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Injured at work or suffering from a work-related illness?

Your employer is responsible for minimising risks and hazards in the workplace. We can offer you the support and guidance you need on claiming compensation for injuries or illness caused by your work.

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Contact dermatitis is one of the most common work related diseases in the UK. It occurs when the skin comes into contact with harmful or irritating substances, causing the surface of the skin to become itchy, red or inflamed.

If an employer's negligence causes dermatitis (if they fail to provide employees with the appropriate safety equipment for example), the employee may be able to make a dermatitis claim.

Types of work related dermatitis

There are two types of dermatitis caused by contact with a specific substance: 

Allergic contact dermatitis

This type of dermatitis happens when the body's immune system has an abnormal reaction to a substance or allergen. This usually involves a red, itchy rash on the skin. The first time a person is exposed to this substance, the body will become 'sensitised' to it, and any future contact with it will provoke a similar reaction. Common causes of allergic contact dermatitis include: metals, cosmetics, rubber or latex, some glues and adhesives, preservatives and some plants.

Irritant contact dermatitis

This more common type of work related dermatitis occurs when a person comes into contact with an irritant over a prolonged period of time. This leads to a painful burning or stinging sensation and is often linked to eczema. Substances known to cause irritation include: disinfectants, detergents, perfumes in toiletries or cosmetics, machine oils, chlorinated or chalky water, dust, soil and some plant types.

We can help you make a dermatitis claim whichever type of contact dermatitis you're suffering from.

Work related dermatitis

Working with any of the substances or chemicals above can lead to the development of dermatitis, but some occupations are more likely to involve these chemicals than others. According to the NHS, the professions which pose the most risk of dermatitis are:

  • Hairdressing
  • Medical professions such as nursing or dentistry
  • Catering or food preparation
  • Construction and engineering
  • Printing and painting
  • Fishing and agriculture

It's important to note that working in conditions which are excessively dry, too hot or very cold can make the symptoms of dermatitis worse, as can any friction or rubbing of the affected area of skin.

When the employer does nothing to address these conditions, dermatitis claims can be made.

Treatment and prevention of dermatitis

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends an approach called APC - avoid, protect, and check. Firstly it's important to avoid contact with substances at work which can irritate your skin, either by using an alternative substance or by limiting your exposure to it. Under the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations, your employer should also monitor these levels and help you to avoid their harmful effects. 

Secondly, it's best to ensure your skin is protected at all times, which means using protective clothing like gloves when you work with irritants and allergens. Choosing the right gloves to protect against dermatitis is important, for example you may need a material that's waterproof, and allows movement.

Protecting your skin also includes washing it when you come into direct contact with chemicals, drying it thoroughly with paper towels and using gentle moisturisers to avoid skin drying out. Employers should provide easy access to hot and cold water for washing facilities, making sure that workers are aware of these measures.

Finally, checking the skin regularly for symptoms of dermatitis is a sensible measure. If signs are spotted early on, treatment is usually easier than if symptoms are more advanced.

Making a dermatitis claim

If your employer hasn't taken precautions to control harmful substances where you work, you may have developed dermatitis as a result. If so, you could be eligible to make a dermatitis claim on a risk-free, no win no fee basis.

Chemical Injuries

Chemical injury claims are often made for chemical burns and chemical poisoning. If you've come into contact with a harmful substance at work and your employer was to blame, we can help.


Calculate your claim

  • Minor Head Injuries £1450 - £8400
  • Whiplash (moderate) £5150 - £16400
  • Hip or Pelvis Injuries £2600 - £86000
  • Serious foot injuries £16400 - £25750
  • Simple arm fractures £4350 - £12600
  • Upper body injuries £2200 - £111000

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