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Occupational dermatitis is a widespread cause of ill health, with an estimated 84,000 sufferers either developing the condition or having it made worse because of their work. It affects workers in many industry sectors and can be caused by a variety of substances, including soaps and detergents, foods, coins and rubber/latex gloves, as well as chemicals that are known to be hazardous. Sometimes, the symptoms are permanent and so severe that the sufferer is forced to give up work.
A workshop engineer employed by Aston Martin at its workshop in Banbury has won compensation after he contracted occupational dermatitis as a result of exposure to known hazardous chemicals used in the course of his work.
He had worked for the company for two years, repairing car batteries, pneumatic tools and hydraulic car parts, when he first began to experience symptoms. His eyes became swollen and the skin on his face and arms began to itch after he had come into contact with toxic glue and epoxy resin.
He was diagnosed with occupational dermatitis and prescribed a steroid cream, but his symptoms worsened until he had to take time off work because his eyes were painful and his eyesight was affected. His employer arranged for him to be given alternative tasks, but his symptoms persisted and he developed a sensitivity to any product that contains the same type of chemicals as those he had used in the course of his work.
Citing his employer's failure to supply adequate protective clothing and equipment to protect his health and safety, the engineer brought a personal injury claim and secured an undisclosed sum in compensation.
General advice on occupational dermatitis is available on the Health and Safety Executive website.