Occupational Skin Disease Surveillance in The Workplace
An Integral Part Of Your Occupational Health Strategy
Skin assessment in the workplace
As part of the health surveillance services we offer across the UK, we can provide skin assessment in the workplace as part of an overall occupational dermatitis health surveillance programme. If you have any questions about skin health surveillance or any health surveillance services in Leicester or across the UK, don't hesitate to call us on 01455 234 600 or contact us online.
Occupational Skin Disease
Work-related skin problems are a very common occurrence, they can happen in most workplaces although they are more prevalent in certain high-risk jobs. They can be very costly, not just through the suffering individuals experience but to the employer as well. This is why skin assessment in the workplace can be an excellent strategy.
What are work-related skin problems?
Work-related skin problems are caused or made worse by exposure to or coming into contact with substances such as chemicals, and also by having wet hands for long periods while at work. The commonest sites are the hands and forearms, and the severity can range from minor irritation to severe disabling painful conditions of the hands that prevent work and everyday activity. Sadly, without early detection of the problem, the skin can be affected for many years even after ceasing employment. The commonest problem is dermatitis, either irritant or allergic.
As an Employer, What should you do about it?
The good news is that although these problems are common they are preventable. There are simple, cost-effective steps employers and workers can take to avoid skin problems at work and to manage them if they do happen. Employers have a duty to assess the risk of skin problems developing in their workplace, putting controls in place to prevent problems, and arranging health surveillance if the risk cannot be eliminated. Gloves can cause significant problems in themselves.
When do you need Dermatological Screening
If you have staff who need to wash their hands regularly or need gloves to protect their hands, handle soaps, detergents or any of the agents used in the industries above, then you almost certainly should be providing regular health surveillance.
We can offer risk assessment, information and training to you and your staff, undertake health surveillance using a questionnaire and skin examinations.
Also, many agents that cause skin allergy are also known to cause allergic conditions of the nose, eyes, and asthma— we can offer advice on these aspects. Similarly, other agents such as oils can cause other skin conditions, sometimes affected by sunlight, and we are able to advise on the best approach.
What Dermatology Screening Provides
We would carry out a screening program that looks predominantly at the hands and arms of your employees.
Why We Do It?
To identify any areas of concern relating to possible skin exposure. To help you meet your legal requirements under Regulations and assist in good skin health.
How We Do It
We would complete a questionnaire with the employee that asks about substances being used now and in the past. Complete a physical examination of the hands and arms and ask about the care of skin in work. This would be followed by advice given at the time to the employee about skin care. A health record form would indicate that screening had been done and highlight areas for improvement, a copy of which would be sent to the manager.
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
- Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992
In 2002 the Health & Safety Executive estimated that there were 34,000 people in the UK suffering from skin problems caused by work.
All industries can be affected, the commonest being:
- Hair and beauty
- Catering/food industry
- Chemical work
- Rubber manufacturer
- Offshore work