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Fire hazard with paraffin-based skin products

Fire hazard with paraffin-based skin products
Reference number
1028
Central Alert System (CAS) reference
Rapid Response Report 4
Issue date26 November 2007
DH Gateway reference
9143
TypeAlert

This document alerts all healthcare staff involved in the prescribing, dispensing or administration of paraffin-based skin products of a potential fire hazard.


Bandages, dressings and clothing in contact with paraffin-based products, for example white soft paraffin, white soft paraffin plus 50% liquid paraffin or emulsifying ointment are easily ignited with a naked flame or cigarette.


Following a reported death, the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) commissioned the Health and Safety Executive to undertake fire hazard testing with white soft paraffin on a variety of bandages, dressings and clothing. The results showed the ability to reproduce the fire hazard in a controlled environment. This risk was not previously well recognised.


This document is accompanied by:


  • general advice and advice for hospital inpatients
  • supporting information for healthcare staff including background and findings
  • posters in English and Welsh
  • Health and Safety Laboratory report FS/06/12 ‘Fire hazards associated with contamination of dressings and clothing by paraffin based ointments’
  • examples of products containing paraffin
  • warning / hazard stickers for products
  • a patient safety video
  • leaflets in English and Welsh.

 

View the video here

Although the deadline for actions has passed, this guidance remains best practice. It should be followed to prevent future patient safety incidents.
Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report
Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - 60 KB 1028 - Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - 2007-11-26 - V1
Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - healthcare staff information
Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - healthcare staff information - 21 KB 1028A - Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - healthcare staff information - 2007-11-26 - V1
Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - additional information
Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - additional information - 26 KB 1028B - Paraffin-based skin products - Rapid Response Report - additional information - 2007-11-26 - V1
Paraffin-based skin products - poster
Paraffin-based skin products - poster - 203 KB 1028C - Paraffin-based skin products - poster - 2007-11 - V1 - EN
Paraffin-based skin products - poster
Paraffin-based skin products - poster - 175 KB 1028C - Paraffin-based skin products - poster - 2007-11 - V1 - EN+CY
Health and Safety Exec report - Paraffin-based skin products
Health and Safety Exec report - Paraffin-based skin products - 347 KB 1028E - Health and Safety Exec report - Paraffin-based skin products - 2007-11 - V1
Paraffin-based skin products: products containing paraffin
Paraffin-based skin products: products containing paraffin - 27 KB 1028F - Paraffin-based skin products: products containing paraffin - 2007-11 - V1
Paraffin-based skin products: products containing paraffin
Paraffin-based skin products: products containing paraffin - 27 KB 1028F - Paraffin-based skin products: products containing paraffin - 2007-11 - V1
Paraffin hazard- sticker template (jpeg)
Paraffin hazard- sticker template (jpeg) - 344 KB 1028G - Paraffin hazard- sticker template (jpeg) - 2007-11- V1
Paraffin hazard- sticker template (pdf)
Paraffin hazard- sticker template (pdf) - 33 KB 1028H - Paraffin hazard- sticker template (pdf) - 2007-11- V1
Paraffin hazard- video
Paraffin hazard- video - 20.77 MB 1028I - Paraffin hazard- video - 2007-11 - V1
Paraffin hazard - patient leaflet
Paraffin hazard - patient leaflet - 233 KB 1028J - Paraffin hazard - patient leaflet - 2007-11 - V1 - EN
Paraffin hazard - patient leaflet
Paraffin hazard - patient leaflet - 217 KB 1028J - Paraffin hazard - patient leaflet - 2007-11 - V1 - EN+CY