skip to content

Occupational Health


Occupational skin disease is important and a common health problem. Repeated skin irritation or skin sensitisation can lead to dermatitis. If signs of dermatitis are detected early enough, and exposure to the substances responsible reduce, this will reduce the skin disorder but if left untreated, dermatitis can become irreversible. If skin becomes sensitised, a small amount of exposure to the responsible substance can trigger a bad reaction.

Substances that are known to cause skin irritation or sensitisation include:

  • epoxy resins
  • latex, rubber chemicals
  • soaps and cleaners
  • metalworking fluids
  • wet work
  • enzymes and wood
  • corrosive and irritating chemicals.

Signs and symptoms include the skin becoming:

  • red
  • inflamed
  • blistered
  • dry
  • thickened
  • cracked

See images and what it feels like to get dermatitis

Health surveillance may be required under the COSHH regulations 2002, where following risk assessment and having considered all control measures, this is indicated. Health surveillance such as skin checks will help to identify the early symptoms of dermatitis.  The earlier the health effect is recognised the better the prognosis for the sufferer. Health surveillance can also show whether an adequate standard of control is being maintained.

Health surveillance will include an assessment of workers' skin condition as soon as possible after they start a relevant job to provide a baseline assessment and thereafter regular checks by a competent person within the department or Occupational Health dependent on the risk assessment and individual

For more information on skin diseases at work see here