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Use of antiseptic hand rubs in the health and community services industry: an Australian population-based survey

journal contribution
posted on 2015-09-01, 00:00 authored by E MacFarlane, Tony LaMontagneTony LaMontagne, T Driscoll, R L Nixon, T Keegel
BACKGROUND: The use of antiseptic hand rubs (AHRs), rather than washing with soap and water, is considered to be the gold standard for reducing the frequency of nosocomial infections, as well as being less damaging to the hands than washing with soap and water, but little is known at a population level about usage patterns for AHRs. OBJECTIVES: To describe AHR use patterns among workers in the health and community services industry in Australia. METHODS: Using data from a population-based survey of Australian workers, we focused on health and community services workers' exposure to chemicals at work, including the use of AHRs. Data regarding the frequency of hand-washing were also collected. RESULTS: Nine hundred and fifty-six health and community service workers participated in the Australian National Hazard Exposure Worker Surveillance survey. Of these, 11% reported using AHRs, and 31% reported hand-washing >20 times per shift. According to an adjusted logistic regression model, professional workers [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.29, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.40-3.72] and frequent hand washers (aOR 3.08, 95%CI: 1.92-4.93) were more likely to use AHRs. CONCLUSIONS: AHR use by health and community service workers was generally lower than expected. AHR use was most likely to be reported by professionals and frequent hand washers, suggesting that AHRs are used as an adjunct to conventional hand-washing.



Contact dermatitis






157 - 162




Chichester, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Wiley