Workplaces Susceptible To Occupational Dermatitis

Occupational dermatitis is a prevalent industrial disease amongst the UK workforce. The Health and Safety Executive estimate that 84,000 people in the workforce are current living with a form of dermatitis which was either caused as a direct consequence of their work or exacerbated by their work activities.

It is so common an occupational illness that 13% of all workplace illnesses reported to the UK Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) act relate to occupational dermatitis.

The food and catering industry is a particularly “at risk” profession with around 8,400 people who work in the industry suffering from occupational dermatitis. It is their prolonged work with water, detergents and soaps which causes well over half of all cases of the condition. Roughly the other half of incidences of the condition are caused by the prolonged direct handling of different food stuffs such as sugar, spices, fish, fruits, vegetables and flour.

Occupations at a higher risk

If you work in one of the following industries you would be at a higher risk of developing either allergic or irritant occupational dermatitis than workers in other industries.

  • Agricultural workers
  • Artists
  • Aircraft workers
  • Bakers
  • Beauticians
  • Bookbinders
  • Butchers
  • Carpenters
  • Cleaners
  • Coal miners
  • Confectioners
  • Cooks
  • Construction workers
  • Caterers
  • Cleaners
  • Dental workers
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Florists
  • General manufacturing
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Hairdressers
  • Jewellers
  • Machine operators
  • Mechanics
  • Medical workers (doctors, nurses, care home workers, etc.)
  • Metal workers
  • Office workers
  • Painters
  • Petrochemical workers
  • Plating workers
  • Printers
  • Textile workers
  • Vehicle assemblers
  • Vets

If you work in one of the above industries in the UK your employer should be following the guidelines as set out in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations which are there to help mitigate risks to employees’ health. Read more about how to prevent occupational dermatitis in the workplace and also what your employer should be doing to protect your health in the respective sections on this site.