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Hand Sanitiser Fires A Cause of Alarm – IOGP Issues Safety Alert

Only recently, a small fire occurred that left the unfortunate individual with first and second degree burns.

This led to the issuance of a safety alert by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers since the unpredictable fire occurred as a result of an individual getting burnt from using hand sanitiser. The alcohol-based hand sanitiser was not left to dry and evaporate fully when the person proceeded to touch a metal surface. The static build-up between the person’s hand and the alcohol fumes became the source of hand-sanitiser ignition, creating concealed flames almost unseen for the naked eye.

How did it go wrong?

Alcohol based hand sanitisers often contain concentrations of alcohol. When hand sanitiser has been applied, there should always be ample time given to ensure all the gel has evaporated or dried completely. Else, the possibility of the alcohol vapour coming into contact with ignition sources such as a light switch or cigarette lighters can cause an unwanted fiery event.

Recommendations and Remedial Actions:

  • Ensure ample time for gel to dry when using alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel
  • Unless gel is completely dry, avoid any contact with surfaces
  • When in doubt about alcohol-based hand sanitiser – use hot and soapy water for the same desired outcome of the disinfection process


Source: HSE Now

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