What to Do if your Eczema has been caused by Work

When people think of occupational dermatitis, they tend to think of a skin disease caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals.

However, there are a number of other skin problems that can be caused and exacerbated by work, including atopic eczema.

Whether you have a pre-existing skin condition, are vulnerable to eczema or have developed contact dermatitis through your job, you may be able to claim compensation.

Let us help you claim for eczema caused at work. 
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We have outlined some further information regarding your legal rights at work and the steps to follow if you believe eczema is caused or worsened by your employment.

Making a Claim for Eczema caused at Work

Different Types of Work-Related Dermatitis

Occupational dermatitis is an umbrella term for all skin problems, including eczema and psoriasis, that have been caused or aggravated by work.

These can include:

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Caused when the skin comes into contact with a substance that damages cells. This condition can be temporary and clear up once exposure has ceased.

However, both chronic irritant contact dermatitis from prolonged exposure and irritant contact dermatitis caused by a single intense exposure tend to be permanent.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

When a person becomes sensitised to a substance this can lead to permanent allergic dermatitis. Any subsequent, albeit limited, contact can cause a flare-up.

People with atopic eczema are more susceptible to irritant contact dermatitis than allergic contact dermatitis.

Which kind of dermatitis you develop depends on the intensity of your exposure to a substance and your susceptibility to the condition.

While some people develop dermatitis immediately, it can take a few years for others.

Generally, it will manifest within a reasonably short period after the exposure.

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Legal Rights of Employees Suffering from Eczema

An employer is responsible for protecting their employees’ safety at work.

They are required to adhere and remain up to date with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) in order to improve the general exposure to and management of occupational hazards.

The duties your employer has under COSHH include:

  • Assessing your exposure to hazardous substances at regular intervals or if any changes occur
  • Preventing exposure and, where this is not possible, control exposure
  • Maintaining health and safety measures and keep them in good working order. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves and overalls, should be tested and examined regularly
  • Conducting a Health Surveillance at a minimum of 12-month intervals or even more regularly
  • Training employees about the risks and provide adequate safety information

Valuable Information for Employers and Employees

Employers and employees have mutual obligations in the workplace towards one another.

While employers are required to look after the health and safety of their workers, employees are also required to prevent risks to their own health and that of others.

Staff members have a duty to inform employers about any health problems, skin conditions or other concerns that they may have at work.

If you suffer from a condition such as eczema, you should let your employer know as soon as possible, so they can take positive steps to protect you from certain substances.

What if my Employer Ignores my Occupational Dermatitis?

If your employer does not adhere to their legal duty, even if you have told them about your skin problems, which have started or worsened at your place of work, you may be entitled to claim compensation for their negligence.

If you are forced to leave your employment as a result of your complaint or as a result of being unable to fulfil certain tasks due to your dermatitis, you may even be able to claim for constructive dismissal.

If you’re unsure of your rights, contact our solicitors today. We will be able to assess your specific situation and let you know if you are eligible to make a claim.
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