HEALTH: Bar workers risk fatal disease

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Bar staff are facing unacceptable risks to their health by being exposed to broken glasses, according to a study published today. The researchers, writing in the journal Occupational Medicine, say action is urgently needed to protect them from the threat of cross-infection.

An investigation of 91 bar workers in South Glamorgan revealed that 74 per cent reported cut injuries, of whom 18 per cent were injured on more than 10 occasions; between 10 and 15 per cent of the injuries required hospital treatment.

Only 30 per cent of staff wore gloves, which showed no evidence of offering protection against cuts.

The research team from the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, said that most injuries were inflicted to hands through collecting and washing glasses, and in occasional fights.

Just over half of those questioned had had contact with body fluids such as blood, vomit, urine and faeces, increasing the risk of catching the potentially fatal liver condition, hepatitis B.