Skin Disease

Although work-related skin disease is most common among those working in heavy industry, these conditions can occur as a result of any job where skin is exposed to irritants and chemicals.


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What is industrial skin disease?

The Health and Safety Executive estimates there are 7,000 new cases of self-reported work-related skin disease each year (pdf).

Industrial skin disease arises when someone develops an often untreatable condition through working in unsafe conditions.

  • Dermatitis is one of the most common forms of industrial skin disease, with sufferers developing a rash. It comes in two forms – allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis.

    Allergic contact dermatitis occurs as a result of contact with a material that causes your immune system to react abnormally. Common allergens include metal, latex, rubber and adhesives. 

    Irritant contact dermatitis may occur as a result of exposure to weak irritants over a long period of time or stronger irritants over a shorter period of time. Sufferers experience a stinging or burning sensation which can be extremely painful.

    Occupations with the highest rate of contact dermatitis are florists, hairdressers, beauticians and cooks. 

  • Skin Cancer is another common type of industrial skin disease. There are several variations of occupational skin cancer, including different forms of keratoses, Bowen’s disease and basal cell carcinoma. Depending on the type of cancer, it can take decades for the disease to emerge.

Exposure to excessive UV rays and chemical products such as coal tar, oil and arsenic are the main causes of industrial skin cancer. Symptoms include warts and growths, scaly red patches, tumours and scarring.

Who can I claim against?

You should be able to claim compensation from the relevant employer, as they’re responsible for your safety at work. Any failure on their part to provide you with appropriate clothing, such as protective suits and gloves, will render them liable for the development of industrial skin disease.

More about making a claim

How much can I claim for industrial skin disease?

As industrial skin disease can be severe, amounts awarded tend to be quite high. In the case of dermatitis, for example, it’s possible you could receive as much as £16,830. For any claim, the exact award depends on such things as the amount of time taken off work and the effects the condition has had on your quality of life.

When can I claim?

You can make a claim within three years of receiving a diagnosis. This should give you plenty of time to claim whenever you’re ready, although any claims made outside of this time window will probably be knocked back.

I have suffered industrial skin disease, what should I do?

If you’ve suffered industrial skin disease due to neglect, then you should contact us to discuss the particulars of your case. Our trained legal advisors will assess the individual circumstances of your work history and potential exposure to harmful substances. They'll then advise you whether you have a claim, and tell you about our No Win No Fee* claims.

We'll then do all the hard work in fighting for your compensation and justice, so you can focus on your recovery.

Only pay a fee if you receive compensation

Our No Win No Fee solicitors will take a success fee from the compensation you are awarded for a successful claim in the form of a percentage of your damages. This could be up to 25% but it won't be more than that, except in cases of road traffic accidents and housing disrepair. Changing laws mean our solicitors will now take a payment of 35% of the final compensation amount plus VAT for all road traffic accident and housing disrepair claims.

First4Lawyers are an award-winning claims management company with a track record of delivering service that our clients love.


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