SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7119

Dermatitis is caused by external substances in the workplace which can be painful, disfiguring and in its worst form disabling, causing sufferers to lose days from work, impairing movement and creating a need for expensive treatments. Employers are legally obliged to ensure that the health and safety of their employees is assessed and that mechanisms are installed so they are safeguarded. If you have developed this condition, due to circumstances at work, then you may stand to win damages. Contact our eczema and dermatitis solicitors for legal advice today and see whether you could exercise your legal right to compensation.

If you suffer from any personal injury which is the result of your employer failing to take adequate care of your health and safety we can help you to claim damages. Occupational skin disease compensation claims are the second most common type of legal action for industrial illness. Dermatitis and eczema which often results from exposure to chemical irritants, not only hinders workers' performance and productivity at work, but also adversely affects their quality of life. If want advice at no cost just call our dermatitis solicitors on the helpline.

Your employer has a legal duty to ensure your health and safety whilst at work. If they fail in that duty and you suffer personal injury, they may be liable to pay damages for pain & suffering and any losses you have incurred. An important aspect of health and safety in the workplace relates to skin care and occupational skin disease. Exposure to certain workplace environments and irritants may cause occupational skin disease which can range from mild dermatitis to life-threatening disease such as skin cancer. All workers in high risk employment should monitor their skin carefully and seek medical and legal advice from a dermatitis solicitor if there is any indication of occupational skin disease.

Eczema and allergic contact dermatitis should not be confused as they do differ however the terms are commonly used interchangeably. Dermatitis refers to irritation and reddening of the skin, causing pain, cracking and itching after the skin has been exposed to external substances. Eczema involves reddening and blistering of the skin but is, importantly, a genetic response to exposure. If you suffer from either of these debilitating conditions and you believe that it is the result of exposure to noxious substances whilst at work you should urgently seek legal advice from an occupational eczema and allergic contact dermatitis solicitor.

Dermatitis Statistics

It is estimated that over 60,000 people suffer from work related skin disease in Great Britain of which approximately two thirds have eczema or dermatitis. Over 3000 new cases are diagnosed each year and approximately 80% of these are contact dermatitis with over 75% of these patients subsequently developing a chronic disease of the skin. The occupations at highest risk are hairdressers and barbers, labourers involved in the manufacture of basic metals, oil and gas extraction, grinding machine setters and grinding machine operators and printers. The industries at highest risk were those involved in the manufacture of rubber, chemicals, soaps and cleaners. Anyone who is injured as a result of employer negligence is entitled to start an occupational skin disease compensation claim.

Work Related Condition?

This condition affects thousands of people every year and the consequences can have devastating effects on both work and family life. Possible indicators of a work related cause include :-

  • the complaint erupts following exposure to a substance at work
  • the complaint improves when the employee is away from work
  • the complaint recurs when exposed to that substance upon returning to work
  • the condition only appears on areas of skin that have been exposed
  • other people working with the same substance have similar skin symptoms

Eczema Dermatitis

Workers who handle irritant chemicals are at risk of occupational skin disease including contact dermatitis causing itchiness and inflammation in localised areas. This condition may also affect those working with raw materials, coke, metals or chemicals in laboratories. Dermatitis is a particular problem for those exposed to fibre glass particles particularly in the shipbuilding and insulation industries. Construction workers face a number of risks to the health of their skin including abrasion, friction and pressure which may cause keloids or psoriasis if exposure is sustained over time. Because much building work occurs outdoors, construction workers (and many other outdoor workers) face the threat of severe sunburn, keratosis, melanoma and rosacia. In some cases skin cancer may develop as a result of exposure to intense levels of direct sunlight which is clearly a worst case scenario, heightened by the fact that the cancer may spread to other organs of the body.

Heat & Cold

Those who are exposed to extremes of heat or cold may also suffer from occupational skin disease. Heat induces rashes including ‘prickly heat’ which though simply an annoyance to most people can cause a sufferer to become impaired if the rash becomes widespread or infected. Extremes of cold can cause cracks to the skin and subsequent discomfort and in the worst cases, frostbite has been evident among sailors, fisherman and outdoors workers. Constant immersion in either hot or cold water found mainly in the food industries can also cause occupational skin disease.

High Risk Occupations

Some workers face severe risk, not only to the general condition of their skin but also to overall health if an employer is negligent and fails to take care of their safety. Insufficiently trained or equipped workers who deal with electricity may suffer from severe skin damage including burns and necrosis if they are electrocuted. Workers in the nuclear power industry or in relevant medical fields who are accidentally exposed to ionising radiation may suffer from skin cancer or radiation dermatitis.

Exposure & Allergy

What exactly causes allergic contact dermatitis of the skin? Exposure to chemicals is one factor. Those who work in industry, science, manufacturing and processing may be exposed to irritants that cause the skin to flare up. Submersing hands regularly in water may also cause dermatitis. Chapped hands are well known to most of us, but having contact with water for a prolonged period can cause more severe irritation: those in catering and other industries may be particularly prone to this. Biological agents such as foliage and bacteria are further causes, making those who work in agriculture susceptible, while physical agents such as ultra-violet radiation caused by excessive sunlight may also motivate the disease. Employees in construction and other manual workers may also suffer from dermatitis caused by abrasion by machines, which thins and weakens the skin and can cause irritation. Medically, this condition tends to be classified in two ways: it is either caused by irritation, such as exposure to volatile chemicals; or by allergy, such as a reaction to specific plants.

Dermatitis Symptoms

If you have symptoms including redness, cracking, soreness and blistering, sometimes accompanied by itching and puss secretion, it is worth seeking medical advice. On receipt of a diagnosis, query whether the factor that caused it was related to your work and question whether your employer may have better protected you from your condition. Sometimes allergic contact dermatitis may be very mild, but in other cases, such as where large-scale exposure to chemicals caused a flare up, it may be that employer negligence has led to substantial suffering and time off work. You have a legal right to compensation if your employer has failed to protect you adequately.

Risk Assessment

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, require employers to make an assessment of the risks to any employees liable to be exposed to a substance hazardous to health which may cause a disease of the skin. Employers should obtain hazard data sheets from suppliers, heed warnings on labels and makes suppliers' literature accessible to employees. Protective equipment should be provided including overalls and gloves together with barrier creams. Employers should have a system of health surveillance operated by a competent person who is able to recognize the early symptoms of occupational skin disease and give such guidance as is appropriate and necessary. Any employer who fails in their duty to protect the health and safety of employees is liable in negligence and an occupational skin disease compensation claim by an employee is likely to succeed.

Dermatitis Solicitors

Our dermatitis solicitors will assess your case at no cost to you and will then deal with your occupational skin disease compensation claim using the risk free no win no fee scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. If you believe that you are suffering from this debilitating condition and would like advice just use the helpline or complete the contact form or email our offices and a dermatitis solicitor who is member of the Solicitors Regulation Authoruty panel of personal injury experts will discuss your claim on the telephone with no further obligation.

SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7119


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