Workplace prevention activities experienced by workers with contact dermatitis

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Title Workplace prevention activities experienced by workers with contact dermatitis
Year 2005
CREOD Investigators Irena Kudla, Michael Sidiropoulos, Chris Feng, Sharon Switzer-McIntyre, Linn Holness
CREOD Research Program Occupational Skin Disease
Research Theme Prevention
Funder Unfunded
Product Type Student Research project – clinical
Background The scientific literature contains few references describing the prevention practices in place for workers who develop work-related contact dermatitis (WRCD).
Study Focus (Research Question/Goals/
Methods)
We conducted a needs assessment pilot study to identify some common characteristics of workplaces in which workers develop CD. A survey was developed by the clinic team at the Occupational Disease Specialty Program at St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto), and administered to 17 patients/workers who: (1) had a positive diagnosis of CD, and (2) were employed but stopped work because of complications related to their skin disease. People without a single identifiable workplace but who worked at multiple sites were not included in the study, in order to localize causes to a specific workplace.
Key Findings Worker training

  • 75% reported WHMIS training (not specific to skin hazards) and having access to MSDS.

Worker exposures

  • More than three-quarters reported exposure to:
    • Metals
    • Oils and Lubricants
    • Solvents
    • Mechanical Irritation
    • Metalworking Fluids
    • Corrosives (Acids/Alkalis)
  • About half reported exposure to:
    • Wet Work
    • Glues/Adhesives/Sealants
    • Heat
    • Epoxy Compounds

Workplace environment

  • About two-thirds reported that skin and breathing problems were common at their workplace.
  • About one-quarter reported that their workplace conducted assessments for skin hazards. About 10% reported that there were skin protection programs in their workplace.

Accident and injury experience in the workplace

  • About half reported:
    • Incident reports were routinely filled out.
    • Routine reviews were conducted by the Joint Health & Safety Committee on injury/illness statistics.
    • Modified work was available for workers with skin problems.

Preventative strategies in the workplace

About three-quarters reported that their employers provided:

  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses

About two-thirds reported:

  • Cleanser
  • Goggles

About half reported:

  • Face shield
  • Coveralls

About one-quarter reported:

  • Moisturizer
  • Barrier cream
  • Apron plastic/vinyl
  • Cloth apron

Available health resources:

  • About three-quarters reported available and adequate washing facilities.
  • About one-quarter reported access to an occupational nurse/physician in the workplace, and pre-placement medical skin examinations.
Implications for Health/Labour Policy and Practice Our findings will be used to refine the OD Prevention Audit tool, which assists workplace parties and their partners in assessing potential skin exposure hazards in Ontario workplaces, and developing targeted CD prevention strategies.
Publication Information Publications

  • Kudla I. Prevention of occupational contact dermatitis: what is really happening?  Contact Dermatitis 2006;55(supp 1):46.
  • Kudla I, Sidiropoulos M, Holness DL. A decade of progress for research but what about the shop floor experience – an Ontario snapshot.  Dermatitis 2011;22:300-301.

Presentations

  • Kudla I, Sidiropoulos M, Feng C, Switzer-McIntyre S, Holness DL. Prevention of occupational contact dermatitis: what is really happening? European Society of Contact Dermatitis Annual Meeting, Berlin, September 2006.
  • Kudla I, Sidiropoulos M, Holness DL. A decade of progress for research but what about the shop floor experience – an Ontario snapshot.  OEESC 2011, Toronto, June 2011.