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Occupational Dermatitis Hazards and Control Measures

Prevent Occupational Disease - Hazards and Control Measures Occupational skin diseases, including occupational dermatitis, are the s...

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Monday, 23 November 2020

Occupational Dermatitis Hazards and Control Measures

Prevent Occupational Disease - Hazards and Control Measures

Occupational skin diseases, including occupational dermatitis, are the second most common type of occupational disease.
Number of  workers face job-related exposures to chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin, in industries ranging from construction to health care and food service. The occupational skin diseases that arise from these exposures can be every bit as debilitating as occupational lung diseases or severe ergonomic injuries, forcing workers out of their jobs.

Therefore, you should determine if the five risk factors for occupational dermatitis exist and must be and addressed in your workplace.
What Is Occupational Dermatitis?
Dermatitis occurs when skin becomes inflamed and irritated. The two general types of dermatitis are primary irritation and sensitization. Primary irritation usually results from contact with a substance—such as strong acids, caustics, and solvents—in a significant quantity, concentration, and length of time.
This affects the skin directly at the exposure site in different ways, depending on the type of chemical. For example, solvents work by removing fats and oils from the skin, while prolonged exposure to oils and waxes can plug up the skin's hair follicles and sweat ducts, causing inflammation and acne.
Sensitization is an allergic reaction that occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to a substance. Workers may become sensitized after a single exposure to a substance, or they may be exposed to a substance for years before their body begins to react.
Identifying Dermatitis Risks
No industry can claim immunity to problematic skin exposures. For example:
  • Workers in construction are exposed to Portland cement.
  • Healthcare workers are at risk from latex, chemical sterilants and disinfectants, and hazardous drugs.
  • Agricultural workers' skin is exposed to pesticides.
  • Many hairdressers are forced out of their trade because they develop skin reactions to the chemicals they use on their clients.
Any worker exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace should be aware of the potential for skin damage, the dangers of occupational dermatitis, and preventive measures, including wearing appropriate gloves to prevent contact.
These five factors increase the risk of occupational dermatitis:
1. Frequent or prolonged contact with chemicals. A chemical that might be harmless or mildly irritating during occasional use can become much more hazardous with frequent or prolonged contact. Examine the safety information for any chemical that is in contact with workers' skin frequently or for prolonged periods to ensure that it does not cause skin irritation, sensitization, or systemic effects.
Also, look for less obvious sources of chemical contact. For example, pesticide residues will linger on plants, and workers who handle these plants may have significant exposures through the skin even after the waiting period required following pesticide applications.
Sources of skin exposure include:
  • Direct contact with contaminated surfaces
  • Aerosolized particles
  • Immersion
  • Splashes
2. Skin that is already damaged. Intact skin can protect against many exposures, but damaged skin may permit chemicals that would otherwise be blocked to enter the body.
Employees who work with chemicals that pose a skin hazard should be aware of whether they need to take additional precautions when they have scratches or cuts on their skin. Under some circumstances—for example, workers with large open wounds that could come into contact with chemicals—they may need to be temporarily reassigned.

Workers exposed to mechanical hazards, such as friction, pressure, abrasive materials, or sharp edges, can suffer skin damage on the job that will make chemical exposures much more dangerous. Make sure chemical exposure hazards are not compounded by trauma hazards in the workplace.
3. Poor hygiene. Workers with dermal exposures should wash frequently so chemicals do not remain on their skin for long periods of time. Skin hygiene in the presence of hazardous chemicals is somewhat different from skin hygiene at home. Workers should:
  • Wash their hands before putting gloves on so they do not trap hazardous materials against their skin.
  • Wash their gloves before removing them so they do not transfer hazardous chemicals from the gloves to their skin.
  • Wash their hands after removing contaminated gloves, and dry their hands gently, but thoroughly.
  • Use only moisturizers provided by the employer that will not damage gloves, and apply lotions and moisturizers only to clean skin.
Note: If pH is an issue (as it is for workers who use Portland cement), employers should provide pH neutral or buffered soaps at work, and workers should also use them at home.
4. Temperature extremes or exposure to sunlight. Heat and cold both stress the skin, making it more susceptible to chemical injury. Sunlight, too, can make some exposures more dangerous through its interaction with chemicals.
5. Wet work. A chemical that might not ordinarily penetrate the skin in large amounts could do so under wet conditions—including heavy perspiration—because wet skin is more permeable than dry skin. Workers in wet environments may need to take precautions—such as wearing gloves—that would not be necessary if their skin were dry.
Tip: Workers who use solvents, such as methylene chloride, may be tempted to clean their skin with it. Teach them about the hazards and to clean their skin with soap and water only, rather than with potentially hazardous solvents.

