Skin conversation

Work-related skin disease can affect people in a wide range of occupations. It can be caused or exacerbated through exposure to a physical, chemical or biological agent, mechanical force, or by wearing gloves for too long, resulting in excessive sweating and hyperhydration.

Occupational skin disease is usually caused by contact and it follows that, where there is no contact, there is no contact skin disease. Based on this premise, occupational skin disease is therefore preventable and is subject to the same risk management controls as other health and safety risks.

Skin conservation is a method of carefully managing the risk of skin problems through:

  • Elimination or reduction of risk through good COSHH and Risk Assessment
  • Good skin hygiene and care arrangements
  • Employee awareness training
  • Correct selection and use of gloves, including donning and doffing training
  • Competent health surveillance and investigation
  • Review of risk assessment.
Example occupationsExamples of irritants Examples of sensitisers 
Agricultural workersArtificial fertilisers, cleaning products, diesel, disinfectants, dust including soil and food products, gasoline, oils, pesticides, plants, solvents, wet-work.Animal feeds, barley, cement, fungicides, germicidal products, oats; plants; pesticides, veterinary medications, wood dust, preservatives, wool.
BakersAcids; detergents; wet-work.Ammonium persulphate, benzoyl peroxide, dyes, essential oils, enzymes, flavours; flour, some fruits.
BartendersDetergents, disinfectants, scale- removers,wet-work.Formaldehyde, some fruits.
Beauticians (Nails)Dusts, acetone, disinfectants.Ethylmethacrylate, methylmethacrylate.
Butchers and abattoir workersAcids and alkalis, detergents, waste products, wet-work.Animal proteins, formaldehyde, latex rubber protein, nickel, sawdust.
Cabinet makers and carpentersDetergents, glues, solvents, thinners, wood dust, wood preservatives.Colophony, dyes, fungicides, glues, turpentine, varnishes, wood dust.
Carpet layersAdhesives, dusts.Adhesives, mites, fungus, animal waste.
CleanersDetergents, other cleaning products, solvents, wet-work.Formaldehyde, germicidal agents.
Construction workersCement, dusts, solvents, sand, wet-work, building materials.Cement, chromium, chromium compounds, cobalt, epoxy resins, nickel, resins, thiuram in gloves, wood dust.
Cooks and caterersAcids and alkalis, bleaching agents, detergents, vegetable juices, wet-work. Flavours (some types), formaldehyde, garlic, sodium metabisulphite, spices (some).
Dentists and dental techniciansDetergents, wet-work.Dental impression material, disinfectants, eugenol, local anaesthetics (some), mercury, methacrylates, latex rubber free protein.
Doctors, nurses and othersDisinfectants, detergents, wet-work.Latex gloves, some anaesthetics, antibiotics and antiseptics, phenothiazines, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, liquid chloroxylenol.
ElectriciansFibre glass, soldering fluxes.Epoxy resins, rubber, isocyanates, soldering fluxes, dusts.
Floor-layersSolvents.Cement; epoxy resins; house mites; wood; wood dust.
Florists and gardenersCompost, fertilisers, pesticides, wet-work, soil, preservatives.Plants, pesticides, insecticides.
Foundry workersDust, sand.Chromium, cobalt, nickel, phenol/urea-formaldehyde resins.
HairdressersBleaching agents, dyes, permanent wave solutions, shampoos, wet-work.Dyes, nickel, persulphates, perfumes, latex rubber protein, amine based chemicals, including parphenylene diamine (ppd).
Hospital and care home workersDetergents, disinfectants, wet-work.Latex rubber protein, medicines.
Metal workersCutting oils /fluids, solvents, metal shavings/dusts.Additives/preservatives in cutting fluids, chromium, nickel.
MechanicsCleaners, diesel, gasoline, greases, oils, solvents.Chromium, epoxy resin, nickel.
Motor vehicle repairersAggressive hand cleaning products, fuels, oils, paints, solvents.Chromium, cobalt, epoxy resins, nickel.
PaintersAggressive hand cleaners, solvents, thinners, wallpaper adhesives including antibacterial/mould agents.Turpentine, thinners, chromium, formaldehyde, epoxy products, polyester resins.
Photographic industry workersSolvents, wet-work.Chromium, colour developers, para-aminophenol, formaldehyde, hydroquinone; sodium metabisulphite.
PrintersSolvents.Colophony, formaldehyde, metals in resins/inks, resins and hardeners, turpentine.
Rubber products workersSolvents, talc, uncured rubber, zinc stearate.Colophony, dyes, rubber conditioning chemicals, different amines and epoxy resins.
VeterinariansDisinfectants, wet-work.Some anaesthetics, antibiotics and antiseptics, chloroxylenol, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, latex
Agents Type of workers
Foods, spices, herbs Cooks, food preparation workers, other kitchen workers
Food additives, e.g: Cinamic acid, benzaldehyde, benzoic acid, albumin Cooks, food preparation workers, other kitchen workers, bakers and millers
Animal hair Animal husbandry worker, veterinarians and nurses, laboratory workers
Latex proteins Health care workers, animal husbandry workers, veterinarians, laboratory workers
Topical drugs Health care workers, pharmaceutical workers
Disinfectants Hairdressers, cleaners, kitchen staff
Resins Construction workers, resin manufacturing, printers, nail technicians
Chemicals used in rubber production Rubber processing workers
Agents Type of workers
Foods, spices, herbs Cooks, food preparation workers, other kitchen workers
Food additives, e.g: Cinamic acid, benzaldehyde, benzoic acid, albumin Cooks, food preparation workers, other kitchen workers, bakers and millers
Animal hair Animal husbandry worker, veterinarians and nurses, laboratory workers
Latex proteins Health care workers, animal husbandry workers, veterinarians, laboratory workers
Topical drugs Health care workers, pharmaceutical workers
Disinfectants Hairdressers, cleaners, kitchen staff
Resins Construction workers, resin manufacturing, printers, nail technicians
Chemicals used in rubber production Rubber processing workers
Warning - Harmful in contact with skin

Warning:

H312: Harmful in contact with skin

H315: Causes skin irritation

H317: may cause an allergic skin reaction

Danger - Causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Danger:

H314: Causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Danger - Fatal in contact with skin

Danger:

H310: Fatal in contact with skin

H311: Toxic in contact with skin

 EUH066: Repeated exposure may cause skin dryness and cracking

Is health surveillance a legal requirement?

Skin surveillance is required under Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations or the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations where:

It should relate to the type and extent of exposure and be based on available knowledge of risks to health. Examples of where health surveillance is appropriate under the criteria of Regulation 11(2)(b) are:

Skin health surveillance is required where there is residual risk to health following the implementation of your safe system of work. Risk assessments should indicate the level of your risk and the need for additional control measures and personal protective equipment (PPE).

You may have risk of occupational skin disease if:

skin check competent person training
Services we provide
Sector specific guidance
Customer feedback
“The advice we have received from Peritus has been extremely valuable when managing the wellbeing of our staff. The professional of the Peritus team and the speed that we can access appointments and advice is first class. The portal is easy to use and a good reference tool for monitoring individual cases.”

Principal, Waterhead Academy, Oldham

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We are here to make the occupational health and hygiene process as easy as possible.

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We are here to make the occupational health and hygiene process as easy as possible.