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You are in: Home | Personal Injury | Industrial Diseases | Dermatitis

Personal Injury Compensation Claims relating to Work-Related Dermatitis

What is Dermatitis?
  Information about Dermatitis
What is Work-Related Dermatitis?
  Information about Work-Related Dermatitis
Treatment of Eczema and Dermatitis
  Treatments available for sufferers of eczema and dermatitis
Protecting yourself from skin disease
  How to prevent developing dermatitis
News Stories about Occupational Dermatitis
  News Stories we have published about dermatitis
Work-Related Dermatitis Cases we have fought and won
  Details of some work-related dermatitis claims we have dealt with
Personal Injury Compensation Claim Advice
  How to make a claim for compensation if you develop occupational dermatitis

What is Dermatitis?

Information about Dermatitis

Dermatitis literally means "inflammation of the skin" and is a term used to describe many different skin conditions.  Dermatitis is probably more commonly known as eczema and the two most common types are Irritant Contact Dermatitis and Allergic Contact Dermatitis.

Eczema or Dermatitis is a common childhood condition which often vanishes by the time a person reaches adulthood; however, in some cases a person can suffer with eczema or dermatitis for their whole life.

If you only develop eczema or dermatitis later on in life or if your condition significantly worsens later in life then there is a chance that it could have been caused by your working conditions.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

A person suffering from Allergic contact dermatitis or eczema is likely to suffer from very sensitive skin which reacts to certain foods and other allergens such as dust, enzymes or animal hair.  Their skin will become inflamed, itchy and red in colour when they come into contact with the allergen and if they scratch their skin until the skin is broken, it is then open to bacterial infections.  Allergic Contact Dermatitis or eczema can affect a person's whole body but the most common areas tend to be behind the knees or inside the folds of the elbows.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

A person suffering from Irritant Contact Dermatitis will probably develop the skin condition on their hands as it is caused by coming into direct contact with an irritant such as glue, cleaning products or other chemicals.

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What is Work-Related Dermatitis?

Information about Work-Related Dermatitis

Conditions within workplaces have been known to cause dermatitis or make a person's condition worse who already suffers from dermatitis or eczema.

For example, a person who comes into contact with dust, chemicals or enzymes at work without the proper protective clothing may go on to develop dermatitis or eczema on the exposed body parts such as the face and hands.

Some common causes of dermatitis include coolants, oils, dyes, plants and fungi as well as frequent contact with water.  Some of the professions thought to be most at risk of contracting work-related dermatitis include kitchen workers, hospital staff, manufacturing or factory workers, hairdressers, cleaners, printers and engineers.

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Treatment of Eczema and Dermatitis

Treatments available for sufferers of dermatitis

There is no cure for dermatitis; however, there are treatments available which can ease the discomfort and pain.  Ointments and creams including steroid creams will be available on prescription from a doctor. 

A person suffering from eczema or dermatitis can also take measures within their own lifestyle to minimise their symptoms.  The following guidelines have been known to help:

  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Pat the skin dry with a towel rather than rubbing it
  • Avoid using perfumed soaps and other cosmetics
  • Avoid contact with any irritant or allergen you notice which causes the dermatitis to flare up

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Protecting yourself from skin disease

How to prevent developing dermatitis

If you are working with hazardous substances at work, your employer should already be aware of the harm any substances you are working with can cause you.  As the first priority, your employer should evaluate whether an alternative substance could be used instead which is safer.

If this is not a possibility, your employer should then arrange for you to have the minimal amount of contact with the substance by using splash guards or extractors for example.

As a final resort, your employer should provide you with protective clothing to wear such as gloves or overalls which prevent the substance from coming into contact with your skin.  Providing this protective clothing is made available to you, it is your responsibility as an employee to wear the clothing at all times and protect yourself.

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News Stories about Occupational Dermatitis

News Stories we have published about dermatitis

In the past we have published news stories about occupational dermatitis on this website.  To read the stories follow the links below or visit our Work Disease News page.

JCB pays damages to GMB member after failing to provide gloves to stop skin condition

A GMB member who developed a painful skin condition after being exposed to known irritants in the workplace has received compensation.  The 52-year-old from Stafford, developed dermatitis after he was exposed to brake fluid and a rust inhibitor while working for JC Bamford Excavators (JCB) in Rocester.

Hospital worker compensated after developing dermatitis after using alcohol-based hand rub

In this case Thompsons Solicitors recovered compensation for a hospital worker who was exposed to a strong alcohol-based hand rub up to 40 times per shift.  She developed painful dermatitis and was eventually forced to give up her job.  She received £44,000 compensation.

Foundry worker receives damages after earning capacity quelled by dermatitis

A manual worker who developed a painful skin condition after being exposed to irritants at work has received £75,000 in compensation. He had to move into a much lower paid job after he was exposed to Hexamine, a type of resin coated sand.