15 Ways to Create a Happier Work Environment

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Motivate Employees for Happier Workplace Environment

  1. Appreciate your employees by recognizing their accomplishments with praise and appreciation.
  2. Don't wait for reviews or evaluations to praise your workers.
  3. Show employees you care by paying attention to their daily work and achievements.
  4. Show your appreciation when they are working particularly hard.
  5. You can never say “thank you” too often.
  6. Know your employees and coworkers by name.
  7. Be involved – say hello, ask them about their weekends, families, etc.
  8. Socialization is a key factor for happiness. The more fun and social your workplace is, the happier your employees will be.
  9. Don't micromanage your employees. It lowers motivation and the overall morale of the department.
  10. Free time can be even more important that money or raises. Motivate your employees by offering a paid day off or a more flexible schedule.
  11. Workers are happier when their basic needs are met, so support health and wellness initiatives at work.
  12. A healthy environment includes good lighting, plenty of natural sunlight, plants, plenty of fresh water, etc.
  13. Allow your workers to take shorts breaks where they can get up, stretch and take a break from the computer so they can refresh. This in turn will help improve their creativity and productivity.
  14. Encourage vacations. Workers will return happier, refreshed and motivated.
  15. Have weekly meetings to discuss good news. Most meetings go over what's missing or bad events – switch it up by holding meetings to share the positive news.

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Train Your People to Prevent Problems and Injuries

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Train Employees to Prevent Problems and Injuries

Safety Training / Weekly Tool box Talk is an excellent opportunity to remind employees of their responsibilities in preventing problems that could lead to injuries. These detailed the primary hazards workers are exposed to and offered recommendations on how to minimize those risks. 
Accident prevention at work is everyone's job. 
The vast majority of injuries and accidents that happen at the workplace are preventable.
Hazard recognition is the first step in having a safe workplace. 
The more you know about the various types of hazards that are found at the workplace, the better you become at spotting hazards.You must recognize potential hazards around you and make every effort to avoid and reduce these hazards. This is everyone’s job and all workers and supervisors should constantly look for hazards that can lead to injury. But you must do more.
Once you recognize the hazard, you must do something about it. 
Remember that as work progresses, hazards may change. By controlling, or eliminating the hazard, you have made the workplace safer.
Important Points
  • Always remember, safety starts with you.
  • You need to have a willing, positive attitude towards safety in the workplace.
  • You have people depending on you every day, and they expect you to come home alive and well. 
  • Practicing safety on the job will allow you to go home to the ones you love.
  • A willing, positive attitude towards safety and recognizing line of fire hazards will help make a safer work environment.
  • Plan your work and look for potential line of fire hazards.
  • Each task will have different hazards. Identify them before you begin work.
Why It Matters ?
  • Most accidents and injuries in the workplace are preventable.
  • Diligent awareness and prudent actions are needed to prevent injuries.
  • So, regularly train your workers on what hazards to be aware of in your workplace and what actions to take to protect against these hazards.
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Minimizing Workplace Injuries by Maximize Efficiency

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Prevent Workplace Injuries

From unexpected falls to machinery mishaps, accidents at work are unpredictable and can happen to anyone many injuries are reported in private industry employers. Putting in the extra effort to guarantee your work environment is safe shows employees you care about their well-being and may help improve workforce morale and productivity.

By taking action and following these precautionary steps, you can prevent common workplace injuries and protect your employees.


Falls have the unfortunate (but unsurprising) distinction of being the most common type of work injury. In one swift movement, you can hurt your body and your dignity. Slips, trips, and falls often can be avoided by keeping work spaces free of clutter; less to trip over means fewer injuries.
Keep walkways clear, boxes and files organized and properly stored, and electrical cords secured and covered. Use drip pans and guards when dealing with a liquid, and clean any spill immediately. Placing rugs and other skid-resistant surfaces in areas that might become slippery when wet can reduce falls.

Safety Tip: Add extra rugs in entryways to prevent slippery floors during rainy and snowy seasons.
Employees should refrain from standing on chairs, especially those with wheels. If you need assistance with something out of reach, use a step ladder that is placed on firm, level ground, or connect with the on-site specialist or maintenance team. The National Safety Council also suggests keeping vision lines clear by installing convex mirrors to improve sight lines when turning corners.

Struck or Caught By Objects

Being struck by or caught on an object is another common concern. Stack boxes straight up and down, but avoid piling them to the point where they become unstable. Remember to store heavy objects close to the floor to help lower the risk of being injured if a cabinet or bookshelf falls over. Beware of fully-extended file cabinet drawers because the cabinets are prone to toppling over.

