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FAQ - Hand Hygiene - 2015
FAQ - Hand Hygiene - 2015



Have the hand hygiene recommendations changed? We had our annual OSHA update last week and were informed that the hand hygiene protocol is changed to hand washing with invasive procedures instead of visibly soiled. We currently utilize hand sanitizer the majority of our day. I have searched and do not see documentation of this change.

Ask OSAP would like to refer you to the CDC publication Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings which says in part:

Techniques for hand hygiene

• Amount of hand-hygiene solution

• Duration of hand-hygiene procedure

• Selection of hand-hygiene agents

— Alcohol-based hand rubs are the most efficacious agents for reducing the number of bacteria on the hands of personnel. Antiseptic soaps and detergents are the next most effective, and non-antimicrobial soaps are the least effective (1,398).

 — Soap and water are recommended for visibly soil hands.

— Alcohol-based hand rubs are recommended for routine decontamination of hands for all clinical indications (except when hands are visibly soiled) and as one of the options for surgical hand hygiene.1

This publication can be accessed at this link:  1

Additionally, the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry contains a section pertaining to hand hygiene. This publication can be accessed at this link:  2

This publication says in part:

The preferred method for hand hygiene depends on the type of procedure, the degree of contamination, and the desired persistence of antimicrobial action on the skin (Table 2). For routine dental examinations and nonsurgical procedures, handwashing and hand antisepsis is achieved by using either a plain or antimicrobial soap and water. If the hands are not visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is adequate. The purpose of surgical hand antisepsis is to eliminate transient flora and reduce resident flora for the duration of a procedure to prevent introduction of organisms in the operative wound, if gloves become punctured or torn. Skin bacteria can rapidly multiply under surgical gloves if hands are washed with soap that is not antimicrobial (127,128). Thus, an antimicrobial soap or alcohol hand rub with persistent activity should be used before surgical procedures (129–131). 3

As a Member’s Only feature, OSAP also has a Hand Hygiene Toolkit which can be accessed on the OSAP website at:   4


(1)    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings  Accessed on November 17, 2015.

(2)    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Infection Control Practices for Dentistry.   Accessed on November 17, 2015.

(3)    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings — 2003.   Accessed on November 17, 2015.

(4)    Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. Hand Hygiene Toolkit.   Accessed on November 17, 2015.




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