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Feb 11th 2018

Skin creams 'linked to hundreds of deaths'

Skin creams containing paraffin could be linked to hundreds of fire-related deaths, a senior firefighter has said.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service watch commander Chris Bell said the creams used to treat skin conditions were safe to apply but warned they could become flammable when they soak into fabrics, clothes and bandages and come into contact with cigarettes or naked flames.

The creams are used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

"Hundreds of thousands of people use them, we're not sure how many fire deaths might have occurred but it could be into the hundreds," he told BBC 5 Live.

"People are using paraffin-based skin products to treat eczema and psoriasis and various other skin creams, putting it all over their bodies and different parts of themselves - treating themselves for those different skin conditions.

"But unfortunately, that cream can get into fabrics, clothing, bandages and dressings, and become flammable.

"The creams are safe to use in their own right, but if that person is exposed to a naked flame or some other heat source, they can go up."

The comments come after an investigation by the radio station and Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire found just seven of 38 paraffin-based products licensed in the UK had warnings on their packaging.

Users should not smoke, use naked flames or go near anything which may cause a fire while the creams are in contact with dressings or clothing, according to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Its advice says "patients' clothing and bedding should be changed regularly - preferably daily - because emollients soak into fabric and can become a fire hazard".

IKEA bosses have issued another warning over accidents with a range of furniture after a boy was crushed by a set of drawers.

The company first issued a warning back in July after two children were killed when drawers and wardrobes fell on them.

Now another child has been killed in America, it's the third time the Malm range has been involved in fatal tipping incidents.

In a report by journalist Tricia Nadolny, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, mum Janet McGee had reportedly put her 22-month-old son Ted down for a nap and was checking on him every 20 minutes.

When she opened the door and found his empty bed, she assumed he was hiding – until she spotted the six-drawer dresser on the floor, on top of her son.

Although no tragedies have been reported in the UK, parents are being urged to make sure they use the fittings that come with the furniture to fix it to the wall.

A spokesman for IKEA said: "We at IKEA offer our deepest condolences to the McGee family.

"At IKEA, we believe children are the most important people in the world and the safety of our products is our highest priority.

"Upon being informed of this incident IKEA US immediately reported it to the authorities and an investigation is taking place.

"IKEA US has been advised that the product was not attached to the wall, which is an integral part of the products’ assembly instructions."

He added: "We wish to emphasise that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions.

"IKEA has included restraints with our chest of drawers for decades, and wall attachment is an integral part of the assembly instructions.”

A two-year-old boy from Pennsylvania, in America, died in February 2014 when a Malm chest fell on him and pinned him to a bed.

Three months later, a 23-month-old child from Washington was killed in when a three-drawer Malm chest tipped over.

IKEA has stores locally in Ashton-under-Lyne and Warrington.

Anyone concerned about their furniture can contact IKEA on 0203 645 0010 to request a free restraint kit if the original one was disposed of


Accidents in Industry

These are Bhopal victims of a gas leak, 30 years ago

Bad Accidents

The illustration above is of the victims of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India; there were many fatalities and thousands of injuries caused by the release of poisonous gas from a Chemical Factory.  This is considered to be the worst chemical release in history.

Factory accidents that happens without warning such as an explosion or fire are difficult to anticipate and prepare for, but you need to act sensibly should you be in the locality of such an event, do not be tempted to go and have a look think more of the safety of yourself and your family.

Factory premises and building sites have strict rules about safety designed to protect the workers and the general public, you should always read all warning notices, abide by their advice, wear protective clothing where instructed to do so and look after your personal safety and the safety of others.

Check the local news and weather forecasts, if you are downwind of the incident close your doors and windows to help prevent contamination by noxious fumes, prepare for evacuation, if you are able and you feel the need to move to a safer area, do not wait to be told go now take your grab bag and other essentials and go while you can.  Avoid the traffic jams that may happen a little later.

Mines are particularly prone to these disasters, the problem of working underground in a confined space with the possibility of a cave in and the constant danger of gas makes working down a mind a very dangerous occupation, these disasters can occur in the best of managed and regulated underground workings, unfortunately in some parts of the world the safety of the Miners seems to be given a little relevance, and the most important thing is production and more production.

And another equally dangerous the totally different job is deep sea fishing, even with modern trawlers there are still frequent reports of ships being lost at sea and individual injuries in sometimes very bad conditions which are all too frequent.

It is essential that you record in the accidents book any injuries that you receive at work even if it is only a scratch or a muscle sprain, if you have to claim at any time in the future the fact that you took the trouble to record the incident in the accident book  will stand you in good stead to prove responsibility.

We have to give praise, credit and admiration to our rescue workers and Fire fighters who risk their lives every day to aid people they do not even know.

Fortunately with modern communication systems these dangerous situations can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.

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