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Millions of workers are exposed to dangerous hazards every day. These hazards can have any number of negative impacts on the body, especially if you are in direct physical contact.
Workers in direct contact risk developing “occupational skin diseases” or OSDs. If you are one of the many workers who have developed a skin disease or disorder due to exposure at your job, you need to speak with a Florida workers compensation attorney.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate around 13 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Unfortunately, so many of those that end up developing work-related skin problems don’t make the connection.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of skin issues resulting from work is likely up to 70 times higher than reported cases.
Skin issues have a massive impact on the health and quality of life of sufferers. What’s more, they have a measurable financial impact in the workplace. A study published in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News revealed that OSDs account for $1.4 billion in medical costs and around $500 million in productivity losses.
Your skin is arguably the most important and most vulnerable part of your body. It protects all of your other essential organs from your environment, at great risk to itself.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that workplace hazards to the skin come in several different forms. If you are showing signs of a skin issue, take note of any of the following in your workplace:
- Chemical agents
- These are the biggest culprits for OSDs. They can be either direct irritants, having a direct effect on the skin, or sensitizers, which cause skin reactions after prolonged exposure
- Biological agents
- Anything from poisonous plants to parasites
- Physical agents
This can be extreme temperatures, either hot or cold, or any kind of radiation
Exposure to any of these common skin irritants can cause either immediate reactions or conditions that take a long time to even exhibit symptoms. That’s what makes OSDs sometimes difficult to report. Data from BLS shows that some of the most commonly reported OSDs are separated into two categories:
Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) usually presents itself as inflammed, dry, itchy, red irritated skin at the point of contact with the irritant. This is a non-immunologic reaction, meaning that it is a direct result of the irritant’s interaction with the skin rather than the skin’s immune response to the irritant.
Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) can also present itself similarly, with inflammation and generally very irritated skin, but it is due to the body’s response to the irritant. The allergic reaction is also not confined to the area of contact and can spread anywhere on the body.
While both of these may be treatable to some degree, the BLS also found that 75 percent of patients with occupational dermatitis end up developing chronic skin disease. In very serious cases, OSDs can result in major complications including skin cancer.
OSDs can result from skin exposure in any line of work, but there are some professions that carry any overall higher rate of daily skin hazards. Health care, construction, chemical processing, printing, painting, cleaning, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, radiology, pharmaceuticals, mechanics, cosmetology and even the food service industry has higher rates of reported OSDs.
No matter what line of work you are in, if you are experiencing the symptoms of a skin problem, see your doctor and call an attorney. What may even seem like a minor skin irritation could be the result of a greater underlying problem due to prolonged exposure to dangerous chemicals or hazardous physical conditions that could cause permanent problems. You deserve to be compensated for putting yourself at risk for your job.
Schedule a free consultation with a Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Florida worker compensation lawyers have recovered billions of dollars for people just like you. Your consultation is free, so you take no risk in making an appointment to ask them any questions you might have. Call the Florida Workers’ Compensation Help Center today.
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