Who is Liable for Contact Dermatitis?

Lever & Ecker, PLLC June 7, 2013 Construction Accidents

Contact dermatitis is an uncomfortable skin condition that leaves exposed body parts inflamed, red, itchy, blistered, hard and cracked. Construction workers commonly acquire this condition after prolonged exposure to an irritating substance. Employers are responsible for protecting their employees from this avoidable situation.


Exposure to a substance can take only days or even years to show up in dermatitis form. Some of the most common irritants include:

Wet cement
Cutting aids
Wood dust

Employer Responsibility

Employers must have a written safety statement that includes a risk assessment. This will identify all substances that can cause dermatitis on the job site, and employees are entitled to all of the information in the assessment. The report must also include:

How hazards are labeled
Who will be likely exposed
How long the exposure will last
Frequency of the exposure
Whether or not the exposure is within the levels of Chemical Agents Regulations


Workers can protect themselves from contact dermatitis by washing and drying their hands and using appropriate cleaners as well as do regular skin checks. Employers can control and prevent the exposure once the substance is identified in several ways:

Removal of the substance
Substituting the irritant with something less hazardous
Limiting worker exposure
Provide protective personal equipment including correct gloves
Instruction on barrier cream application
Sufficient number of wash stations with cold and hot water and cleaners
Hand drying facilities
Contact dermatitis can cause an employee to be out of work for long periods of time. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or lost wages because dermatitis protection was not provided by the employer, contact an experienced NY construction worker attorney.