Dermatitis, to scratch or not to scratch?
Sufferers of dermatitis are faced with many issues before making a claim. One of the issues with Dermatitis is the diagnosis, not many people are aware that they might have it or that work may be the cause of the issue. Many people from all kinds of working environments could have been affected however they will most likely have put it down to eczema or possibly just a heat rash.
Dermatitis in recent years
Generally there has been a decrease in the amount of dermatitis cases being diagnosed, however relating to a new survey completed by GP’s during the period of 2009-2011 it is suggested that there could be around 40,000 new cases of dermatitis a year and these are all work related cases. The problem with these cases is that they often go undiagnosed and potentially ignored or they are generally accepted by those people to be part of their job. Dermatitis is also gender relative according to recent stats. Between the years 2009-2011 women accounted for 68% of diagnosed cases whilst men only accounted for 32%. This isn’t gender specific with relation to the disease and symptoms, it is however related to gender through the work in which these genders are found. The stats reflect the industries more commonly associated with Beauty, Cleaning etc. This evidence along with the statistics of diagnosis coincides to confirm that with regard to dermatitis there are more reported instances within the female sector of the working environment. In the years 2011/2013 an estimated 9000-22000 people who had worked in the previous 12 months currently had skin problems caused by work.
Is Dermatitis and Eczema the Same thing?
The short answer is no however eczema is a form of dermatitis, dermatitis being the umbrella term for any condition that affects the skin. Like eczema the way in which dermatitis presents itself is similar, redness of the skin and itchiness. However the way in which dermatitis is presented is through an irritant or an allergic reaction is very different to symptoms caused by eczema.
Dermatitis affects many people every year and in most cases it can be traced back to their work place. Different work places can contribute in different ways mainly regarding the context of the work and the relationship between the employee and the materials/tools provided to them. There is also a stigma regarding the disease itself, for example a Hairdresser who uses several different forms of cleaning products will expect some form of issue with their skin possibly a dry or cracking because of the moist exposure.
What are the Workplaces and Causes of Dermatitis?
The main examples of workplaces that potentially cause dermatitis are Cleaners (kitchen workers, hospital staff) Factory workers (Engineers and printers). The main and obvious cause of work related dermatitis is chemical based interaction, cleaning products such as washing up liquid and bleach (http://www.hse.gov.uk/Statistics/causdis/dermatitis/index.htm). Dermatitis can be passed through dust based particles. Dust based dermatitis can seem like a myth with dust based industrial injuries being more related to other industrial injuries such as asthma. However the particles within the dust can cause a reaction when they come into contact with the skin.
What to do if you have symptoms of Dermatitis
It is essential that the employer makes sure that their employees are always given the right protection whether it is gloves or some form of jacket to stop interaction with the skin. If the employer is notified of the issue and no action is taken regarding protection then the employee can seek compensation for this type of injury. If you feel that your condition is related to work then contact us at Roberts Jackson Solicitors on 0800 001 4496 for free advice on the next steps to take.