Occupational Dermatitis

Work related dermatitis can be a serious problem, resulting in significant pain and discomfort.   Many people who have been diagnosed with this condition have had to leave their employment due to the severity of their symptoms.

Dermatitis can be caused by exposure to certain chemicals or biological agents. It can also arise if you undertake work that involves your hands being wet for long periods of time.  The hands are the main parts of the body that are affected by this condition, but it can develop in other areas of the body.

There are two types of dermatitis: –

Contact Irritant Dermatitisis the most common type of condition.  It will occur quite quickly after very short periods of contact with a strong irritant.  It can also arise as a result of repeated contact with water while undertaking wet work.

Contact Allergic Dermatitisoccurs when the sufferer develops an allergy to a particular substance (allergen). If you become sensitised to a particular allergen any contact with the substance will cause an allergic reaction.

Occupational dermatitis is a very common occupational hazard.  The problem can arise in most workplaces but there are certain occupations where you may be more at risk of developing such problems. These include the following occupations:

  • Catering
  • Hairdressing and Beauticians
  • Health Service
  • Dentistry
  • Printing
  • Metal Machining
  • Mechanics and Vehicle Assembly
  • Construction
  • Chemical and Pharmaceutical Production

There are numerous types of irritants or allergens which cause dermatitis. The following are some of the most common:

  • Metals
  • Solvents
  • Machine Oil
  • Disinfectant
  • Acids and Alkalis
  • Cement
  • Dust
  • Rubber/Latex
  • Hair Dye
  • Fabric Dye
  • Perfumes
  • Soaps and detergents
  • Preservatives
  • Epoxy Resin/Glues

Do you experience any of the following symptoms affecting your skin?

  • Dryness
  • Itching which may be severe
  • Red rash or bumps
  • Flaking or scaling of skin
  • Cracking of skin on the hands or fingers
  • Swelling of hands and fingers
  • Blisters on hands
  • Pain or tenderness

If so, you may be suffering from occupational dermatitis.

If you think that you could be suffering from dermatitis, due to contact with harmful substances at work, you should see your doctor straight away.  You should also report your symptoms to your employer.

If you believe your skin problems have been caused by your work, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you have not been diagnosed with a specific condition.

Contact our specialist occupational disease team today for a free consultation to discuss whether you have a potential claim for compensation.