If a person comes into contact with a particular substance – such as an irritant or allergen – they may develop contact dermatitis. This condition, a type of eczema, can damage a sufferer's skin in a number of ways, such as causing the affected area to become inflamed, blistered, cracked, or dry.
Traditionally, staff members who frequently work with irritants may be more likely than other individuals to suffer the effects of contact dermatitis. For example, this condition is especially prevalent in industries such as cleaning, catering, construction and nursing.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), around 1,000 nurses develop contact dermatitis every year while carrying out their jobs. As these individuals may regularly wash their hands, as well as disinfect surfaces, perhaps it is no surprise that so many nurses are at risk of suffering this condition. In addition to this, medical practitioners might wear latex gloves as part of their work – a type of rubber which may result in an allergic reaction, potentially also causing wearers to develop contact dermatitis.
In order to prevent staff members from suffering ill health due to chemical exposure, employers should adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). As contact dermatitis can result in a number of adverse affects, employers should implement suitable steps to minimise exposure to materials which might cause this condition.
However, between 2008 and 2009, the HSE conducted an investigation across several NHS hospitals in order to determine if these institutions were adequately adhering to the requirements of COSHH.
Rather worryingly, the inspectors discovered that 70% of the premises visited had an "incomplete or flawed system" for identifying or reporting incidences of contact dermatitis. Moreover, after interviewing a number of healthcare workers, 46% stated they had suffered problems with their skin – in some cases, this could have included dermatitis.
Although 34% of the NHS hospitals ensured training was provided to staff members on hand washing and alcohol gels, the HSE researchers discovered that – generally – this information did not include advice about the symptoms, causes, or how to prevent contact dermatitis.
These findings suggest that many NHS institutions could be failing to adequately prevent staff members from suffering this skin condition. Potentially, this could render them liable if those adversely affected decide to pursue a hospital worker dermatitis claim.
Making a hospital worker dermatitis claim through Seth Lovis & Co
If you have developed contact dermatitis and your condition was caused by the negligence of your employer, you may be entitled to claim compensation through Seth Lovis & Co.
Based in the heart of London, our team of experienced solicitors have helped numerous hospital workers receive damages – and they could potentially help you as well.
Please call our department today on 0370 218 4025 to find out if you are entitled to receive contact dermatitis compensation. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us through our online enquiry form.