Skin is the thin layer of tissue that forms the natural cover of the human body. One of its functions is to protect the human body (UV radiation, toxic substances, etc.). Skin is a very important exposure route for many different substances and products at the workplace, home, or other facilities. Dermal exposure can cause local damage or systemic effects if it crosses the skin barrier. Absorption of chemicals through the skin can occur without being noticed. Employees working at industries such as health care, cleaning, painting, mechanics, construction, printing, food service, and cosmetology are at risk for dermal exposure to hazardous substances. Occupational skin exposure can create different kinds of health problems. Direct skin effects, immune-mediated skin effects, and systemic effects are major concerns of occupational dermal exposure. The symptoms of acute skin exposure can cause pain, itching, redness, and swelling. Severity of skin contact depends on exposure concentration, absorption, chemical property of the substance, length of time, condition of skin, and frequency of the exposure. Understanding dermal exposure hazards is important in order to properly implement protective measures and ensure the safety and health of workers. All employees should be educated and trained according to the OHSA requirement.
- Some Protection Tips:
- Keep your workplace clean.
- Have proper waste containers in place.
- Have MSDS for all substances at the workplace.
- If you are outside use sunscreen and sunglasses.
- Label and safely store chemicals.
- Have eye wash stations and showers close if you work with strong acids or dangerous chemicals.
- Use required PPE (gloves, aprons, etc.). Eye protection is particularly important.
- Wear clean clothes to work. If your clothes come into contact with any chemical take them off immediately after work.
- Do not clean your skin with oil, grease, or turpentine.
- Do not smoke, eat, or drink at your work area.
- Avoid chemical contact your eyes or skin.
- Avoid or reduce contact with the materials that can cause skin systemic problems.
- Complete training on chemical handling, labeling, personal protective equipment, and general safety before working with chemicals or other hazardous substances.