23 February 2015
450% Increase in Dermatitis in Healthcare Workers
A new study has discovered a 450% increase in work-related dermatitis amongst healthcare workers following a drive to get frontline hospital staff to wash their hands more frequently.
The campaign to increase hand washing was introduced to reduce the spread of superbugs but has led to many staff getting irritated, damaged and sometimes even cracked or bleeding skin.
Hospital and clinic staff developed irritant contact dermatitis, which is a skin condition that develops following frequent exposure to a weak irritant like soap or detergent that damages the outer layer of skin. The condition is accompanied by a burning or stinging sensation and makes the skin look red and feel itchy.
Work related or industrial dermatitis is an industrial disease that can be caused by many different materials and chemicals so it’s not just healthcare professionals that are at risk. It is one of the major, and most common, occupational skin diseases in the UK and it is caused by a person coming into contact with a hazardous or toxic substance at work, or repetitive use of a mild chemical such as soap.
So it’s not just healthcare workers that develop skin conditions. Builders can often find they have developed industrial dermatitis after working with concrete or cement without gloves. People who regularly handle coins and notes in banks have reported skin conditions as currency is often dirty.
Employers have a legal duty to ensure that you are safe at work and this includes assessing if you are at risk of contracting dermatitis. Any risks should be looked at and employers should prevent you from using substances that could harm, redesign the job to eliminate chemicals altogether, or provide you with suitable clothing and gloves to protect your skin at work.
Skin conditions can be incredibly painful and sometimes mean that carrying on with the work that you were doing is impossible. You may be able to claim Industrial Disease compensation if the employer didn’t ensure that you were safe at work.
As the Claimant, you would have to prove that there had been a breach of the duty of care that the employer has or that they were negligent in some way and this had caused the skin problem. You would also have to be able to prove that the employer knew that the materials or substances you were handling would have left you at risk of developing dermatitis.
For expert legal advice on what to do if you have a work related disease or industrial dermatitis call Slater and Gordon Lawyers for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.
Immediate legal representation and rehabilitation support are available anywhere in the UK.
Slater and Gordon are a leading personal injury law firm with 1,450 staff and 18 offices in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Cambridge, Halifax, Merseyside, Sheffield, Newcastle, Wakefield, Derby and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.