Abstract Number: 25

Occupational hand dermatitis in Victoria: causes andcontributing factors

R. Nixon, C. Wong, A. Palmer, R. Toholka, J. Cahill

Meeting: 2015 Dermcoll

Session Information

Date: -

Session Title: Contact Dermatitis Symposium

Session Time: -

Introduction: Occupational skin disease (OSD) is one of
the most recognised occupational diseases globally,
because of its work-related morbidity, significant economic
impact and variable outcomes, which are not always favourable
The most common form of OSD is occupational
contact dermatitis (OCD).
Understanding the causative
allergens and irritants in OCD is important to enable the
prevention of OCD.
Methods: A review of our Occupational Dermatology Clinic
database (Patchcams®) over a 20-year period (March 1993
to December 2013) was undertaken to identify the most
common allergens and irritants, and also the occupations
at risk of hand dermatitis. In a parallel study, a detailed
analysis of factors contributing to OCD in 44 workers was
undertaken.
Results: A total of 3252 patients, between 16 and 73 years
old were patch tested. The main site of dermatitis in 68%
(2210) patients was the hands, and 85.3% (1891/2210) of
cases were occupationally related. The most frequent diagnosis
for occupational hand dermatitis (OHD) was irritant
contact dermatitis (75%, 1418/1891) with common irritants
being wet work, soaps, solvents, cutting oils/lubricants
and acids/alkalis. Allergic contact dermatitis affecting the
hands was diagnosed in 54.4% (1028/1891) of the
patients. The most common causative allergens included
thiurams (rubber accelerators), potassium dichromate,
p-phenylenediamine (hair dye), ammonium persulphate
(hairdressing bleach), epoxy resin, diaminotoluene sulphate
(hair dye) and preservatives. High-risk occupations
were healthcare workers, trades and labour workers, food
handlers, hairdressers/beauticians and machine/plant
operators. The main factors identified as contributing to
OCD were lack of education regarding skin hazards and
lack of knowledge about the possibility of allergy; inadequate
personal protective equipment; exposure to hard-toavoid
allergens such as substances in gloves and skincare
products and finally, inappropriate use of latex gloves.
Conclusion: Understanding the common causes together
with the contributing factors to OHD, will aid in development
of preventative measures in high-risk occupations