Occupational Skin Disorders (OSDs) affected as many as 34,000 people in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s even higher than the 19,300 incidences of respiratory illness recorded during the same period.
Skin exposure to chemicals can go unnoticed and can be an even more significant route of exposure than the lung, OSHA said.
“When it comes to work-related health problems, many people think about back issues, respiratory issues or hearing loss, but skin problems occur far more often,” said Isabelle Faivre, Vice President Marketing, Deb North America.
“Organizations should assess risks in the workplace and develop policies and programs to prevent occupational skin disorders.”
The Deb Group, a skin care company, offers the following tips to avoid OSDs:
Substitute irritating workplace substances. Organizations should eliminate substances that may irritate the skin or cause skin problems by replacing them with more skin-friendly substances.
Technical measures to avoid/reduce skin contact should be implemented. Since the options for substances are often limited, organizations should use technical measures to reduce skin contact, such as capsuling machinery to avoid splashes on the skin.
Organize work to reduce skin contact. Organizations can rotate job positions among employees to limit longer and more intense exposure to harsh environments. Businesses can also change work procedures.
Personal Protective Equipment should be used to avoid contact with the skin. Gloves are often used to prevent skin contact. However, pre-work creams can also help. Pre-work creams can make wearing gloves more convenient, help to make skin easier to clean and keep the skin in natural condition.