Many New York City workers suffer job-related skin disorders, such as cracked and painful hands. While many of these people think that this is a normal part of their everyday lives, skin disorders such as cracked and painful hands could be a sign of a serious skin problem.

Occupational skin diseases can be categorized into three categories: skin cancer, allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. Skin cancer occurs when people are exposed to carcinogenic matter such as pitches, coal tars and mineral oils. Allergic contact dermatitis is a disorder that occurs as an employee is gradually or immediately exposed to a material or substance and can cause discomfort or pain. Irritant contact dermatitis also occurs gradually and gets worse through time. However, unlike allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis is curable.

Many people who suffer from occupational skin conditions do not report it to their employers, partly because they might not realize their condition is related to their jobs. In fact, the amount of unreported cases of work-related skin problems is much higher than reported cases, according to a recent report. In addition, three-fourths of those with work-related dermatitis also experienced chronic skin disease, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of the warning signs of work-related dermatitis include swelling of fingers or hands, bleeding, cracked or sore skin, and scaling, flaking or itchy skin. Protective skin moisturizers and gloves can greatly help employees from developing these symptoms.

Workers’ compensation benefits are in many cases available for workers who contract these disorders. However, an occupational disease is sometimes more difficult to chronicle than an injury resulting from a workplace accident, and accordingly, workers with this type of a condition may want to have the assistance of an attorney when preparing and submitting their claims.

Source: OH&S Online, “Help Protect Hard-Working Hands from Occupational Skin Disorders”, Andreas Klotz, Feb. 1, 2016