Dermatitis is a skin condition that is characterised by persistent redness, itching and inflammation. As the condition progresses and becomes more severe, blisters may start to develop and the skin may start to crack. When the symptoms develop due to contact with toxic substances in the workplace or any other work-related activity, it is known as Occupational Dermatitis.
If you suffer from occupational dermatitis, you may be eligible to file a claim in order to get compensated for your injuries, suffering and financial losses.
What Are The Symptoms Of Occupational Dermatitis?
The symptoms of occupational dermatitis are the same as those of dermatitis. The only difference lies in the manner in which the disease is contracted. Occupational dermatitis refers specifically to symptoms that develop due to activity in the workplace.
Redness, itching, redness, blotchiness and cracking of the skin are some of the more common symptoms of occupational dermatitis. Not everybody will develop all of these symptoms or even the same combination of symptoms. The exact symptoms and their severity may vary depending on the substance that the sufferer came in contact with and whether the contact was a one-time occurrence or it happened over a period of time.
Which Occupations Are Most At Risk Of Occupational Dermatitis?
Individuals whose work involves contact with certain soaps, chemicals, and cleaning materials are more prone to develop occupational dermatitis. Workers employed in beauty salons, chemical manufacturing, and cleaning companies, biological plants, hospitals and florist shops are at highest risk of developing symptoms of dermatitis. This is because these jobs often mean workers are regularly exposed to a wide range of allergenic and irritant chemicals such as dyes, lye, paints, and bleaches.
Working for extended periods of time with wet hands or with petroleum, latex, nickel, rubber, flour and cement can also cause dermatitis. Although not as common, dermatitis symptoms may also develop due to prolonged exposure to vibration, abrasion or radiation.
Regardless of the specific cause, you might have a legal right to claim occupational dermatitis compensation if your symptoms developed due to exposure to an allergen, irritant or any other hazardous substance in the workplace.
The Law Regarding Occupational Dermatitis
There are several Acts and Regulations that have been introduced over the years to protect the rights of workers employed in all types of high-risk industries.
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a legal duty of care to their employees. This means employers must remove all potential hazards from the workplace or put appropriate health and safety measures in place to minimise these hazards.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, employers are required to either take steps to prevent or minimise workers’ exposure to hazardous substances such as chemical agents and other irritants.
Some ways that employers can comply with these legal requirements include:
- Conducting a thorough risk assessment to identify potential dermatitis risks;
- Providing workers with adequate training regarding safe handling of hazardous materials and irritants to reduce the risk of dermatitis and other skin problems;
- Providing workers with appropriate industry-standard personal protective equipment such as gloves or barrier creams to minimise direct contact with toxic substance or irritants;
- Using alternate, non-toxic materials when possible.
If the employer failed to comply with any of the above requirements and you suffered from occupational dermatitis as a result, you could be within your legal rights to file a claim against your employer for negligence.
What You Need To File An Occupational Dermatitis Compensation Claim
The first thing you need to do is to get your symptoms diagnosed by a dermatologist. Even if the doctor confirms a dermatitis diagnosis, you will still need to submit proof that your symptoms developed due to exposure to an irritant or some other trigger at work. This can be very difficult to do. In court, you can expect your employer’s lawyers to make a case that you might have had dermatitis before you started working at the company or that your symptoms were triggered by exposure to substances outside of the workplace. Your best chance of winning a dermatitis compensation claim is by having an experienced personal injury solicitor to represent you.
Dermatitis Compensation Amounts
The amount of compensation you could claim for dermatitis are as follows, however it is important to bear in mind that these are only guidelines and the amount you may actually be entitled to claim could be higher or lower. These are also compensation guidelines for dermatitis on the hands. Should you have dermatitis on your face for example then it is likely the compensation settlement would increase.
- In more severe cases of occupational dermatitis that is affecting both hands having a detrimental effect on employment and domestic capabilities and may continue indefinitely, compensation can range from £12,900 to £18,020.
- Where dermatitis has been affecting both hands for a long length of time but treatment may be working or protective gloves help with certain tasks, compensation could range from £8,110 to £10,710.
- Dermatitis that has caused some irritation and discomfort on both hands but will get better with treatment over a few months could see a compensation settlement of around £1,600 to £3,710.
Dermatitis Compensation Claims Solicitors
Personal injury solicitors with experience in work injury cases should be familiar with this particular area of the law. They will first assess your case based on your work environment, your employer’s adherence to duty of care and your doctor’s diagnosis. Based on their initial assessment, they will advise you as to whether you should go ahead and file a claim for dermatitis compensation, or not. If your case is weak with a very small chance of winning, most solicitors will advise you not to pursue a claim. However, if you have a good case with high chances of winning, they will strongly recommend that you file a claim and get the compensation due to you.
If you have a good case, many personal injury solicitors will go one step further and help you get due compensation by representing you using the No Win No Fee clause. This gives you the benefit of the solicitor’s expertise without having to pay any legal fees until after judgment has been passed and the case is closed. If the judge rules in your favour and awards you compensation, only then will you have to pay the solicitor the amount that you agreed on at the time of signing the agreement. If the judge does not rule in your favour and you lose the case, you are not liable to cover any legal fees. Always check thoroughly before signing the agreement that you’re fully aware of what you will be paying.
When you have a personal injury solicitor to handle your occupational dermatitis compensation claim, you can stay focused on your ongoing treatment, knowing that your legal rights are being pursued by an experienced legal professional. Your solicitor will make sure that you submit a claim for the maximum amount you are entitled to, taking into account the extent and severity of your symptoms and all expenses related to the symptoms, including the dermatologist’s fees, cost of medication and transportation to the clinic or hospital. They will also make sure that your claim is submitted before the time limit. For personal injury claims, you have to file your claim within 3 years of the accident or within 3 years of the dermatitis diagnosis.