Occupational Dermatology

Jonathan M. L. White


Occupational skin disease is best described as ‘a skin disease, which would not have occurred if the patient had not been doing the work of that occupation’. Definite proof may be difficult, but the following are suggestive: (i) occupational contact with an agent that caused similar skin changes in others; (ii) similar dermatoses in fellow workers; (iii) consistent chronology between the exposure and the disease; (iv) distribution and morphology consistent with information of exposure, and similar to other cases; and (v) confirmatory test results. Legal definitions vary from country to country, as does the amount of compensation offered. Certain occupations are at high risk of developing skin problems, such as hairdressers, medical staff and construction workers. Irritant contact dermatitis is the commonest work‐related skin condition. Thorough history, examination, investigations and site visits with chemical testing may be required to make a secure diagnosis.
Keywords irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, occupational acne, personal protective equipment, vibrational white finger


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