Rolls Royce employee compensated for dermatitis

This story involves a man who was exposed to a corrosive coolant at work due to being provided with unsuitable protective gloves.  Thompsons Solicitors made a claim on his behalf and Rolls Royce agreed to pay £5,500 compensation.

Delivery Driver from Bournemouth recovers compensation after exposure to Diesel

In this case, Thompsons' specialist personal injury solicitors recovered compensation for a man who developed irritant contact dermatitis after being splashed with diesel at work.  The fuel pump he was using had no protective guard and he had not been provided with any safety gloves to use.

£200,000 damages for dental nurse facing life of latex challenges

This story is about a dental nurse who was exposed to latex after being provided with latex gloves to wear.  She developed a latex allergy and also developed occupational dermatitis.  Thompsons Solicitors helped her to recover £200,000 compensation.

Worker who contracted dermatitis awarded compensation

Thompsons specialist personal injury solicitors acted for a client who contracted work-related dermatitis whilst working for toiletries giant PZ Cussons. Court proceedings had to be issued as they refused to settle the case.  He was awarded £10,000 compensation for contracting dermatitis during the course of his employment.

Hairdressers could be entitled to claim compensation if they develop dermatitis

This story explains that approximately 50,000 hairdressers and barbers across the UK are suffering from occupational dermatitis, due to their working conditions. Staff in salons are contracting dermatitis through regular exposure to products containing large quantities of chemicals, such as peroxides, soaps and shampoos.  Problems can be avoided if hairdressers use synthetic gloves made of vinyl or nitrile whenever they wash hair or use chemical products.

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Work-Related Dermatitis Cases we have fought and won

Details of some work-related dermatitis claims we have dealt with

  • Mr Sheridan was a hospital porter and had to wash his hands on a regular basis due to the nature of his work.  During the course of his employment his employers introduced a new hand cleaning product, Leverline Mild H2, which caused Mr Sheridan to develop dermatitis.  With help from Thompsons Solicitors, Mr Sheridan was awarded £3,440.48 compensation from his employers.
  • Mr Duxbury had been employed as an engineer by the same company for 34 years.  In the later years of his employment the company started using a chemical coolant but did not provide the employees with the appropriate safety wear.  Mr Duxbury developed dermatitis as a result of coming into contact with the chemical coolant and with help from Thompsons' specialist personal injury solicitors he was awarded £12,500 compensation.
  • Mr L, a trade union member, was employed as a foil block machine setter / operator by a company which manufactured greetings cards. During the course of his employment he was exposed to irritant substances such as resins and lacquers causing him to develop occupational dermatitis. We argued that the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations applied and that his employer, the Defendant, was in breach and had failed to protect him. Mr L's occupational dermatitis persisted in particular upon his upper limbs, neck and face. The Defendant admitted liability and offered £4000 to settle his claim which he rejected. The Defendants then tried to withdraw their admission of fault which we aggressively opposed and the Court ordered that their withdrawal be struck out from their Defence. Mr L's case then settled for £20,000.
  • Realising that he had a problem with his hands, a 35 year old worker for toiletries giant PZ Cussons in Nottingham decided to visit his doctor.  Upon inspection, the doctor explained that he had Irritant Contact Dermatitis which was probably caused in the course of his employment.    His work involved chemicals and to protect him from any harmful effects he was required to wear latex gloves. "The doctor suggested that I might have a valid claim for compensation so I contacted my union representative at the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU).   I was advised that I should seek legal help and the union put me in contact with Thompsons Solicitors." Having discussed his legal position with Thompsons Solicitors, the claimant was satisfied that legal action was appropriate, especially as it was likely that dermatitis would affect his future chances of employment.  When the PZ Cussons plant in Nottingham was closed down in 2006, the claimant was made redundant.  The company refused to settle the case and it was necessary for Court Proceedings to be issued by Thompsons Solicitors. "I had nothing to lose," explains the claimant.  "It didn't cross my mind at first that I should seek compensation, but once I realised that the company had been negligent, by doing nothing to help prevent my condition, I decided to press ahead with the claim. "Realising that I would be facing financial difficulties, Thompsons set about getting the maximum level of compensation for me in the shortest possible timeframe.  They were absolutely brilliant, the best solicitors that I have ever known.  Everything was handled professionally and they kept me completely informed.  I'm very satisfied with the outcome and relieved that I could rely on Thompsons who knew what they were doing."

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Personal Injury Compensation Claim Advice

How to make a claim for compensation if you develop occupational dermatitis

If you or someone you know has developed work-related dermatitis or any other industrial disease, telephone us now for accurate compensation claim advice.

There are strict time limits in place to make any personal injury claim.  For further information, contact us or visit our Questions Answered page.

Thompsons Solicitors are experts in all personal injury matters. We will be able to advise you whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation. Our specialist personal injury lawyers will be happy to talk you through the process of making a claim in plain English and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have. Telephone us now on 08000 224 224 or complete one of our online personal injury compensation claim forms.

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