Can you Get Dermatitis From Working in a Factory?

Posted on: 1 min read
Deborah Krelle

Partner, Head of Industrial Disease

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This article was updated on 28 July 2022.

Work-related dermatitis can occur when skin comes into contact with chemicals, glues, soaps, oils, detergents and other irritants. Perhaps most surprisingly, dermatitis can also occur from over-exposure to water.

Of course, factory workers fall into a category of workers who are at risk of coming into contact with irritants and developing dermatitis. Other at-risk jobs include hairdressers, cleaners, mechanics and engineers.

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Even doctors, nurses and other hospital workers can be at risk of developing dermatitis through exposure to latex in gloves and/or excessive washing of their hands.

If you suffer from work-related dermatitis, you may be entitled to compensation. For free legal advice, get in touch with our Industrial Disease Solicitors. We may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis - ask us for details.

Dermatitis in the workplace FAQs

Under the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Regulations, an employer has an obligation to:

  • regularly review chemicals being used - any chemicals that workers may be exposed to must be replaced with less harmful chemicals if there is an alternative;
  • reasonably control exposure to chemicals through personal protective equipment – this includes gloves and masks – and adequate washing facilities. Employers must maintain and enforce the use of protective equipment and clothing;
  • prevent employees from being exposed to chemicals wherever possible;
  • undertake health screening and surveillance of workers/employees;
  • provide training, instruction and information on appropriate precautions and actions to protect workers.

The causes of dermatitis will be prevalent in a factory, so the onus is on the employer to ensure that the risks of exposure are minimised. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that, when a worker or employee comes into contact with these chemicals, adequate protection is given.

An employer must also provide warnings relating to the risks of handling any chemicals. Further to this, they must also ensure that the chemicals used are regularly reviewed.

Symptoms of dermatitis include redness, dryness, itching, and the skin feeling coarse or cracked. Cracked hands can lead to bleeding, further sores, and skin infections. Dermatitis can affect any part of the body, including the face, but it mostly affects the hands.

Dermatitis can be both irritating and painful. When present on the hands, it can result in difficulty undertaking everyday tasks. If dermatitis is on visible areas, such as the hands or face, it can also have a psychological impact on the sufferer, making them self-conscious and depressed. Relieving the symptoms can take anywhere from a couple of weeks or months, or it can be a condition that repeatedly flares up throughout your lifetime.

Dermatitis is an Industrial Disease as prescribed by the Department of Work and Pensions. This means that anyone who is suffering from a work related dermatitis could be entitled to Industrial Disease Disablement Benefit.

It is important to note that any benefits claimed will be deducted from the overall value of your claim if you decide to take legal action. However, if you’ve already suffered financial setbacks because of your condition, we would still advise applying for these benefits.

Our specialist Industrial Disease Solicitors will be able to help and advise you further.

As with any claim, the amount of compensation you receive for developing dermatitis at work will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Financial losses – you may need to take time off work as a result of your condition or consider taking a lower paid job elsewhere if you’re no longer able to carry out your current role.
  • How much support and rehabilitation you need – for some, ongoing and regular treatment may be needed to manage the dermatitis.
  • Pain and suffering – chronic dermatitis can be painful and the level of suffering you’ve gone through will be considered when valuing your claim.

When you instruct us, we’ll offer you a free claims assessment where we’ll listen to the details of your situation and let you know if we think you have a strong claim for compensation.

You will have three years from when you were first diagnosed or started experiencing symptoms to make a claim.

Our Industrial Disease Solicitors are experts and will fill out all the necessary paperwork on your behalf to ensure that all the relevant deadlines are met. Get in touch today to see if we could help you on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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