If you’ve contracted a work related skin disease called dermatitis, and it wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to make a occupational dermatitis claim and receive compensation.
When you go to work, you expect that you’re going to be operating in a safe environment. You expect your employer to have carried out a thorough health and safety check, and that any potentially dangerous activities have been risk assessed for, and provisions have been put in place to keep you safe. You don’t expect to contract occupational dermatitis.
Dermatitis might at first glance appear like a minor injury, but the pain and discomfort caused by this skin condition can be frustrating at best, depressing, and painful at worse. And because it typically affects the hands, it can have a negative impact on your quality of life. From causing you time off work to preventing you from partaking in your hobbies.
In severe cases, it can mean having to stop work altogether, which in turn will have a knock on effect on your finances. Which isn’t fair. Why should you have to pay the price for your employer’s negligent behaviour?
If your employer has failed in their legal duty to keep you safe at work and you’ve developed dermatitis as a result of their negligence, you could be eligible to claim occupational dermatitis compensation.
To find out more about claiming compensation, or to begin a claim, call us free on 0800 234 6438 and speak to a trained legal advisor who, if they feel you have a claim, will put you in touch with specialist solicitors who will work on your behalf, on a no win no fee basis, to secure you maximum compensation for your injuries.
Occupational dermatitis is a skin condition caused by an allergic reaction to something in the workplace. It can be caused by chemicals, dust or other substances that are used at work. It may also be caused by heat, cold, or friction.
There are many different types of occupational dermatitis, but they all result from the same underlying mechanism: irritation. They can be classified based on the underlying cause, though it’s important to note that not every type of contact dermatitis will fit neatly into one category or another:
This is the most common type of occupational dermatitis and occurs when your skin comes into direct contact with an irritant such as bleach or metal salts used for galvanising steel products.
A rash may appear within hours or days after exposure depending on how severe it is; symptoms include redness and swelling that lasts around three weeks before resolving itself entirely on its own without treatment needed.
This type occurs when your skin comes into direct contact with something containing a hazardous substance you’re allergic to (e.g. nickel). If you develop an allergy after repeated exposure over time (such as through work), this puts you at risk for developing more severe symptoms such as hives, blisters and open sores that may require medical attention like antibiotics or steroid creams. It could even devolve into anaphylactic shock.
The most common symptoms of occupational dermatitis include itching, skin redness and swelling, blistering and scaly skin.
These symptoms are often worse at the end of the day because they build up during work hours. They can be painful—some people say they feel like a sunburn but more intense—and may include blisters. The damage may come back when you sweat or get wet after working in dry conditions for long periods of time.
The damage may also cause discolouration on your palms, especially if you use bleach regularly, or have been working with harsh chemicals without protection.
Occupational dermatitis is a skin condition that can occur as a result of exposure to an irritant or allergen. While occupational dermatitis can happen to anyone, the risk of developing this industrial disease is more likely if you work in certain industries, and you frequently use certain types of equipment.
People who work in certain professions, including hairdressers, cleaners and manufacturing workers, are more likely to develop occupational dermatitis, for example:
Occupational dermatitis can be caused by chemicals like paint, solvents or cleaning products, or dust, or other substances such as fabrics. It can also be caused by heat, cold, or friction.
There is no one single cause for occupational dermatitis either; many factors can contribute including how often you come into contact with a particular substance and how much exposure time you have each day.
The most common causes include:
Your employer has as duty of care to ensure your work environment is a safe place, and that you’re kept as safe as possible while you’re at work. They should follow the rules and regulations as laid out in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations.
The law says that your employer must take reasonable steps to assess the risk of skin disease in your workplace. They must also provide systems of work that are safe and suitable for employees. This includes providing personal protective equipment if appropriate, and health surveillance when needed.
Your employer should assess the risk of contracting skin diseases by considering the nature and duration of exposure to hazardous substances that may cause dermatitis. They must also consider whether you have been exposed to other known or suspected causes that may contribute to occupational dermatitis.
Your employer is not required to conduct in-depth scientific studies on every dangerous substance, but they do need to make sure they are aware of potential hazards and how they can be minimised, to prevent work related skin disease from occuring.
If you have been diagnosed with occupational dermatitis, as a result of your employer failing to meet their legal responsibilities, or by being negligent in their duty to protect you at work, then your employer may be liable for any injury caused by their failure to provide adequate protection from chemicals or other substances that can cause such a condition.
If you’ve been diagnosed with occupational dermatitis that was caused by your work, you should make a claim. It’s not right that you should suffer in pain and potentially incur financial losses because your employer was negligent in their legal duty to keep you safe at work.
Not only would a successful claim award you compensation to help you get back on with your life, but your case could help improve the health and safety situation at work, hopefully preventing anyone else having to go through what you’re going through.
The amount of compensation you could be awarded will depend on several factors including the severity of the condition and the impact it has on your quality of life. The damages you could be awarded are usually split into two categories, each covering specific aspects of your claim:
These compensate you for the pain and suffering your injuries have caused. Including the impact they’ve had on your life. You will normally be required to undergo a medical examination to determine this.
These compensate you for specific financial losses such as private medical bills, loss of earnings, travel costs, fees for carers while you heal, etc.
To give you an idea of how much your compensation settlement could be, the Judicial College Guidelines suggest:
In order to win personal injury claims, the claimant has to prove that they were injured through no fault of their own, and that someone else’s negligence resulted in their injuries.
So, your personal injury solicitor will need to prove:
It may be difficult to prove how exposure occurred, especially if it was something like a chemical spillage or fumes in the workplace. If this is the case, try to get other people who were also exposed to give statements as witnesses (you will need their contact details).
You should include any medical reports showing how the condition affects you physically and socially as well as any other evidence of its impact. You’ll also need to provide details of how long it took for treatment and recovery after leaving work due to occupational dermatitis.
If you believe you have an occupational dermatitis claim, call an advisor free on 0800 234 6438, for a free initial consultation and receive no obligation advice from personal injury specialists. If they feel you have a claim, your experienced personal injury lawyer will work on your case on a no win no fee basis, meaning you have nothing to pay upfront, nor will you have to pay a penny in legal fees if your claim isn’t successful. You have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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