The Issues

Occupational Dermatitis & Employee Well-being

From vehicle maintenance & repair workshops, body & paint shops through to fast fit centers and vehicle breakdown services, employees in an automotive environment are exposed to a wide variety of soilings, potential irritants, temperature swings and, at times, exposed working conditions. This can lead to visible skin problems ranging from red, sore, chapped skin through to serious instances of occupational dermatitis.

The cost of these problems in the automotive environment can be significant and is widely accepted to be severely under reported. Not only are there personal costs for the employee, but there are also other costs to the business:

  • Absence due to illness
  • Lost or reduced productivity
  • Compensation
  • Retraining
  • Poor staff morale
  • Fines and financial penalties
  • Negative publicity

Damaging Hand Cleansers

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), one of every four workers is exposed to some form of skin irritant in the workplace. Whether it’s a maintenance worker, a manufacturing worker, mechanic or food service worker, the chances are good they are dealing with some type of skin hazard. Those hazards can cause numerous skin problems, and the results can be anything from simple dry skin to more advanced, painful and costly problems such as dermatitis.


The word’s very root (from Latin) means “to loosen,” so a solvent is a substance capable of dissolving or dispersing one or more other substances. Water is perhaps the most universal of solvents. Together with surfactants and scrubbing agents, solvents help to remove dirt and other contamination from the skin. Some solvents can be dangerous to the skin because of toxic or allergic reactions. Cleansers with a high content of solvents can cause problems to the skin because of the high defatting effect which destroys the natural barrier of the skin.