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Protecting your skin in the work place

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and its first line of defense against external threats. That makes protecting your skin important. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that employers subject 13 million employees to skin hazards every year. These hazards stem from chemical, mechanical and physical sources. Effects of these hazards can not only affect your self-esteem but your physical health too.

Everyone should be aware of potentially hazardous agents throughout their workplace.

Common conditions

Among the most common reported skin conditions each year is eczema. Eczema is an often-painful condition that leaves the skin itching and reddened. This reaction is attributable to contact with a chemical or surface or an allergen. Even latex gloves designed to protect the skin can cause an allergic reaction for some.

Burns, cuts and scrapes are other common skin problems, which can range from minor to severe. Outdoor workers must also protect themselves against skin cancer and other dangers. Proper skin care is crucial for all employees.

Most vulnerable employees

Any worker can sustain a work-related skin condition. Yet, certain workers are more susceptible than others. There are industries that need to take extra care in preventing harm:

  • Food service: Burns, cuts and exposure to foodborne illnesses are potential risks in the food service business.
  • Construction: Construction workers perform important but difficult work. There are numerous exposures to skin threats that can range greatly in severity.
  • Cleaning: Working with chemicals poses a threat to both the respiratory system and the skin. Avoiding skin contact with chemicals is crucial in protecting yourself on the job.

These are not the only industries at-risk for skin injuries. Make yourself aware of the potential skin hazards surrounding you in your workplace.

Protecting yourself

Safety systems like the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) aim to protect all employees from workplace dangers by outlining ways to defend yourself against workplace harm, including dangers to the skin. There are a few protective measures to take, such as ensuring that chemicals are properly stored and labeled and wearing proper protective gear when handling hot and cold items and from chemicals.

Work-related skin conditions can have lifelong effects on your health. Be sure to do your part to ensure that you end your work day in the same condition you started it.

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