Dermatitis is a medical term for a variety of skin rashes and complaints. It is a common work-related medical problem and can be caused by many different substances and activities. Most mild cases can be cleared up by a few simple precautions.

What can cause dermatitis?

  • Substances such as irritating chemicals, chemicals that cause allergies, clothing materials and even heat and cold can cause or exacerbate dermatitis.
  • Common irritants are used in concrete and masonry work: cement, lime, form oil, curing compounds, epoxies.
  • Other materials containing chemicals which affect many people are paint, lubricants and preservatives such as creosote.
  • Some people are unusually sensitive to sun and certain chemicals or medicines can aggravate this sensitivity.
  • You may have been working with a material for years and never had any trouble and suddenly become sensitive. Once this happens you may never be able to handle that material again even with gloves and protective clothing.
  • Protect yourself from these chemicals which may make your skin sensitive because trying to correct the problem afterwards may be too late.
  • Sanitizer may also cause skin irritation, if this is the case, wear medical gloves to protect your hands.

These precautions should be followed as a matter of routine:

  • Wear boots and gloves when they are provided for your use.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants.
    Cotton clothing is preferred.
  • Put on clean clothes every day.
  • Rinse dust, paint, powders, etc. from exposed skin with plain water as soon as practical and take a shower after work every day.
  • Get medical attention when you first notice a skin rash and do not attempt to treat it yourself other than avoiding the substance that may have caused it.

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