Workplace screening for hand dermatitis: a pilot study

Source: K. Nichol, R. Copes, S. Spielmann, K. Kersey, J. Eriksson1 and D. L. Holness, Occupational Medicine, Advance Access, First published online: September 26, 2015
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From the abstract:
Background: Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk for developing occupational skin disease (OSD) such as dermatitis primarily due to exposure to wet work. Identification of risk factors and workplace screening can help early detection of OSD to avoid the condition becoming chronic.
Aims To determine risk factors and clinical findings for hand dermatitis using a workplace screening tool.
Methods: Employees at a large teaching hospital in Toronto, Canada, were invited to complete a two-part hand dermatitis screening tool. Part 1 inquired about hand hygiene practices and Part 2 comprised a visual assessment of participants’ hands by a health professional and classification as (i) normal, (ii) mild dermatitis or (iii) moderate/severe dermatitis. Risk factors were determined using chi-square and Cochran–Armitage analysis on a dichotomous variable, where Yes represented either a mild or moderate/severe disease classification.
Results: There were 183 participants out of 643 eligible employees; response rate 28%. Mild or moderate/severe dermatitis was present in 72% of participants. These employees were more likely to work directly with patients, have worked longer in a health care setting, wash hands and change gloves more frequently, wear gloves for more hours per day, have a history of eczema or dermatitis and report a current rash on the hands or rash in the past 12 months.
Conclusions: There was a high percentage of HCWs with dermatitis and risk factors for dermatitis. These findings argue for increased attention to prevention and early identification of hand dermatitis and support further testing of the workplace screening tool.