Workplace chemicals and occupational dermatitis claims
An employer is responsible for protecting workers from occupational dermatitis. A breach can affect workers' health and lead to industrial disease claims.
Employers have a legal obligation to assess the risks presented by chemicals in the workplace and then eliminate hazards or provide employees with a less dangerous alternative.
Industrial disease solicitors deal with people who have suffered as a result of employers breaching this duty of care. When individuals contract the skin condition through their workplace, they are eligible to make occupational dermatitis claims against the business in question.
However, through adhering to health and safety regulations regarding chemicals, businesses can avoid such costly and time-consuming law suits and also defend themselves should one arise.
An employer's legal obligation
All industries need to protect employees' skin from occupational dermatitis. For example, construction workers are exposed to cement, healthcare staff work with disinfectants and hairdressers use peroxides and dyes on their clients. Regardless of the chemical or substance, it is important that businesses take the appropriate measures to completely eradicate hazards.
When following Control of Substances Hazardous Health Regulations, employers need to carry out a risk assessment on tasks involving chemicals and other substances, implementing ways to eliminate or reduce exposure to the skin. Such measures include:
· Substitution - replacing a substance with one that is safer for employees to use.
· Personal protective equipment- handing out hard hats, goggles, gloves and more to protect the skin from irritation.
· Control, training and monitor- ensuring that employees are supervised when using hazardous substances. They can also provide training on the safe use of chemicals and what to do in the event of an accident.
· Health monitoring- surveying a workforce for symptoms of ill health. This allows employees to identify the beginning of dermatitis and intervene should a worker develop the skin condition.
If an employer is negligent or fails to stick to their legal obligations, which then results in an individual developing the skin disease, the worker could be entitled to make a claim for dermatitis compensation.
Within such industrial disease cases, it is vital that the claimant is able to prove that they have developed occupational dermatitis as a result of their workplace. Medical evidence is required and the substance used must be deemed as potentially harmful to the skin.
During an occupational dermatitis claim, there are two types of compensation available. Firstly, claimants can receive a settlement for loss of amenity as the pain and suffering has resulted in the individual being unable function as they did prior to the skin condition. Also, compensation can be awarded for the losses endured as a result of dermatitis or if the individual has been unable to continue to work.
The employee's duty
If an employer has put all the appropriate measures in place to protect their workers from occupational dermatitis, employees are then responsible for following the processes and making full use of the protective equipment.
Employees can further protect themselves from the skin condition through barrier creams. Using mild cleansers and soaps to wash the skin after work is also effective, while an emollient cream can help replace moisture loss. Organisations could even provide their workforce with such ointments to prevent them from developing dermatitis, further protecting their business from occupational dermatitis claims.