Occupational skin diseases are very common. Repeated contact with skin sensitizers and/or irritants can lead to dermatitis. Occupational skin disease may be defined as a disease in which workplace exposure to a physical, chemical, or biological agent or a mechanical force has been the cause of, or played a major role in, the development of the disease. Work related dermatitis forms 80% of occupational skin diseases and is caused when someone is exposed to a hazardous agent. A non-infective agent, physical or chemical, capable of causing cell damage if applied to the skin for sufficient time and in sufficient concentration, causes irritant contact dermatitis

Companies who have employees working with irritant or sensitising agents are required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to control exposure and protect workers’ health. This includes provision of suitable Health Surveillance.

Latest Health and Safety Executive statistics suggest that in 2007/08, 20 000 people who worked in the last 12 months suffered had "skin problems" caused or made worse by work, this could include irritant or contact dermatitis, skin cancers and general exacerbation of underlying skin conditions. On average every year there are 6000 self-reported cases of new skin problems caused by work and in 2016 Dermatologists report 932 cases of work induced contact Dermatitis.

Occupations that tend to need Health Surveillance include: Electroplaters, Hairdressing, Catering, Construction Workers, People undertaking Wet Work, Health Care Workers, Printing, Metal Working, Paint Spraying, Florists, Horticultural Workers, Rubber Manufacturers.

Shea OH Can help with Skin Health Surveillence by:

  • Providing skin health surveillance including a skin questionnaire and annual skin inspection
  • Confidential data management and reporting, with employee consent
  • Worker education at time of test
  • Permanently retained records (40 years)
  • Completed COSHH report for each individual to be kept at your company to demonstrate to regulators that you are compliant with the law
  • Training employees to be competent skins assessors, in the interim period of time i.e. to undertake monthly inspections on employees seen annually by Occupational Health staff
  • Advising on prevention of problems or how to overcome those that are developed /developing.


Associated Documents:

Skin Care Factsheet
Skin & Dermatitis Factsheet
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