Skin conditions are commonplace in the modern world, but there are some that are caused as a direct result of problems in the workplace.
Occupational dermatitis is one of the most widespread causes of illness in workers, particularly those who work in the industry sector.
At Browell Smith & Co, we have a wealth of experience in this often complex area of law and great reputation for getting the results our clients deserve.
Dermatitis is an often painful condition that manifests itself in inflammation of the skin and is synonymous with conditions such as eczema. The skin becomes red, itchy, and can be blistered. Sufferers find their skin can often go hard, thickened and cracked.
The two most common forms of workplace dermatitis are allergic dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. When the skin comes into contact with certain substances at work, this can cause occupational dermatitis.
Substances which commonly cause occupational dermatitis include cleaning products, cement, organic solvents, metalworking fluids, adhesives and cleaning products.
The types of substances causing occupational dermatitis are divided into two groups known as irritants and sensitisers. Irritants act directly on the skin through chemical reactions. With sensitisers, skin reactions may not be caused on initial contact, but after repeated exposure, some people will have an allergic reaction.
An important clue for diagnosis is the site of the affected area. If it is the hands, contact dermatitis should always be suspected. A work related cause can 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 same work area or handling same materials
Contact dermatitis can also be caused by contact with coins, rubber/latex gloves, chemicals and cleaners and some alcohol-based hand sanitisers/rubs.
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 it could be contact dermatitis then they can then arrange for patch tests to be carried out by an appropriate dermatologist.
If you believe you have developed occupational dermatitis, our team of specialists can guide you through the legal process step by step.
At Browell Smith & Co we understand the complexities of these claims and how best to proceed.
There are strict time limits on applying for a personal injury claim, so while you may potentially qualify for compensation, failing to act promptly may disqualify you from the process.
Our considerable experience allows us to both accurately assess the merits of each claim, and then provide appropriate advice in a clear and concise manner.
If your claim proceeds we will make arrangements for you to be medically examined before entering into negotiations to secure the compensation you deserve.
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.
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 or who operated a 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 seek legal advice from a specialist as soon as you experience symptoms which you believe may have been caused by a third party.
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