Occupational skin diseases are the second most common type of occupation disease and, in most cases, should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in SC.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), over 13 million people may be exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace that can result in occupational skin diseases.
What are occupational skin diseases and what causes them? If you suspect you have an occupational skin disease caused by exposure to chemicals in your workplace, you will need to get your condition diagnosed immediately – you may have a civil lawsuit against the manufacturer or other third parties as well as a potential workers’ compensation claim.
Don’t delay – call or email your workers comp lawyer on the Axelrod team now for a free consultation and review of your case.
What are Occupational Skin Diseases?
Occupational skin diseases are usually caused by contact with chemical agents including “primary irritants” and “sensitizers.” These chemical agents can cause a reaction when they come into contact with the skin or when they are absorbed into the body through the skin, causing systemic toxicity.
Occupational skin diseases can also be caused by:
- Extreme temperatures or solar radiation;
- Scrapes, cuts, and bruises (mechanical trauma); or
- Biological agents like parasites or microorganisms.
What are the Different Types of Occupational Skin Diseases?
Occupational skin diseases can take many different forms, some more severe than others, including:
- Irritant contact dermatitis,
- Allergic contact dermatitis,
- Skin cancers,
- Skin infections,
- Skin injuries, and
- Other miscellaneous skin diseases.
What Jobs Have the Highest Risk of Occupational Skin Diseases?
According to NIOSH, the jobs that have the highest risk of exposure to chemicals that may cause occupational skin diseases include:
- Food service;
- Health care;
- Printing/lithography; and
What is Contact Dermatitis/ Eczema?
Contact dermatitis, or eczema, is the most common type of occupational skin disease. According to NIOSH, it accounts for 90-95% of all occupational skin diseases reported in the United States.
Contact dermatitis happens when the skin becomes inflamed after exposure to chemicals or allergens in the workplace, and the symptoms may include:
- The formation of small blisters or wheals (itchy, red circles with a white centre) on the skin; or
- Dry, flaking, scaly skin that may develop cracks.
Occupational contact dermatitis could be classified as either irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis.
Irritant contact dermatitis, or ICD, is when exposure to a chemical agent causes inflammation of the skin. It can be caused by even a single exposure to strong irritating substances like acids or bases, or it can be caused by multiple exposures over time to mildly irritating substances like cleaning agents or detergents.
Allergic contact dermatitis, or ACD, is caused by an allergic reaction to a substance. It can be caused by exposure to pesticides, fertilizers, epoxy, resins, or other industrial compounds.
How Do I File a Claim for Occupational Skin Diseases?
Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Axelrod and Associates will help you to:
- Prepare and submit your workers’ compensation claim;
- Gather and present medical evidence and testimony to establish your claim; and
- File any necessary appeals.
It is critical that you are diagnosed and begin treatment as soon as possible and that you notify your employer of the condition.
When should you see a doctor? What doctor should you see? Should you make any statements to your employer about your medical condition? Call or email us now and a SC workers’ compensation attorney can help you to determine what needs to be done in your particular case based on your situation.
Can I File a Lawsuit for Occupational Skin Diseases?
Can you file a lawsuit when your exposure to harmful chemicals or allergens in the workplace causes an occupational skin disease, or are you limited to workers’ compensation insurance?
In most cases, you cannot sue your employer – you are limited to recovery from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. On the other hand, if a third party is responsible for your exposure, you may be able to sue the third party for damages that would give you full and fair compensation (something you can’t get through the workers’ comp system).
If the manufacturer’s negligence resulted in your injuries, for example, they might be liable to you for everything that workers’ compensation would pay plus pain and suffering, other non-economic damages, and even punitive damages in some cases.
Your Myrtle Beach workers’ compensation attorney on the Axelrod team will help you to make your workers’ comp claim for occupational ski disease, but we will also investigate the causes of the exposure and determine whether you also have a personal injury lawsuit that may result in full compensation for your injuries.