According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, more than 13 million workers throughout the country may be exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed by the skin. While the agency notes that improvements have been made to combat chemical inhalation exposure, it is difficult to measure skin exposure risks in a Pennsylvania workplace. Occupational skin diseases may range from skin cancer to infections or injuries. Irritant and allergic contact dermatitis are also forms of occupational skin diseases.
Symptoms may include itchy skin or blisters in areas where skin has been exposed to and absorbed a chemical. Other symptoms include redness or swelling in the affected areas. While the skin could be exposed to a chemical through direct contact, it may also come into contact with a chemical after it has been splashed or other methods of immersion. Workers may be able to protect their skin by wearing chemical gloves or aprons when appropriate.
It is also recommended that work processes be altered to reduce the risk of chemical splashes or the risk of immersion. Another idea may be to stop using a volatile chemical in favor of one that is less so. Finally, it may be possible to reduce exposure through good workplace cleaning habits as they may keep chemicals from accumulating on work surfaces.
Those who contract a work-related illness may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may help a worker pay for medical bills or other costs related to treatment of that illness. Benefits may also replace a portion of a worker’s salary while out of work. An attorney may be able to show that an individual became sick either through direct exposure to a harmful material or through a long period of exposure that made his or her body more sensitive to such a material.