Personal Injury Claims

Dermatitis & Other Skin Conditions Claims

Occupational Dermatitis Claims

Although skin conditions are commonplace in the modern world, there are some that are caused as a direct result of problems arising from contact with chemicals in the workplace.

Occupational dermatitis is one of the most widespread causes of illness in workers, particularly those who work or worked in industry and have been exposed to organic chemicals and solvents as well as acid and alkaline chemicals in various forms. The two most common forms of workplace dermatitis are allergic dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis.

It is important that if you believe that you are suffering from occupational dermatitis then you should go to your GP immediately and explain the issue. If your GP suspects you have a contact dermatitis then appropriate tests and treatment should be arranged.

If you believe you have developed occupational dermatitis, our team can guide and assist you in making your claim.

At Browell Smith & Co Solicitors, our team is experienced in this complex area of law able to guide and assist you in your claim.

Contact our expert team today to arrange a free initial consultation at any of our offices, in Newcastle, Cramlington, Ashington and Sunderland, or alternatively at your home, to discuss your particular requirements.

Dawn Bagley

Solicitor - Director of Personal Injury & Medical Negligence

Kathryn Shingles

Associate Solicitor - Personal Injury

Hayley Watson

Legal Clerk - Personal Injury

John Muxworthy

Costs Director and Solicitor

Kirsty Dockerty

Legal Clerk - Personal Injury & Medical Negligence

Lauren Gray

Legal Clerk - Personal Injury

What can cause allergic dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis?

Substances commonly causing the two main types of occupational dermatitis include cleaning products, cement, organic solvents, metalworking fluids, adhesives, and cleaning products coins, rubber/latex gloves, chemicals and cleaners, and some alcohol-based hand sanitisers/rubs (note that this is not an exhaustive list).

These substances are divided into two groups known as irritants and sensitisers.

Irritants act directly on the skin through chemical reactions.

Sensitisers may not cause an immediate skin reaction, but after repeated exposure, some people may have an allergic reaction.

Important for diagnosis is the site of the affected area. If it is limited to the hands, contact dermatitis should always be suspected.

What counts as a work-related skin disease?

Industria dermatitis is the most common form of work-related skin disease – this is typically caused by exposure to infections and allergens. 

A work-related cause may be suspected if:

  • The rash is mainly on the hands and exposed skin.
  • The condition improves away from work and relapses on return.
  • More than one person is affected in the same work area or handling the same materials.

Are there any time limits when making an occupational skin disease claim?

As with all claims for personal injury compensation, there are time limits within which a claim must be lodged with the court.

For accident claims, court proceedings must be started within three years from the date of your accident, but for occupational disease cases, court proceedings must be started within three years from the date when you first had reasonable grounds to believe that you may be suffering from a condition which has been caused by a third party. This may be your employer or it could be another organisation with whom you worked, as a contractor, or who operated in premises close by.

In the event that court proceedings are not started within three years from the relevant date, the negligent party may be able to escape paying compensation on the basis that your claim is out of time.

The law surrounding the time limits for industrial disease compensation is extremely complex and issues will differ from case to case, particularly when seeking compensation on behalf of a former family member. It is not always necessary to have a firm diagnosis from a medical practitioner for the time limit to commence. In these circumstances you must seek legal advice from a specialist as soon as possible, delay will damage your claim.

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