Work-Related Skin Problems

Work-related skin problems can occur in most workplaces although there are certain high-risk jobs such as catering, hair dressing, motor vehicle repair and construction where they are more likely.

Skin problems are not only costly to the individuals through the suffering they cause, but also the employer can experience a burden through absence, recruitment, training and personal claims.

Dermatitis is the most common skin condition, but also skin cancer and Urticaria can be caused or made worse through exposure or contact with substances such as chemicals or even having wet hands for long durations at work.

Work-related skin problems are common. However, there are simple and effective steps that employers and employees can take to prevent them from occurring at work. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends using the Avoid, Protect and Check approach.

AVOID direct contact between unprotected hands and substances, products and wet work where this is sensible and practical, for instance:

  • Get rid of the substance / product / wet work altogether.
  • Substitute the product / substance for something less harmful.
  • Introduce controls (such as tools or equipment) to keep a safe working distance between skin and substances / products / wet work.

PROTECT the skin. Avoiding contact will not always be possible so:

  • Provide suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves.
  • Provide mild skin cleaning cream and washing facilities with hot and cold water.
  • Tell workers to wash their hands before eating and drinking, and before wearing gloves.
  • Remind workers to wash any contamination from their skin promptly.
  • Provide soft cotton or disposable paper towels for drying the skin. Tell workers about the importance of thorough drying after washing.
  • Protect the skin by moisturising as often as possible and particularly at the end of the day – this replaces the natural oils that help keep the skin’s protective barrier working properly.
  • Use suitable pre-work creams.

CHECK hands regularly for the first signs of itchy, dry or red skin:

  • Regular skin checks will help spot the early signs of dermatitis or other skin problems.
  • The earlier that health effects are recognised and treated, the more likely it is that the sufferer will make a full recovery.
  • Checks can show whether an adequate standard of control is being maintained. They may give an early indication of lapses in control and a need to reassess the controls used.

Employers should check regularly that all these actions are carried out in practice and individuals who suspect they may have a skin problem should visit their GP for advice and treatment if needed.

If you would like to speak to us about our Health & Safety, Employment Law and HR services please call 0845 226 8393.

ONLINE TRAINING | IOSH Safety for Executives and Directors

Looking to improve your understanding of health and safety, demonstrate your commitment to employee wellbeing, and protect your business from prosecution? Learn essential skills in effective risk management, including how to create a COVID-secure workplace, with this one-day course for business owners, senior managers and directors.

29 September 2020 | 09:00 – 16:30

Director of Health & Safety Services

Nick Wilson

Health and safety should be a priority for any business but ensuring compliance can often feel like a daunting task. We’re here to help you turn complex regulations into sensible, proportionate controls.

Our live Client satisfaction rating is currently:

Last Updated:

Urgent Issue?

Why not take a look through our library of carefully created Health & Safety documents and templates to see if we have what you need?

Let's start talking on 0345 226 8393 or complete the form below.

More From EW

Get your FREE download

We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

Combating coronavirus | FREE advice and resources for employers

Our Coronavirus Advice Hub is open now. Get instant access to regularly updated guidance, sample policies, template risk assessments and more.
 
Click to explore what’s available.

Get your FREE download

We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

Get your FREE download

We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

Hi, how can we help?
Click the button below to chat to an expert.

Is Your Business Based in Scotland?

Go straight to our free sector-specific Risk Assessment Templates for Scottish organisations…
 
Click to explore what’s available.
Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.
Read our Privacy Policy.