Preventing dermatitis at work

September 21, 2015   //   No Comments

Contact dermatitis is the most common type of occupational skin disease.    HSE-logo

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced a leaflet to help employers identify what tasks and substances may cause harm and introduces practical steps for controlling the risks of dermatitis. The information it contains will help employers comply with the law.

Contact dermatitis is defined as inflammation of the skin resulting from exposure to detergents, toiletries, chemicals and even natural products, for example, foods. Prolonged or frequent contact with water (often termed wet work) can also cause it.  The signs and symptoms of the different types of dermatitis include dry, red and itchy skin.  This can be followed by flaking, blistering, crusting, cracking, swelling and pain.

The law requires employers to prevent or, where that is not reasonably practicable, adequately control exposure to materials in the workplace that cause ill health like dermatitis. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) require employers to:

  1. assess risks;
  2. provide adequate control measures – and ensure the use and maintenance of these;
  3. provide information, instruction and training; and
  4. in appropriate cases, provide health surveillance.

You may read the leaflet on the HSE website here.