A closer look at occupational skin disorders and prevention
Each day, hundreds of members of the Minnesota workforce are exposed to harsh environmental conditions while performing routine job responsibilities. Extended exposure to severe conditions can have many lasting side effects that can affect a person’s health, quality of life and ability to continue working.
According to the Safety and Health Magazine, occupational skin disorders are one of the most common illnesses that workers experience. In fact, working with chemicals that can be easily absorbed into a person’s skin is a risk that nearly 13 million American workers face each day. People who work in construction, food service, health care and cosmetology are at higher risk because of the constant contact with various chemicals required by their job responsibilities. Exposure that causes skin disorders can happen through inhalation, immersion or even contact with an unexpected splash of chemical.
Preventing occupational skin disorders is possible with proper training and education. Some of the precautions that people can take include the following:
- Engineering controls
- Protective equipment
- Hazard elimination
- Administrative control
- Incorporation of less hazardous alternatives
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that occupational skin disorders can take on several different forms including the following:
- Skin cancer
- Allergic dermatitis
- Irritant dermatitis
- Skin injuries
- Skin infections
Workers who suspect they are experiencing an occupational skin disorder should look for obvious symptoms such as swelling, pain, blisters, itching and redness of the epidermis. Because people are generally more focused on keeping workers safe from inhaling dangerous chemicals, there is currently a lack of solutions for workers affected by skin exposure at work.