Work-related contact dermatitis

On this page you will find information and advice about how to prevent your employees from developing work-related contact dermatitis.

What you must do

You must assess the risks to your employees of developing contact-related dermatitis.

Where there is a risk, you must provide adequate control measures, information, instruction and training.

What you should know

Work-related contact dermatitis is a skin disease caused by work. It is often called eczema and develops when the skin is damaged. This leads to redness, itching, swelling, blistering, flaking and cracking. The most susceptible parts of the body are the hands, followed by the forearms and face. It can be severe enough to keep you off work or even force you to change jobs.

You can prevent dermatitis developing with a few simple measures:

  • Avoid contact with cleaning products, food and water where possible, eg use a dishwasher rather than washing up by hand, use utensils rather than hands to handle food.
  • Protect your skin. Where you can, wear gloves when working with substances that can cause dermatitis and moisturise your hands to replenish the skin's natural oils.
  • Check your hands regularly for the early stages of dermatitis, ie itchy, dry or red skin. These symptoms should be reported to a supervisor, as treatment is much more effective if dermatitis is caught early.

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Updated: 2023-11-14