Why Study Occupational Skin Disease?

Occupational skin disease including contact dermatitis and skin cancer are common skin conditions. People involved in wet work (e.g. dishwashers, cleaners, mechanics, hairdressers) are particularly vulnerable. In some industries, up to 15% of workers are affected.

Occupational contact dermatitis is caused either by contact with an irritant or by developing an allergy.  The hands are the most commonly affected site.

Workers affected suffer significant work disruption and interference with the activities of daily living. CREOD research shows that the key to better outcomes is shortening the time between the start of the rash and a definitive diagnosis. Prevention is the ultimate goal.

Despite the fact that effective prevention strategies for occupational skin diseases are known in many cases, implementation of such strategies is often lacking. There is a need to understand why prevention strategies are not implemented and what interventions will improve implementation by both employers and workers. It is unknown at what level the prevention strategies break down: regulatory, organizational, employer or worker.