Dermatitis: The Most Common Occupational Disease-February 2008

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety

February 2008

IN THIS ISSUE: Dermatitis: The Most Common Occupational Disease

Employers often concern themselves with protecting their employees from the chemicals that they breathe, yet skin contact may just as serious. Chemicals such as solvents, fuels, and caustics may remove the oils from the skin and make it more susceptible to damage by chemicals and sunlight.

Chemical agents often act as primary irritants and can affect exposed skin. Initial reaction may be redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin. This is called contact dermatitis. If contact is continued conditions may worsen. Some chemical agents are contact allergens and can affect persons who are sensitized. They often produce a reaction similar to contact dermatitis but occur only to persons who are sensitive.

“Dermatitis is the most common occupational disease,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, of OccuSafe, Inc, “Make sure you protect your employees from chemicals that can affect their skin.”

The best way to protect your employees against dermatitis is to read the MSDS and find out the effect on the skin.  If possible substitute an alternative that has less of an affect. Where that is not possible use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, barrier creams, and protective clothing.  It is important to check for warnings on your PPE because they too may affect the skin.

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or visit us at

OccuSafe Environmental and Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health.   OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Environmental and Safety Services, Inc.   Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.


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