Work-Related Skin Disorder Picture Changing, Says Expert


A study of 147,000 patients seen at Kaiser Permanente occupational medicine clinics in Southern California indicates a shift in work-related skin disorders.

The study, conducted between 2004 and 2008, suggests that although, at one time, work-related skin disorders accounted for 10-15% of all workplace injuries—and contact dermatitis represented more than 90% of workers’ compensation claims for occupational skin disorders—skin disorders now account for only one percent of all workplace injuries. And contact dermatitis now accounts for only 20% of total cases.

Speaking at American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting, Dr. Nita Kohli noted that:

  • Burns now account for 65% of all workers’ comp cases and for an average of 4.3 lost workdays;
  • Infections account for 9% of workers’ comp claims;
  • Bites account for 4%; and
  • 2% are listed as unspecified.

So why do you think there’s been this change in the nature of work-related skin disorders?