Skin allergies or conditions such as dermatitis (or eczema) can be caused by chemical, biological or physical substances in the workplace. Dermatitis covers many different disorders that all result in a red, itchy rash and as the condition worsens, the skin can become swollen, flaky and cracked. Dermatitis is the skin’s reaction to severe dryness, scratching, an irritating substance or an allergen.

Dermatitis can occur in just about any workplace though it is most commonly suffered by cleaners, healthcare workers, caterers, printers and engineers. The most common cause of dermatitis in the workplace is either an irritating substance or an allergen. Irritant dermatitis is caused by substances that dry out and damage the skin, such as oils, solvents and detergents. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by substances high in allergens such as foodstuffs, chemicals and building materials.

Regulations state that employers should protect their workers from any potentially harmful substance that might cause dermatitis or eczema. Employers are under a duty to provide Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, overalls and masks. Dermatitis occurs where an employer fails to provide any Health & Safety equipment or it is not suitable for that type of work. 

For a claim for occupational dermatitis to be successful a link must be shown between your exposure to a skin irritant or allergen and subsequent symptoms. The symptoms may have only become apparent recently or if you already have dermatitis but your symptoms have been worsened by exposure, then you should seek both medical and legal advice immediately. 

As with most industrial disease claims, time is of the essence as you have a 3 year period within which to bring a personal injury claim. The time limit generally runs from the date of diagnosis but this is not always the case and you should therefore act quickly and seek the appropriate advice.

If you have been diagnosed with dermatitis as a result of your working environment, complete our Online Enquiry Form and one of our lawyers will contact you to discuss how you can make a claim for your injuries.

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