Workplace studies suggest around 2000 people a year in London contract work related skin conditions, with a quarter of them needing to see a dermatologist.
Irritants, or allergens play a part, including soaps, or cleaning materials. Contact dermatitis is the most common issue, followed by hives, rashes, nail disorders and skin cancers.
Unprotected, wet hands are a factor, although items intended to help, such as latex gloves, can cause problems for some people. The same applies to other protective equipment and to creams meant to assist.
Our skin is a vital yet individual part of our body, we can all react differently to unusual, or quite common substances. Skin conditions in the workplace call for careful assessment by a dermatologist.
An Employers Role
Employers have a legal duty to assess and prevent risk, under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Further regulatory requirements arise under COSHH (control of substances) and RIDDOR (reporting to the HSE).
Those requirements have a cost, along with the loss of productivity staff absence causes. Skin conditions account for 6% of days away due to work related illness and 7% of certified sickness from causes at work.
More importantly, most businesses care for their employees, they don’t wish to see them in pain, or discomfort. Apart from trying to ensure safety at work, employers help staff with skin conditions receive good care.
Diagnosing the condition itself will come from an appointment with a consultant dermatologist. Their experience leads the way, with assistance from microscopic study, or occasionally tissue analysis.
Establishing the cause of a workplace condition is also important, for the individual and others who may be affected. The cause can be obvious but is often not, patch, prick, or intradermal testing may be required.
A consultant talking to a patient will help further. To understand the nature of their work in detail, their family and medical history, symptoms which may not be current but could still apply.
Dermatology has advanced more in recent years than many medical fields. Technology has brought advances such as laser treatment to replace surgery, research has created new medication able to erradicate long term conditions.
Workplace issues are naturally likely to recur if the cause is not eliminated but once triggered, can come back for other reasons. Even with diagnosis and cause established, effective treatment remains essential.
Our skin is the organ which protects our body, damage brings loss of protection and wider risk. A skilled dermatologist can treat almost all work related skin conditions, we would encourage staff and employers to seek good care.
Skin Care Network Support
Care for work related skin conditions in our London clinics is knowledge based. Well trained and qualified staff at all levels are devoted to their jobs and to offering individual support.
Our consultant dermatologists have access to the best scientific equipment and a range of treatment options. They understand workplace issues, also people commonly at risk, from dentists, to florists, to research staff and more.
Whether you are an employee, or an employer seeking help for a staff member, we will be pleased to help. You are welcome to talk to our friendly team at any time.