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Skin safety in the workplace

Mid Ulster District Council is keen to help raise awareness about skin safety in the workplace.

The Council is teaming up with all NI Councils in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive NI (HSENI) to portray key messages on the important issues around safe skin.

Commencing in April 2016 the organisations involved will be visiting businesses to ensure that where appropriate, workers are given information, training and equipment to protect skin from workplace hazards. 

The initiative will focus on the common workplace skin issues of sun exposure for outdoor workers and work related dermatitis. 

Work-related dermatitis (sometimes known as eczema) accounts for a significant proportion of work-related ill health whereas sun exposure can blister skin and make it peel or in the long term may increase the chance of developing skin cancer.

The majority of work-related skin disease cases are preventable by adopting simple steps to manage risks in the workplace; effective skin care is an important part of any regime, along with applying simple exposure reduction methods.

When inspectors visit relevant workplaces as part of the initiative they will expect safe skin to be considered in the business risk assessment.  If safe skin is a potential issue they will expect to see effective organisation and arrangements, which may include:

  • Risk assessment considering Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and sun exposure. 
  • Information, instruction and supervision, with evidence of management commitment
  • Controls adequate to establish a Safe Working Distance between skin and contaminants
  • Personal Protective Equipment (including gloves) used
  • Skin inspection in place, with records
  • Work-related skin issues reported under RIDDOR​​

Two information leaflets have been developed for the safe skin initiative giving advice for both employers and employees who may be affected by work related skin issues. To view the leaflets click on the related documents.

Further information and advice is available online at the HSE’s website http://www.hse.gov.uk/skin/

Further assistance is also available from Mid Ulster District Council’s Environmental Health Department.

Please contact the Council on 03000 132 132 and ask to speak to a member of the Health and Safety team at one of the local offices.