are another important ingredient within skin protection. They help to combine liquids that do not mix, such as water and oil, into an emulsion.

How to prevent product interactions and allergic reactions

Ensure that the respective skin protectants are specifically suitable for each other in order to prevent interactions. This applies especially if you also use protective gloves as part of the personal protective equipment at your company. Some active ingredients in products may damage the material of the gloves.

Healthy skin is essential in preventing allergies and intolerances which could result from certain substances in the work place. In order for the surface of the skin to remain intact, skincare plays an important role. Additionally, some products are free of ingredients such as silicones, parabens and soaps.

Occupational skin protection plan as instructions for your employees

The skin protection and hygiene plan provides information on how you can optimally protect your skin. It also specifies which skin protectant is to be used in what scenario, and takes into account respective risks at the work place such as the work process. Our qualified team of experts in skin protection will advise you when creating this plan, as well as in selecting the appropriate products for your business.

Comprehensive product range and personal advice

The Hoffmann Group product range features a large selection of products with which your employees can optimally protect, clean, disinfect and care for their skin. Our offer also includes occupational first aid boxes as well as first aid cabinets for storing first aid materials.

Our expert team of PPE specialists will advise you at any time, so that you can protect your employees optimally. We support you in all respects when it comes to personal protective equipment, starting from risk assessments, product selection and wear tests, all the way to training your employees. In this regard, we are available for you in person, via e-mail or telephone. Additionally, we will advise you when creating the skin protection plan for your business: we will provide recommendations for treating the skin before work as well as for cleaning and care afterwards.

Skin protection advice

Skin protection in the shop

First aid at the work place

Despite all precautionary and protective measures, employees may be injured while at work. In order to be able to help them quickly, first aid in the workplace is of utmost importance.

In this regard, first aid is required in the form of trained personnel who can step in during emergency situations, and provide appropriate assistance to the injured individual. The business must also ensure that appropriate aid material is available. This includes items such as:

Depending on type and size of the business as well as the occupational risks present, one or multiple first aid boxes with different contents may be required.

Additionally, employers must fit signs within their business so that first aid facilities, storage locations for dressing material as well as first aid rooms can be located quickly.

Frequently asked questions about skin protection

What alternatives are there for employees who have an allergic reaction to a skin protection substance?

People often have an allergic reaction to fragrances or preservatives. In this case, it is recommended that the person compare the substances listed in their allergy passport with the ingredients in the skin protectant. There are now also skin protectants which are declared free of perfume/fragrance/preservatives.

What is important when it comes to selecting skin protectants?

Skin protectants should be harmless, appropriate for the task being performed and sufficiently effective. In addition to the manufacturer’s specifications, the company doctor should also be involved in the decision-making process.

In which order should skin cleansers and skin disinfectants be used?

To prevent skin irritations, the skin should be gently cleansed before disinfecting. Depending on the sector, the hygiene plan may also outline a different order of steps.

Do you have any questions? Would you like to receive advice on PPE?

The Hoffmann Group provides you with everything from a single source:

  • We provide individual advice, tailored to your needs
  • Risk analysis, help with product selection, wearing tests, training sessions and special service offers (glove plans, skin protection plans)

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