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LEGISLATIVE INTERPRETATIONS

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT

Protective equipment – Barrier Cream

Topic: Protective equipment – Barrier Cream Issued By: V.P., WorkSafe Services
Statute: Regulation 91-191 Date Issued: June 10, 1999
Section: 42(e) Date Revised:

42 Where an employee is exposed to a hazard that may injure the skin, the employee shall use, as necessary,

(e) a barrier cream or oil to prevent irritation to exposed parts of the body.

Question:
Does this section refer to sunscreen and insect repellent since these products help prevent irritation to exposed areas of the body?

Answer:
This section is intended to address caustic substances that workers use in various processes. These substances can burn and irritate the skin. The effects of sun and insects are not unique to work environments and are not the focus of this requirement.

Where the only potential hazard to employees is overexposure to the sun or a risk of serious insect bites:

  1. The employer should provide sunscreen or insect repellent to the employee.
  2. The employee should use the sunscreen or insect repellent as directed by the manufacturer.
  3. The sunscreen has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides protection from both UVA and UVB type ultraviolet radiation.

Employers could develop a written policy to deal with these issues (identifying the requirement for different tasks or work locations).

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