25th May 2007

INFORMATION
UPDATE

 Issue No.  2007/13

 Sentient
              

 

 

DERMATITIS
Work related dermatitis (also known as eczema) can cause serious problems.  Many people live with pain and discomfort because of it and have to give up work; it costs industry millions of pounds each year in sickness, absence and retraining costs and also results in millions of pounds compensation being paid out to sufferers.
 
However, by taking a sensible, positive approach to looking after health and safety, you could prevent work-related dermatitis and its associated problems using simple controls.
 
Recent quotes from the Health and Safety Executive indicates that this is an important subject for them.
HSE quotes include:
“There are serious consequences for all from failing to control work related dermatitis, including sickness absence and loss of productivity from employees, and the possibility of enforcement or court action for their employer, along with the associated adverse publicity plus the use of valuable NHS resources.”
 
Work related dermatitis is caused by chemical, mechanical, biological and physical matters.  It can also result from work that involves having wet hands for long periods.
 
 
Chemical causes include:
 
Biological causes include:
 
  • Paints
  • Plants

 

  • Solvents
  • Flowers

 

  • Dusts
  • Bacteria

 

  • Hair Shampoos
  • Fungus

 

  • Cleaning Chemicals
 
 
Mechanical causes include:
 
Physical causes include:
 
  • Abrasion
  • Vibration
 
 
  • Radiation
 
 
  • Extremes of temperature and humidity

What can an employer do to reduce Dermatitis?

The following good preventative measures should be part of your normal day to day operations:
  • Ensure your COSHH Assessments are fully implemented and communicated
  • Identify which substances you use that may cause dermatitis – consult Safety Data Sheets
  • Implement techniques which avoid contact with these materials such as substitution with a less hazardous substance or mechanical handling equipment
  • Make arrangements to protect workers skin through good hygiene, barrier creams or protective gloves
  • Encourage workers to check for early signs of dermatitis
 
As always, if you have queries regarding dermatitis, please call for advice and support.
 

 

 

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