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Skin diseases may stem from conditions at work

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Many employees focus on remaining safe from accidents that can injure them. Even when they are being as cautious as possible, there are still some hazards that likely remain. One that some individuals may not have thought about is contaminants and other substances that affect the skin.

Skin diseases are one of the most common illnesses that impact people in the workforce. Up to 40 percent of workers will have problems with their skin during their career. There are many different things that contribute to these issues.

The many causes

Irritants, including chemicals like bleach and ammonia, are necessary for many industrial applications. These have a negative impact on the skin, if the skin is exposed to these irritants. Temperature swings, exposure to sunlight for prolonged periods and unclean air are other contributing factors. Holding items for long periods or having tools, such as ropes, move through the hands or along the skin can cause friction burns or blisters.

Sometimes, the problem is caused by unsanitary conditions that expose workers to things that irritate the skin. Therefore, having hand-washing stations are critical in factories and other brick and mortar workplaces. Potable water is essential in work places like fields and construction zones where having a dedicated water source isn’t possible.

A serious issue for workers

Around 10 to 15 percent of occupational illnesses are caused by diseases of the skin. On average, these will cause a worker to miss work for two months. It is possible that the problem will persist over a long period, even if the worker is able to return to their duties. Around 75 percent of workers who have occupational dermatitis will have a chronic skin disease.

The burden for reducing or eliminating hazards that may lead to these skin problems falls on the employer, not the employees. Businesses must ensure that they are providing workers with healthy air and safe working conditions, even when they pertain to the skin.

Employees who believe they have a skin disease or other occupational disease caused by work must get medical care right away. This can lead to treatments that can reduce the chances of a long-term health issue. Workers’ compensation coverage should be able to help you to pay for the care. Benefits are also possible for those who have to miss work due to these problems.