Saving your own skin

Some accidents or injuries are obviously work related. For example, if you cut yourself on a piece of equipment or fall from a ladder, it’s likely your employer will not challenge your claim for workers’ compensation. In other cases, you may have to jump through hoops to convince your boss and the insurance company that your job is responsible for your health problems. If you believe your skin disease developed from conditions at work, you may need help obtaining your benefits.

A rash of skin conditions

Skin problems can affect workers of any age or background. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to make their workers aware of any risk-factors on the job. Nevertheless, even with proper precautions, workplace conditions may affect your skin. There are three main types of skin issues workers may develop:

  • Irritation: Frequent contact with detergent, water or other irritants may strip the oil from your skin and leave it dry or cracked. Other substances like oils or greases may clog your pores and cause your skin to become inflamed. Chemicals may burn your skin.
  • Allergy: If you have an allergy to a substance, even a small amount can result in a rash, blisters, burning or swelling. You may be allergic to dyes, resins or adhesives used in your workplace. A common allergen in many jobs is latex.
  • Cancer: Prolonged exposure to certain chemicals or radiation may place you at risk for skin cancer. If your job requires hours in the sun, your risk may be high.

Some occupations may present greater chances for skin problems. For example, manufacturing, health care and food production may expose you to harsh detergents or chemicals. Construction, farming and landscaping require hours of work in the sun.

Living with skin disease

Skin diseases can make your life miserable. Raw, sore skin may make it difficult to sleep or even to wear clothing without pain. Having someone touch or hug you may be excruciating. A skin cancer diagnosis can be devastating. Additionally, the more serious or widespread the irritation or infection, the more difficult it may be for you to function effectively on the job.

If your skin disease is related to your employment, you will certainly want to seek workers’ compensation to cover your medical bills and any lost time from work. However, you may be concerned about having to go through the process of convincing your employer or an insurance agent that your illness is related to your job. For help in this area, you may wish to consult a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney with a history of success in the area of occupational diseases.