Working in certain conditions can be dangerous to the human body, but skin problems may not be the first issue that people think of when it comes to work injuries. There are many skin-related conditions, called Occupational Skin Diseases and Disorders, which result from on-the-job contact. Some skin issues can develop over time, due to long-term exposure.
Working outdoors in the summer or in the strong sun can lead to increased sun exposure, which is a leading cause of skin cancer. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, approximately 175,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in this country in 2018, up 50 percent from only 10 years ago.
Construction workers, lifeguards, landscaping employees, and others who spend time outside need to protect their skin from strong solar rays. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including protective clothing, glasses, protective helmets, neck shields, and sunscreen should all be used regularly, once employees are instructed on their proper usage.
Chemical Exposure, Burns, and More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that chemicals are the leading cause of work-related skin problems. An employee’s skin can also become exposed through immersion, splashing, sprays, or direct contact with a polluted surface. In addition to the skin’s initial reaction, the chemicals can also enter the employee’s blood stream, causing immediate or long-term detrimental health effects and diseases.
Extreme hot or cold temperatures in the workplace may lead to critical skin burns, lesions, cancer, and frostbite. Blood borne diseases, including Lyme disease, can be linked to plant and animal materials, parasites, and microorganisms. In addition, mechanical trauma from cuts, friction, contusions and lacerations may lead to serious infections. Again, the best defense against these is PPE plus employee education.
Other Work-Related Skin Problems
Hives can be a symptom of an allergic reaction to chemicals, plants, animals, and many kinds of natural and man-made materials. Contact dermatitis can result from working with harmful chemicals. In these cases, the skin becomes inflamed when exposed to the chemical agent. Symptoms include blisters, cracked skin, itching, redness, swelling, and pain.
Another type of dermatitis is Irritant Contact Dermatitis, when the damage is localized to the contact site. Allergic Contact Dermatitis, which can be more severe, can lead to a significant systemic reaction in the body.
Skin Issues & Workers’ Compensation
Some industries are more likely to cause work-related skin conditions and diseases. These include construction, emergency response, health care, public safety, outdoor work, and laboratory and research facilities. Some of these work-related skin conditions will be covered under Worker’s Compensation, including skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure, burns, dermatitis, and other serious conditions.
The most acute cases may also lead to temporary or permanent disability for the worker. However, it must be proven that the skin problems were a direct result of the employee’s occupation.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Victims of Work-Related Skin Issues
If you or someone you care for has experienced an on-the-job skin injury or disease, we can help. Contact an experienced, compassionate Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. We will help you get the compensation that you are entitled to. Call 302-888-1221 or complete our online form for a free consultation.