Occupational skin
diseases and dermal
exposure: A policy and
practice overview
Occupational skin diseases and dermal
exposure
 Occupational skin diseases are among the
most important emerging risks
 They are most common – after MSDs
occupational diseases
Examples of sectors and occupations at risk
– in Appendix I
 National polices and practices related to
dermal exposure and skin diseases – in
Appendix II

Recognition of occupational skin diseases
 European list of occupational diseases –
Commission’s Recommendation 2003/670/EC of
19 September 2003 includes a schedule of
diseases recognised as occupational in origin
 Member States
determine criteria for recognition of diseases as
occupational - national lists may be more or less
comprehensive than the European schedule
 EUROSTAT
collects statistical information on occupational
diseases, including those affecting skin
Incidence rate of occupational skin diseases
(EUROSTAT)
Disease
2001
% of
Inc.
occ.
rate
dis.
Contact
dermatitis
10.90
Contact
urticaria
0.25
Skin cancer
0.01
Total no. of
skin
diseases
11.20
Total no. of
occupationa
l diseases
100.00
2002
% of
Inc.
occ.
rate
dis.
2003
% of
Inc.
occ.
rate
dis.
5.20
10.90
7.40
10.40
7.70
7.80
5.90
6.90
5.50
0.10
0.22
0.03
0.10
0.30
0.02
0.20
0.20
0.02
0.10
0.11
0.02
0.10
0.00
5.30
11.10
7.50
10.70
7.90
8.00
6.00
7.10
5.60
74,90 100.00
78.80
47.10 100.00
67.6. 100.00
2004
% of
Inc.
occ.
rate
dis.
73.50 100.00
2005
% of
Inc.
occ.
rate
dis.
Occupational skin diseases
 Resemble other skin disease
 Localised effects






Irritation/burns/urticaria – acids, bases, solvents
Sensitisation/allergy/phototoxicity – latex, PAH
Skin cancer – UV, CrVI
Skin infections – fungi,
Changed epidermal production – acne – PCB,
dioxins
Effects of physical agents – heat, cold, radiation
 Systemic effects

Blood disorders – leukaemia - benzene
Reported skin problems related to work – by
gender and age (EWCS)
% of occupational skin diseases - by gender
% of occupational skin diseases - by age
0
8
7
2
4
6
15-24
6
25-34
5
4
35-44
3
45-54
2
1
>=55
0
1995
2000
Men
2005
Women
All
1995
2000
8
Incidence rate of occupational skin diseases –
by sector (EUROSTAT)
0
5
10
15
10,4
Manufacturing
0,9
Cons truction
9,1
2,6
Hotels and res taurants
Financial interm ediation
5,9
1,1
0,3
3
Real es tate and bus ines s activities
3,5
Public adm inis tration and defence
Education
Health and s ocial work
Other com m unity, s ocial, pers onal
s ervice activities
Activities of hous eholds
All NACE branches – Total
35
31,5
Mining and quarrying
Trans port, s torage and com m unication
30
7,1
Fis hing
Wholes ale and retail trade
25
4,1
Agriculture, hunting and fores try
Electricity, gas and water s upply
20
0,5
5,1
9,5
0,3
5,3
Dermal exposure
 Legislation applicable – includes numerous
Directives related to dangerous substances –
chemical, biological, physical risks
 No Occupational Exposure Levels
 Little data related to occupational dermal
exposure
 RISKOFDERM – project aiming at development of
tools for assessment of dermal exposure
 CEN/TS15279 – ‘Workplace exposure –
measurement of dermal exposure- principles and
methods’
Assessment of the risk of dermal exposure
 Risk identification process



Importance of occupational/employment history,
including current exposures
Medical examination of the skin
Inspection of the workplace
 Methods of controlling the risk






Removal of risk factor- substitution
Engineering controls – enclosed systems, automation,
ventilation
Organisational measures
Information and education
Personal protective equipment
General housekeeping and personal hygiene
Conclusions
 There are differences in national lists of
occupational (skin) diseases
 Collecting of comparable statistical information
related to occurrence of occupational skin
diseases is very important for evaluation of the
scale of the problem
 Lack of occupational exposure standards and
validated methods of assessment of skin
exposure are some of the main issues in
developing risk assessment models
Challenges
 Uniform framework for recognition and recording
of occupational skin diseases needs to be
developed
 Validated models for evaluation of exposure
through skin are needed
 Raising awareness among workers and employers
of risks resulting from exposure to chemical,
biological and physical hazards is essential to
achieve lasting improvement
Occupational skin diseases and dermal exposure:
More information available at:
 Agency’s information on dangerous substances
http://osha.europa.eu/en/topics/ds
 Publication:
http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/TE700704
9ENC_skin_diseases/view
 European Risk Observatory:
http://riskobservatory.osha.europa.eu
 European Agency for Safety and Health at Work:
http://osha.europa.eu/
Thank you for your attention!
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Occupational skin diseases and dermal exposure