Equipment Usage

Misusing equipment is one of the most prevalent causes of workplace injuries. Each staff member should be thoroughly trained on how to use equipment common to daily tasks and operations. Additionally, ensure each piece of equipment is used for its intended purpose and handled correctly. Regularly cleaning and inspecting equipment also can help certify that it's safe to use. If needed, confirm employees are wearing protective clothing such as safety glasses, helmets, or gloves when operating equipment to provide extra protection, and follow safety compliance.

Fire Safety

Fire hazards remain an ongoing concern. Start taking safety precautions by making sure all electrical cords are in good condition, because damaged cords can be a serious problem. Limit the use of space heaters and never leave one unattended. If you do need to use a space heater, keep it away from paper products and confirm it has a fail-safe for turning off if it tips over. Keep fire escape routes clear, and never block or shut off fire sprinklers. Verify all staffers are aware of the company's fire exit strategy by holding annual fire drills. Annually review fire alarms and extinguishers to be sure they are working and up to date.

If using combustible materials in the work environment, keep only the amount needed on hand and store materials in fire-safe containers in an assigned storage area. Using industrial vacuums to frequently clean work spaces also helps prevent dust accumulation and fires.

Substance Control

Drug addiction is affecting people from all walks of life, including your employees. Employees under the influence are more likely to be involved in an on-the-job accident because of impaired judgement, response time, and reflexes. Is your workplace current with drug testing policies? Expand existing policies to include commonly prescribed medications (opioids), as well as illicit drugs and alcohol. Implementing this type of testing establishes the use of drugs and can allow the employer to help the employee seek help for drug addiction.

Employers can start the conversation by educating their workforce about what's expected from the drug testing program and what resources they can access through the company Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP helps facilitate support by connecting employees with ongoing resources to stay clean and find healthier stress solutions outside of drug use. Drug testing is the first step in recognizing a problem and will keep and support a safe workplace.

Take Breaks

Many work-related injuries occur when a worker is tired and isn't paying close attention to surrounding dangers. Whether you're sitting at a computer all day or doing manual labor, it's important to take breaks to rest your mind and your body.

While workplace injuries can never fully be avoided, they can be decreased. Administrative staff play a key role when identifying and eliminating potentially harmful conditions. When conducting workplace walk-throughs, take this list of safety tips and see how many can be applied to your current work environment. Talk to employees about their needs and concerns, educate them on safety procedures, and establish a reporting system for potential hazards so that issues can be addressed before they cause a future workplace injury.

Workplace safety tips

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Workplace Safety Tips

The below listed essentials safety tips will help make your organization a safer place to work.

1. Know the hazards.

To reduce your risk of work-related injury or illness, you must first know the particular hazards of your job or workplace.

Help identify hazards by downloading this free workplace safety analysis checklist . You can also learn about risks by analyzing all workplace injuries  to find the root causes and asking your staff for input.

2. Reduce workplace stress.

Job stress has been linked to health problems, higher healthcare costs, increased risk of workplace accidents and more. Take steps to prevent stress from interfering with employees’ productivity, health and well-being with these strategies to reduce stress in the workplace.

3. Get up and move.

Encourage employees to take breaks and move around regularly throughout the day. Simply working in small breaks for movement can make a big difference in combating the dangers of staying in a static position all day long.

4. Pay attention to ergonomics.

Use ergonomically designed furniture and equipment , and rearrange work areas to maintain a neutral posture and keep everything within easy reach.

5. Use safe lifting techniques.

Use four safe moves when picking up and carrying heavy loads: Lift from a position of power, keep the load close to your body, use a staggered stance and don’t twist.
And watch the weight — the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends limiting manual lifting to a maximum of 35 pounds for the average person. Check out more safe lifting techniques or our lifting safety video  to see the technique in action.

6. Ensure employees wear personal protective equipment.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can dramatically reduce risk of injury if worn correctly. Examples of PPE include gear such as earplugs, hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, full-face masks and safety shoes.

7. Encourage employees to speak up.

Ask for input from employees often, and ensure everyone feels comfortable bringing safety hazards to their supervisors’ attention.

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This general instruction is valid for installation, servicing and modernization work done on elevators. It describes safe working procedures for preventing electric shock and other possible hazards from unwanted movement of equipment to yourself and others when working on elevators. Read and follow all related instructions.

Electrical work on elevators may be done by authorized persons only. Where more than one person is working on an installation, the responsibilities and tasks for electrical safety should be clarified by the supervisor before the work is started.

Do not work on live equipment unless it is absolutely necessary (e.g fault finding,fine tuning, etc.) If necessary a standard hazard and risk assessment, should be made to define when to work live and when to isolate.



