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Health and Safety

Skin Hazards

Many people in Great Britain suffer from skin disease caused by their work; most of which results from exposure to chemicals. Injuries to workers' skin from cuts, burns, abrasions, and work induced skin cancer and contact and allergic dermatitis is responsible for the loss of nearly a million working days a year.

Skin disease affects people in nearly all industries. In 1995, HSE estimated there to be 66,000 people in Great Britain suffering from skin disease caused by work, about two thirds of which were dermatitis or eczema. Commonly implicated agents include latex/rubber, soaps and cleaners, nickel, chromium and wet work.

HSE dermatitis advises suggests to employers that they ask themselves four questions

- Is there a problem?
- What are we using?
- Is there a safer alternative?
- Is there a safer way of doing the job?

Links

HSE, skin at work pages

Work related dermatitis: It's in your hands leaflet

UNISON Information sheet on dermatitis

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health - COSHH

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

TUC raises skin problems
Employers are showing a 'shameful' lack of concern for the health and safety of their employees, the TUC has said.
PDF version available for download
11 May 2007

Soap firm settles for scaly skin
Toiletries giant PZ Cussons has paid out £10,000 to a former employee who developed occupational dermatitis.
PDF version available for download
16 March 2007

Staff get sun cream to stop skin cancer
Hundreds of council staff are to be given sun cream to protect them from skin cancer.
PDF version available for download
11 August 2006

Trust fined for latex blunder
The health trust running Swindon's Great Western Hospital has been fined after a nurse with a known allergy to latex was given latex gloves to wear.
PDF version available for download
14 July 2006

It's in your hands
A new short guide to work-related dermatitis and its prevention is available on the TUC website.
PDF version available for download
30 June 2006

London seeks to lead Britain in the challenge to secure better health and safety at work
A world class city must have world class workplaces, that means aspiring to and achieving world class standards of health and safety at work – not for some, but for all. And the roadmap for turning that dream into a reality includes there being a health and safety rep in every workplace in London and a positive and meaningful partnership between that rep, the employer, unions and the Health and Safety Executive. Those are the key messages from an event (today) organised by HSE London and the Southern and Eastern Region TUC for more than 200 London based health and safety reps.
19 November 2004

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