industrial dermatitis claim

Industrial Dermatitis Claim: How To Claim Compensation And Show Employer Fault

In this article we explain how to succeed with an industrial dermatitis claim; what dermatitis is; the types of employment where you are likely to suffer dermatitis; claiming as a contractor or the self-employed; other types of dermatitis claim including medical error and hairdresser claims: how to prove your employer is legally at fault and how much compensation you can claim for dermatitis and other skin conditions.

What is industrial dermatitis claim?

Industrial dermatitis is the name given to an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with chemicals or substances in the workplace.

If the dermatitis is caused by your employer’s negligence and your solicitor can prove legal fault – you may be able to make an industrial dermatitis claim for compensation for your pain and suffering and financial loss and expense.

You Can Claim For Dermatitis In Other Settings
You may have suffered dermatitis in another setting outside of the workplace.
For example – an hairdresser’s incorrect use of bleach or other hair products could cause you to develop dermatitis to your scalp or face.

What types of job can cause you to develop dermatitis?

The types of jobs that can lead to an industrial dermatitis claim are many,

Some typical examples include:

Factory workers, florists, hairdressers, construction workers

There are many types of jobs with work conditions that can lead to an industrial dermatitis condition developing.

Typical examples include: factory workers, florists, hairdressers and construction workers.

In each of these jobs – you will typically be exposed to chemicals and dusts.

If the correct PPE is not provided and you go on to develop dermatitis – your employer will most likely be considered legally at fault.

“Yes”- there are a number of other ways dermatitis might be caused outside of the work setting that can give rise to a claim for compensation.

Scalp dermatitis from hair salon negligence

Dermatitis of the scalp is typically caused in hair salon claims and goes hand in hand with damage to your hair. This might come from the incorrect use of bleach (without first doing a patch test) or use of other hair products.

See our hair damage claim article setting out the amounts of compensation for hair and scalp injury.

Medical error causing dermatitis

You may develop dermatitis as a result of medical negligence.

For example – you might receive an incorrect prescription or medical treatment which caused dermatitis to develop.

How does a solicitor show that your employer is legally at fault?

Determining “legal fault” for an industrial dermatitis claim is not a straight forward process.

A specialist disease solicitor will be best able to advise you on the chances of proving fault and succeeding with your claim.

However, to prove fault your solicitor will rely on:

Health and safety laws

Your solicitor will check to see if your employer was complying with the general Health and Safety laws and specific laws relating to the chemicals or dusts that you may be exposed to.

The material contribution test

Your employer should take proper steps to avoid you having excessive exposure to chemicals that are known to cause skin problems.

If your employer has taken precautions and dermatitis has still developed a test in law known as the “material contribution” test can be used to help you show your employer’s responsibility for your industrial dermatitis claim.

For example – you work in a factory and your employer has two dust producing machines. One with a correct dust extractor fitted and one without. You use them both, but most of your time is spent on the first machine. You cannot prove which dust from which machine caused your dermatitis.

Here – your employer could argue that proper steps had been taken to limit dust emissions for the machine you used the most. However – your solicitor would argue that the dust from the second machine (that did not have a proper extractor) materially contributed to your dust exposure. In this way your employer would not escape liability for your industrial dermatitis claim.

Failure to provide showers at work

Imagine you are a construction worker and are asked by your employer to cut bricks. You work weekend shifts and have a cabin to sleep in for the weekend provided by your employer.

Excessive exposure to brick dust is known to cause dermatitis. Your employer provides you with all the correct protective equipment, but does not provide you with the use of a shower at work.

Inevitably brick dust gets onto your body. The brick dust stays on your skin until you can get home and have a shower. You develop industrial dermatitis.

Here – your employer could still be found liable. It is known that fine brick dust will still penetrate the PPE defences and as such you will be exposed to dust both at work and after work at the weekend (until you can return home on weekdays).

industrial dermatitis compensation claim
Industrial Dermatitis Compensation Claim

Can you claim if you are self-employed or a contractor?

Should you be a contractor or self-employed individual – you may still be able to claim compensation if you develop dermatitis from exposure at work.

You would need to show that someone (other than yourself) was responsible for your system of work and for the provision of PPE.

The best approach is to speak to a specialist solicitor to see if you are entitled to make an industrial dermatitis claim.

Industrial dermatitis claim amounts

See our skin disease compensation calculations article for full details as to how much compensation you can claim for industrial dermatitis and other skin diseases.


In this article you have discovered how industrial dermatitis can be caused at work and in other settings; how to prove employer fault, claiming as a contractor or self-employed individual and how to value the amount of compensation your industrial dermatitis claim is worth.

Specialist Solicitor Free Help

We offer a number of free online and telephone help options to industrial dermatitis victims. You can call our solicitors direct or contact us online to have your claim assessed and ask us a question.