Have you ever had a rash so bad that you couldn’t work because of it? It may seem like skin diseases and rashes aren’t a problem in the workplace, but you would be mistaken. Skin diseases are actually the most widespread occupational illness according to the October 2006 Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. When it comes to many different job positions, an occupational skin disease can be a large hinderance. Especially if this happens to one of your employees. If one of your workers were to fall victim to an occupational skin disease, the medical expenses could be costly and your employee may even need to take off some time to recover. U.S. HealthWorks is very keen on the use of telemedicine for employers in order to diagnose and treat the skin disease early on. If an employee were to come to you with concern of an occupational skin disease, workers comp telemedicine would be of great assistance. In fact, telemedicine prevents a costly doctors visit, allows the physician to view the skin irritation immediately, and all while not having to rush off to the doctors office. But before something like that can happen, you should make sure you do everything in your power to prevent a situation like that from occuring.
The most common of all occupational skin diseases is contact dermatitis – which is not cheap to treat. James W. Arbogast published “Dry, Cracked Hands? Use Prevention to Combat Occupational Dermatitis,” in Industrial Safty & Hygiene News stating that it is $1.4 billon in medical expenses and about $500 million in productivity losses for an employee to get occupational contact dermatitis. There are very simple ways to prevent the nasty rash from occuring but first off you should know what it is.
Contact dermatitis is a rash that may be swollen or blistered looking. It can feel dry, scaly and irritate the skin. Sometimes it can even cause a burning sensation or act like a blister. Employees who are regularly exposed to a lot of sunlight, extreme hot and cold temperatures, moisture, plants such as poison ivy or poison oak, and more are at risk of getting the disease.
How to prevent it
Hand washing will be your best friend when combating occupational skin diseases. But according to vice president of marketing for Pro-link Mike Nelson, “Soap and water alone don’t really remove germs from hands. They require agitation, rubbing the hands together, to mechanically remove unwanted material and disease causing pathogens from hands, essentially pulling them off the skin, into the water, and down the drain.” So while washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds is highly recommended in preventing occupational skin diseases, here are a few other ways that will be beneficial for you and your employees:
- Make sure employees have a proper sink area where they can wash their hands.
- Use soap that is not “open” because it is more likely to be contaminated. Using soap dispensers where the contents are from a factory-sealed container is safer.
- While scrubbing, be careful no to be too harsh because that can cause small cuts and cracks giving the bacteria a place to inhabit.
- Dry hands afterwards because wet hands spread germs.
- Lotion up because this makes sure to keep the skin together and stop cuts from getting larger.
By implementing these preventive measures above, employees will have the information needed to avoid an occupational skin disease from occuring. But in case a situation were to occur, U.S. HealthWorks telemedicine for workers comp will prevent costly hospital visits and make sure your employees are in the best health possible.
Sources: American Family Physician, http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0915/p1025.html