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Eczema in food handler in high care area


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#1 bibi

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 04:09 PM

help
do you employ a person with eczema(hands)in high care area?
are gloves a barrier? or more issues to follow?
please give your opinion
thanks bibi



#2 GMO

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:46 PM

help
do you employ a person with eczema(hands)in high care area?
are gloves a barrier? or more issues to follow?
please give your opinion
thanks bibi


It depends what level of eczema. I would certainly consult an occupational health specialist.

There are arguments for and against.

In my experience approx 60% or more of high care / high risk staff have some level of dermatitis. Dermatitis is basically eczema but in response to an irritant and is occasional rather than constant to some degree. So, should you discriminate against the eczema member of staff? Worth thinking about.

Secondly, is there a risk? Unless the eczema is infected, the loading might not be all that high. Might be worth swabbing and finding out.

The against is obviously as you might have thought that there is a risk of contamination if the skin is roughened and infected, however, there is also a health and safety argument. The handwashing will only serve to irritate the skin and so the requirements you have in place will harm the employee. If you then insist on them wearing gloves, the sweat is likely to irritate the skin and result in more irritation.

#3 Charles.C

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:15 AM

Dear Bibi,

IMO this is another one of the "tricky" ones.

Quite likely to be a legal issue and thereby dependent on yr location.

Most of info. i could find is enclosed within general documents on the subject. The value of pre-employment questionnaires is debated (eg see the detailed discussion in section 6.4 et seq of 3rd attachment). Some documents are not so recent therefore some caution is suggested.

Here is extract (prob.ca 2000) stated to be relevant to the 1995 Food Safety Regs (1995) UK.
Attached File  food handling criteria ca2000.png   80.55KB   62 downloads


Here is a UK extract stated to hv been reviewed in 2010 (still seems to reference 1995 regulations) –
Attached File  food handler assessment (rev2010).png   78.8KB   53 downloads

Here is a (more considered?) extract (ex sec 6.5.3] from a 2004 Irish review whose scope is stated as “The presented guidelines are considered to represent good practice in the light of current best scientific evidence. They are generally reflective of the advice currently cited in a number of very useful UK and US documents.” (listed) (However I noted that apparently EC has specific assessment requirements for certain professions, eg meat, seafood, [sec.6.5.2]).

Skin Diseases: Skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis are common. Lesions of eczema are very frequently colonised or infected by S. aureus and sometimes by S. pyogenes. Such organisms are dispersed into the environment on naturally shed skin scales , with catering industry implications . The hazard presented by active eczema is real and requires individual assessment of risk . Colonisation of psoriatic lesions with potentially pathogenic bacteria is less of a problem than in atopic eczema. However, lesions involving the hands and forearms or the scalp (common) and face (rare) present a potential hazard . It is not possible to be prescriptive about such skin diseases; small scaly lesions on exposed parts should be covered; larger lesions, especially on hands/forearms/face/neck/scalp should be subject to individual medical assessment and advice. It has been recommended that skin conditions require thorough dermatological investigation in order to diagnose them sufficiently accurately to give reliable medical advice about employment.

( Attached File  National Disease Surveillance Centre 2004.pdf   437.43KB   37 downloads )

Rgds / Charles.C

PS - You may also find this concise (UK) document (2000) interesting which attempts to define/summarise the background and overall approach for the general problem.

Attached File  pre-employment health assessments for food handlers (2001).pdf   57.03KB   55 downloads

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 bibi

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 05:40 PM

Thanks guys for your fast reply.
appreciate your comments, but what can you do if you need someone very urgent with all the skills she/he has for your operation.Do you still employ temporary.
bibi



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 06:05 PM

Dear bibi,

This is the point of the risk assessment, ie health safety comes first.

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#6 bibi

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:26 PM

Thanks Charles
making things more clear.Safety of the food come first.
discrimination come second if you are in high care area(doing sandwiches)
god bless
bibi



#7 wijit

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

Hello Bibi. Just to slightly complicate matters. It would be foolish in this day and age to say discrimination comes second. You can be certain that if discrimination was suspected and all avenues of opportunity had not been explored the force of employment law would fall quite heavily. I would advise treading very carefully.
As mentioned above, contact Occupational health and seek advice, bot on employment suitability and available treatments to minimise or eliminate risk of contamination.



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:08 AM

Dear wijit,

Sadly, consequences (or lack of) may well also relate to location.

Rgds / Charles.C


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Charles.C


#9 GMO

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:58 AM

As I kind of indicated earlier, I would be hesitant before rejecting this person out of hand. I get dermititis on my hands as do approx 50% of food handlers I know. It greatly depends on severity.

The thing which hasn't been mentioned yet though is the views of the person. Would they want to work somewhere which is likely to aggrivate their eczema? You mention they have experience, they must have worked in food handling before?

You've also not said what product your processing. Some high risk environments will have a lot of handwashing which would make it worse but also handling dry powdery materials might be worse still.






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