Irritant contact dermatitis is a common injury in the workplace

One of the most common skin diseases in workplaces is irritant contact dermatitis. This skin condition is usually a result of toxic exposure. For example, if you're exposed to chemicals, your skin could suffer a reaction and become irritated, eventually developing contact dermatitis.

Irritant contact dermatitis causes many problems for the patients, but it also results in lost work days and a loss of productivity. The rate for workers' compensation claims varies by state, with some states having as few as 12 cases per 100,000 workers to states where it's 108 people reporting injuries per 100,000 workers.

There are many substances that could trigger an allergic reaction and dermatitis. Latex is one common irritant. It causes skin disorders in around 10 percent of exposed workers in the health care industry. Another possible irritant is a pesticide. Sometimes, the chemicals don't cause irritation right away, resulting in delayed hypersensitivity.

After exposure, the prognosis for patients is poor. It's been reported that approximately 75 percent of patients who suffer from irritant contact and allergic dermatitis end up developing a chronic skin disease. Since that's the case, the best thing employers can do is prevent exposure to toxins and irritants.

If you're exposed to toxins or irritants in the workplace, remember that you have a right to seek medical attention. Hives, also known as uticaria, may be the first sign that your skin is reacting to a dangerous or irritating substance. If you develop a long-lasting and life-changing skin disorder, it's wise to look into your legal options for long-term compensation. You'll need ongoing treatment.

Source: he National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), "National Occupational Research Agenda," accessed Dec. 27, 2017

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