Skin disorders like occupational dermatitis threaten the efficiency of your business, and the well-being of your employees. Here’s how to prevent it.
When it comes to work-related health problems, occupational skin diseases are the second-most common complaints. Given that most cases can be prevented by the implementation of skin management processes in the workplace, it’s clear that occupational skin care is worthy of proper attention and priority. This is because skin disorders like occupational dermatitis threaten both the efficiency of your business and the well-being of your employees
What is occupational dermatitis?
- Occupational dermatitis is characterised as an inflammation of the skin caused by working environments or as a result of contact with harmful substances.
- Symptoms include: irritation, redness, and swelling of the skin that will usually spread if it is left untreated.
- Dermatitis can happen in most industrial applications, but it is most common in the construction, cleaning, maintenance and manufacturing sectors, especially with ‘wet work’ where the skin is exposed to moisture and wet conditions for prolonged periods.
- If dermatitis isn’t treated quickly and effectively it is likely that more serious long-term issues may arise which will reduce productivity and result in time off work.
In order to keep skin healthy and prevent occupational skin disorders, handwashing alone is not going to cut it. Workers should be using pre-work protection creams, as well as post-work restoration creams, where they come into contact with soilings and chemicals.
What can you do about skincare in your workplace?
Educate your colleagues, educate your workers. People often think that cracked or dry skin is simply part of the job, not realising that cracked skin will lead to more severe problems. This is because cracked skin means that the skin barrier has been compromised, which will make it easier for harmful substances to penetrate.
To prevent skin damage, workers need to be educated about the importance of maintaining healthy skin in order to prevent doctor’s visits, medication and time off work. This means communicating the potential hazards of the substances they work with daily, and how these can affect their skin adversely. It’s important to teach them how to safely and effectively remove substances from their hands throughout the workday and once their workday is done.
Implement a Skin Care Program in your organisation. In South Africa, where it is the employer’s responsibility to provide for the health and safety of their employees, implementing a skin care program in your facility can help prevent skin irritation where it is not possible to protect the skin against workplace contaminants or PPE provides sufficient protection. Cleaning and taking care of the hands is an important part of developing a proactive, holistic stance against work related skin disorders. Such program should be specific to the substances being handled, and should cover:
- A before-work protective product
- A cleanser
- A post-work skin conditioner
However, a skin care management system is more than putting the right products in the right places and will require buy-in from everyone in the workplace. Your management team and H&S officers have a duty to ensure that all staff are sufficiently aware and trained to understand the need for the program.
The Deb Stoko range of occupational skincare products
The Deb Stoko range contains specialist protect and restore creams for use in the workplace. An expansive range that strives to protect the skin from exposure to damaging substances in the workplace with the intention of reducing the risk of occupational skin disease for employees.
This unique skin care program makes it easy to help health and safety managers implement structured skin management procedures into the workplace. As an example the 3 Steps below are for an environment with contaminants such as grease, oil, lubricants, carbon black and paint.
Step 1: Protect (Before work)
- Protect skin from oily and water-insoluble workplace substances with Deb Stoko Travabon Classic, a fat-free barrier cream that makes it easier to clean skin after contact with heavy-duty contamination.
- This pre-work protects against heavy oil-based and mechanical irritants, containing a unique oil with an emulsifier suspension to prevent the penetration of dirt into the skin.
Step 2: Cleanse (During and after work)
- Keep hands clean with Deb Stoko Solopol Classic – a traditional hand cleanser for heavy-duty skin cleansing.
- It is solvent-free, pH skin and it contains a natural scrubbing agent to get hands clean without drying skin out.
- This cleanser also contains Eucomol, which is a skin protectant to minimise the risk of skin irritation.
Step 3: Restore (After work)
- Restore the balance of moisture in skin with Deb Stoko Stokolan Classic, a silicone-free cream which is easy to apply.
- Moisture is swiftly absorbed and does not leave any unpleasant or oily film.
- This moisturiser has a proven track record with helping to prevent occupational skin diseases and it has a high glycerine content to enhance elasticity and soothe the skin.
- It is also rich in lanolin to support the skin barrier and smooth the skin.
To find out more about Deb Stoko occupational skin care products, get in touch here.