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A new guide to preventing OSDs through skin care best practice

Paul Jakeway
June 05, 2018



More than 1 in 10 workers suffer from dermatitis[1] – the symptoms of which are sore and inflamed skin on the hands, which can make routine manual tasks difficult.


Dermatitis is just one of several occupational skin disorders (OSDs) which collectively pose a threat to health, safety and efficiency in the workplace, as well as to the mental, physical and social wellbeing of the individuals affected.


OSDs are the second most common work-related health problem in Europe[2], with approximately 18,000 UK workers reporting skin problems, which they believed were caused by, or made worse by their work[3], yet workers just accept it as part of the job.


With major cost and productivity implications for businesses, as well as ramifications for employee wellbeing, family relationships and capacity for work, the threat of OSDs is widely underestimated yet skin care compliance is low.


It’s not acceptable for workers to accept an OSD as a side effect of their job – the appropriate action needs to be taken now so that workers no longer have to suffer in silence.


To provide an in-depth insight into the issue and how businesses can take the preventative steps to ensure skin care is front of mind, Deb is pleased to announce the launch of a new whitepaper, ‘Preventing occupational skin disorders: Skin care best practice’ which is focused around preventing OSDs as part of its DebSafe™ programme for industry.


Preventing occupational skin disorders, through skin care best practice


The ‘Preventing occupational skin disorders: Skin care best practice’ whitepaper puts skin care in the spotlight, highlighting the prevailing issues that workers face within the industrial workplace, and the true impact it can have on workers’ mental, physical and social wellbeing.


Geoff, a printer, who speaks about friends and colleagues who have suffered from OSDs in the whitepaper, says: “I have seen skin disorders where your hands crack and it can be demoralising. It involves time off work and a subsequent loss of earnings, which is likely to affect the family. It was so severe that workers were unable to use a knife and work properly or be able to make a cup of tea. All of these things can affect someone’s mental state.”


The whitepaper examines how businesses can minimise the risk of OSDs in their organisation, particularly work-related hand eczema, through a solution which embeds positive skin care behaviour in industrial environments.


It offers a new universal best practice standard through the introduction of the DebSafe™ Skin Care Programme – a dedicated skin care programme for industry.


Dr John English, a dermatologist based at the Nottingham NHS Treatment Centre and one of the international panel of authors who wrote ‘The 3 Moments of Skin Care’ whitepaper, says: “Red, sore, dry, cracked and/or blistered skin on workers’ hands is often perceived to be a routine and acceptable side effect of manual work. Over time, this has contributed to a culture of misplaced tolerance of the painful and limiting conditions, meaning that many incidents have gone, and continue to go, unreported and untreated.


“By adopting the 3-Moments standard, we can reverse the trend of OSDs. Together with the insight and guidance set out in this whitepaper, I believe that the 3-Moments standard will form the catalyst for change in terms of perceptions, attitudes and behaviour in relation to occupational skin health and skin care compliance.


“The DebSafe™ programme is the perfect platform for organisations to take control and bring it to life. I encourage industry leaders, as well as all occupational health and safety professionals to use this guidance in the whitepaper and seize the opportunity presented by DebSafe™ to adopt the changes necessary to make skin care compliance and healthy skin a priority in the workplace.”


Download this ground breaking new whitepaper


[1] Luckhaupt et. Al; American Journal of Industrial Medicine 56:623-634 (2013)

[2] European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

[3] [3] 2015/2016 HSE Labour Force Survey

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