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Occupational Dermatitis

Occupational dermatitis is one of the most common industrial diseases in the UK. It can also be called occupational eczema, and whilst it can affect any part of the body, occupational dermatitis typically affects the hands and/or face.


Many workplaces are full of irritants such as chemicals, dust and adhesives. Substances such as rubber, latex, petroleum, cement and metals can cause skin irritations and conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.  

Dermatitis can also be caused by frequent or prolonged exposure to water and if people regularly work with wet hands and are exposed to cleaning products, they are more likely to develop a condition like dermatitis.  

Surprisingly, contact with foods, such as sugar, flour, fruits, vegetables, spices, fish and meats account for around 40% of the occupational dermatitis cases seen by the HSE.  


Symptoms of occupational dermatitis include: 

  • redness to the skin  
  • a change or loss of colour of the skin 
  • itching 
  • blotchiness 
  • dry and cracked skin 
  • blistering 
  • swelling 

In severe cases, a life-threatening allergic reaction may occur, this is also known as anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. 


The first thing to do if you suspect you may have occupational dermatitis is to avoid whatever has triggered it; without exposure to the irritant, it should start to clear up. As this is not always possible or you may not be able to identify what has caused it, consult with a doctor who may prescribe emollients or moisturisers to help stop the skin from becoming dry. They may also prescribe topical corticosteroids to help relieve any severe symptoms.  

Making a claim for dermatitis 

Your employer has a duty of care to ensure you are safe at work. When working with hazardous or potentially hazardous substances, you should be provided with suitable personal protective equipment, such as gloves. If you have suffered with a skin condition that you believe is due to your employer’s negligence, get in touch with our specialist solicitors today. They will fully investigate whether you can make a claim and talk you through every step of the process.  

Contact us today on 01244 312306 or email All of our claims are dealt with on a no win, no fee basis.  

Call and speak to a member of our team on 01244 312306

James Cameron

Associate Director & Industrial Disease Solicitor

Helena Cameron

Director & Industrial Disease Solicitor

Eve Halliday

Trainee Solicitor

Helen Davies

Industrial Disease Paralegal

Lucy Metcalfe