According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 13 million workers are possibly exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed by the skin and possibly cause occupational skin disease (OSD). In fact, OSDs make up the second most common variety of occupational disease. One reason Georgia employees seek workers’ compensation is because they have contracted contact dermatitis, which is the most common type of OSD.

Contact dermatitis is also referred to as eczema. Workers can manifest this disorder if their skin is contacted by a hazardous substance. A worker who is afflicted by contact dermatitis will generally experience itchy, scaly, dry, flaking or cracking skin. Contact dermatitis can be painful, with areas of swelling or red skin. Affected workers can also form blisters or itchy wheals on the skin.

Generally, occupational contact dermatitis takes two different forms. Workers might only experience some localized skin affliction. This is known as irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) and is the most common form of occupational contact dermatitis. However, if a worker is allergic to a particular substance and is exposed to it, the worker could manifest allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), which can cause a wider reaction across the skin and even systemic responses.

The Mayo Clinic explains that contact dermatitis, while not life-threatening, can cause great harm to a person’s quality of life. Eczema sufferers can be very uncomfortable and experience so much pain and discomfort that they may not be able to perform work or other daily activities. Some people cannot even sleep well due to the discomfort. Also, contact dermatitis does not necessarily go away quickly; in fact, it can last for over three weeks.

Contact dermatitis can be a severe impediment to working and earning a living, plus the constant skin rash and irritation could potentially lead to an infection or other condition that requires more serious treatment. Workers afflicted with contact dermatitis due to an encounter with a hazardous substance in the workplace have the right to seek workers’ compensation to deal with their condition.