Unique innovations: ‘Raising the bar in industrial skin care’
Industrial employees face a unique skin care challenge. Working conditions and job roles mean they’re exposed to a wide range of dirt levels – from general dirt and dust through to heavier contaminants such as oil and grease. Frequent handwashing with inappropriate skin care products can lead to occupational skin disorders (OSDs), potentially costing employers £6,000 per case reported. So, what is the best way to approach hand hygiene and skin care in an environment that presents such a varied challenge?
SC Johnson Professional carried out extensive consumer research to gain an insight into companies’ and employees’ needs in both the light and heavy industrial sector, leading to some surprising results. Insight groups across five sites in the UK and further sites in Germany included a Sheffield paint manufacturing site, employees at distribution centres, as well as a broad range of focus groups and manager interviews. The challenges faced in the workplace were as predicted – but some of the user feedback was unexpected.
Challenges in the workplace included stubborn dirt, intermittent glove use, lack of skin care training and frequent handwashing. As for the products they currently use, many people said that dispensers were unclear, multiple shots of product were needed for an effective clean and that they often dried out the skin. These challenges therefore led to a compromise between a powerful clean and a product which was kind to skin.
This ‘trade-off’ was reflected in the worker feedback – employees were looking for products that were stronger than general soap, but also wanted hand cleaner to be kind to skin and leave hands feeling moisturised. Managers interviewed backed this up and were keen for employees to be involved in choosing the right skin care for their type of work. Insights revealed that management understand the need to offer good skin care as a way of promoting a caring working environment and employee wellbeing. Product guidance and training was also important to this group.
The light industrial market is unique in needing both a powerful clean whilst also managing the prevalence of OSDs – overly harsh hand cleaners can exacerbate this problem. Workers simply do not have to accept the harsh nature of heavy-duty products as a necessary evil.
The heavy industrial market on the other hand faces its own challenges, with harsher contaminants proving trickier to clean from skin. Often hand cleaners are not strong enough, which means that irritants are left on the hands, thus also potentially increasing occurrences of OSDs.
Drawing on the insights of its intensive research, SC Johnson Professional developed a range of products that are tough on dirt but gentle on skin: launching its Power Foam Hand Cleaners, comprising three powerful but gentle foam soaps that are ideal for industrial settings.
End-user testing showed that 73% of users agreed that Estesol FX left hands feeling conditioned, and 77% of users preferred the product to regular soaps. Specifically, for those in the food industry, SC Johnson Professional developed Estesol FX PURE, a certified foodsafe, perfume and dye-free version of the cleaner also suitable for sensitive skin.
For heavier industry, the introduction of abrasive gritty foam Solopol GFX has led to an even higher preference rate; 87% of users favour the product. With twice the cleaning performance compared to traditional abrasive heavy-duty lotions, the proven extra care of GFX also means that hands feel smooth and cared for after use, with almost 4 in 5 users agreeing.
Once installed, these products have proven to be quick and easy to maintain and efficient in use, with Power Foams lasting twice as long as traditional soaps. In addition, SC Johnson Professional’s most researched, insight-driven product range has seen the first ever grey and black dispensers. Focus groups helping to shape the design of the product, with a darker colour choice selected for industrial washrooms.
Listening to user needs is vital when it comes to skin care in a sector that faces such varied challenges. After years of research and customer insight, SC Johnson Professional was able to develop a product with unique innovSkination specifically developed for the sector; the only industrial hand cleaners proven to give ‘Xtra Power’ and ‘Xtra Care’. Click here to find out more about the Power Foams range.
 Diepgen T.L. et al; Contact Dermatitis 2013; 69: 88-106
According to HSE, skin disorders affect 40% of workers at some point in their career. Occupational skin disorders (OSDs) are amongst the most significant health and safety issues facing industry leaders across the world. This whitepaper from Deb puts occupational skin disorders in the spotlight to offer guidance on how employers can take control through a preventative skin care programme.
Discover how you can take control here.