As many as 13 million workers in Oklahoma and throughout the country may be exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Although many chemical safety programs have focused on preventing chemicals from being inhaled, less has been done about preventing absorption through the skin. If a chemical does make contact with a worker’s skin, he or she could be at risk for developing conditions such as infections or skin cancer.
Allergic or irritant contact dermatitis are other conditions that a worker may develop as a result of chemical absorption by the skin. Those who work in painting, cleaning or food service may be among those most at risk of developing such conditions. Workers in the health care or agriculture industries may also be at a higher risk. There may be many ways in which a person may develop a skin condition on the job.
Typically, a person will make contact either directly with a chemical or become exposed through splashing or touching a contaminated surface. Friction or pressure may also lead to abrasions or cuts on the skin while extreme heat or cold may also irritate the skin. Parasites, animal waste or other organisms may also create conditions that lead to a worker developing a skin condition on the job.
Workers who are exposed to dangerous work conditions may have a higher risk of getting hurt on the job. If a person develops a skin condition or is otherwise injured because an employer failed to follow OSHA workplace safety regulations, that person may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This may allow a worker to receive a portion of his or her salary as well as help paying medical bills. An attorney may answer employee questions or help those navigate the benefit application process.