- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

Hand sanitizer happy hour

Have you ever considered that the same stuff you are using to bump up your hand hygiene could lead to an intoxicated staff?

Don’t worry; you won’t have to start giving sobriety tests to your employees. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control in 2006, found out for certain that alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t have any effect on your blood-alcohol level.

The case report highlights a 38-year-old emergency physician who tested the tolerability of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, containing 62% denatured alcohol typically found in most hand sanitizers. The doctor used it under extreme conditions, rubbing the gel on his hands and forearms 25 times over the course of 2 hours. After each application, a blood alcohol level was drawn, but results never approached the minimal detection level for the laboratory (5 mg/dL).

In short, you’d probably need to soak in an alcohol gel bath for a few hours before you even got a slight buzz. So don’t hesitate to lather on the gel to bolster your facilities infection control practices.

Also check out the Tools [1] page for a free hand hygiene data collection worksheet.