Skin Conditions and Workers’ Compensation
Occupational skin diseases are among the most commonly reported occupational diseases. If it can be proven that a skin condition developed as a result of a person’s job, then it may be covered by Workers’ Compensation. Many skin conditions or diseases fall under the definition of an occupational illness and afflicted workers can receive benefits to aid in their recovery.
Constant exposure to wet conditions or irritants can lead to contact dermatitis. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that often presents as redness, irritation and sometimes blisters on the affected area. Severe dermatitis can result in swollen, broken skin that gets infected and ulcerated.
Workers at risk for developing dermatitis include hairdressers, laboratory workers, those in the food industry, health care and dental workers, cleaners, agricultural workers, and workers in the construction, motor vehicle repair, printing, and painting industries.
Dermatitis can be provoked by exposure to chemical irritants such as hair dyes, epoxy resins, and preservatives. Sometimes a worker can go many years without any reaction to a chemical, but then develop an allergy and the resulting dermatitis.
At that point, minimal exposure may cause a reaction and dermatitis may occur not only at the point of contact with the irritant, but also in secondary places on the body. The worker should avoid further exposure but symptoms may require treatment and take weeks to subside.
Hives are another skin condition that can be caused by exposure to chemicals. Symptoms may include itching, burning, and irritation which can last for weeks. Stress can worsen symptoms and even cause hair loss.
One of the most serious work-related skin conditions is skin cancer, which is linked to the excessive exposure to ultra-violet (UV) rays that comes with working long hours outdoors. Workers at high risk for skin cancer are roof tilers, brick layers, agricultural workers, and construction workers. Most skin cancers are of the basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma type, which are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body. However, malignant melanoma is a much more dangerous skin cancer that can spread aggressively and be fatal.
Preventing Work-Related Skin Conditions
Employers have a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment free of hazards that can cause occupational illnesses such as skin conditions. This includes evaluating the workplace to determine where the risks of exposure exist and then eliminating them. Whereby risks cannot be eliminated they must be minimized with the aid of proper ventilation and other engineering methods. Employees should be provided with personal protective equipment where appropriate to avoid contact with irritants that could lead to skin conditions.
New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Workers Suffering from Work-Related Skin Conditions
If you or a loved one is looking to obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits, an experienced New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation lawyer from the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will fight to provide you with the compensation you need to support your recovery. Call 877-249-4600 or contact us online for a free confidential initial consultation at our Highland Park offices and we serve clients in Middlesex County, including the communities of Somerset, New Brunswick, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia, New Jersey.