Ensure that you have the necessary tools and equipment to complete your work tasks safely.
Use only approved insulated tools, which are in a serviceable condition. Electrical test instruments must comply with IS regulations.

Safety Equipment

Tools, equipment and devices must be used in accordance with the instructions and/or guidance provided by the manufacturer or supplier.
Examples of tools, equipment and devices:

  • Insulating shoes and gloves
  • Eye or face protection
  • Head protection
  • Insulated and insulating tools
  • Locks, notices and signs

Familiarize yourself with the site and the building representatives

  • Get familiar with the working practices and the safety procedures of the work site.
  • To ensure your safety, liaison with the site agent / builder / building owner or his representative is recommended especially where single man working is involved. Tell the building / site representative where you are working and when. If possible, ensure that a responsible person periodically monitors your welfare.
  • Avoid working in a building that is otherwise unoccupied. 

Working Area

  • Be aware of all the electrical risks, (including other non-elevator equipment), in the working area.
  • These should be minimized by guarding, (temporary or permanent). If this is not possible you must maintain a safe working distance from any exposed conductors.
  • Keep your work areas clear. Do not unnecessarily open covers, shields or guards. Replace them immediately when you have completed your work task. This rule applies even if you have planned further work at a later stage.
  • Where necessary place safety warning signs and barriers to protect both yourself and others.

Other people who may be affected by your work

  • Ensure that your work is not causing any safety hazard to other people in the building. Place warning and information signs as required. Agree with the building owner or his representatives about the appropriate safety measures.
  • Keep the machine room doors locked unless you are actually working in there.
  • When working in the lift well and it is necessary to keep the landing door open, protect the working areas on the landings so that other building users cannot come into contact with elevator equipment.

The elevator and its associated equipment

Take time to familiarize yourself with the elevator if it is new to you. This is particularly important when working with other manufacturer’s equipment where the level of training and information available may vary and circuit diagrams are in an unfamiliar style. Even if you have worked on the same elevator before, check for possible changes, (where applicable refer to the elevator logbook for past service history). Ensure that you know the location of all isolators and fuses.

Ensure you have adequate information to do the work and fully understand all the possible effects of your actions.
Read the manuals, circuit and wiring diagrams and other available relevant material. Ensure that the material you are reading is up to date - IF IN DOUBT -ASK. Talk to your supervisor if you have any doubts about the working method or safety related issues.



  • Check that there is no potential hazard for yourself or others in the immediate vicinity of the elevator, (other equipment, water, oil leaks etc, ...).
  • Do not cause environmental hazards. Use suitable containers for the removal of old rope oil.

Areas of Special Risk

  • Assess requirements for safety signage, high voltage warnings and procedures.
  • Ensure there is sufficient lighting for you to do your work safely.
  • If working in a multiple well installation ensure you are not at risk from moving parts of an adjacent elevator. If there is no well protection between adjacent elevators, if possible, arrange for the adjacent elevators to be switched off and keep all the cars at the same working level.
  • If it is not possible to switch off adjacent elevators ensure you maintain a safe working distance from all moving parts.
  • Be aware of the risks from overcrowding if more than one person is working in a restricted space.
  • Be aware of the risks from unexpected movement of the elevator or associated components.
  • Watch out for other hazards such as oil, tripping etc.
  • Check all the supplies to the elevator including lighting supplies and any other optional devices. Check also for possible emergency back up supplies,common supplies to all elevators in the case of multiple installations and other “kick back” energy sources.

Protect Yourself

  • Before commencing work in the lift well area, ensure that you are able to exit the well quickly and safely in all circumstances.
  • Do not deviate from the prescribed working method.
  • Use personal protective equipment as required. Wherever possible, avoid working on live equipment when you are on your own.
  • Never attempt to make repairs when equipment is live.
  • When it is necessary to work with live equipment take extreme care to avoid any possibility of hand to hand, or hand to foot/leg electric shock. Keep one hand away from the electrical conductors and any possible earthing connections. Use clip on leads for the test equipment particularly on the negative terminal.
  • When working on an elevator installation there are many components which are likely to be at earth potential, these can include control panels, connection boxes and trunking, landing doors, guide rails and ropes.
  • Do not wear jewelry, I.D. badges with metal chains or other loose items of conducting material which may put you at risk.
Evaluate the situation

  • Always test, using approved equipment that equipment is safe, ie. DEENERGISED. Do not rely on LED’s or other indicator lights and always allow sufficient time for all stored energy to discharge.
  • Check the measuring tools to ensure they are operative.
  • Ensure that switching off the power will not affect other people (e.g. people in the elevator car).

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