Contact Dermatitis. 2003 Dec;49(6):273-5.
There is little information available regarding barriers to return-to-work (RTW) in workers with contact dermatitis. The purpose of this study was to survey occupational health and safety personnel to determine their perceptions regarding RTW barriers for workers with contact dermatitis. The study was conducted during an occupational health and safety research conference attended by stakeholders from labour, management, injured workers, government, safety associations, occupational health and safety practitioners and researchers. The attendees were presented with 3 pictures of varying degrees of work-related hand contact dermatitis and were asked to list the 3 key barriers or challenges in RTW for individuals with contact dermatitis. 21 individuals completed the survey. Issues identified in descending order of frequency were concern of ongoing dermatitis, ability to do the job safely, appearance, ability to accommodate, personal protective equipment, fear that the rash was contagious, workplace attitudes and pain. While some of these issues are potentially common to RTW situations in general, others are more specific to health problems which have a visible manifestation. Increased awareness of and attention to these possible barriers to RTW may lead to better RTW outcomes.