Hairdressers reluctant to claim workers comp, study finds

Occupational contact dermatitis is one of the most common work-related diseases in the developed world. Credit: iStock

A large number of hairdressers do not claim workers compensation for occupational contact dermatitis, according to a recent study.

Occupational is one of the most common work-related diseases in the developed world and is caused by a range of workplace exposures such as frequent or exposure to irritating or allergic substances.

Conducted by Dr Tessa Keegel from Monash University and doctors Georgina Lyons and Rosemary Nixon from the Skin and Cancer Foundation, the study compared diagnosed disease data for occupational contact dermatitis in hairdressers from 1993 to 2009 in Victoria, Australia.

The study was funded through an Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) development grant.

Dr Keegel, from the Monash Department of Epidemiology and , said that over a 17 year period 157 hairdressers and hairdressing apprentices were diagnosed with occupational contact dermatitis.

"During this same time period, data from ISCRR's Compensation Research Database showed only 46 worker compensation claims for occupational contact dermatitis, less than one third of diagnosed cases," Dr Keegel said.

"Given that only a small percentage of hairdressers with this problem are referred to and attend a consultant dermatologist, the true discrepancy of claims to confirmed cases is likely to be much greater."

The study found the discrepancy between the high number of diagnosed cases and the low number of claims filed for occupational contact dermatitis is similar to findings in the United Kingdom and Denmark.

Hairdressers are particularly susceptible due to the amount of time spent with their hands in water, exposed to chemicals such as perming solutions or bleaches in , as well as sweating caused by wearing water-proof gloves for long periods of time.

"Skin problems are high in young hairdressers suggesting that many are unaware of and ill-equipped to manage them," Dr Keegel said.

"Hairdressers may accept dermatitis as 'part of the job', be unaware of their compensation entitlements or be put off by paperwork."

Past research suggests occupational contact dermatitis is more common in women than men, however when looking across all occupations, the majority of claims are made by men.

A number of hairdressers may also be self-employed and therefore not be represented in workers' compensation statistics. Fear of job loss may also influence reporting particularly among apprentices and part-time workers.

"Increased efforts are needed to reduce the incidence of occupational contact dermatitis in hairdressers, particularly younger workers, and to ensure that hairdressers with occupational contact dermatitis are aware of their entitlements," Dr Keegel said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tooting your horn can raise risk for skin condition

Mar 16, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Musicians and their instruments often make beautiful music together, but occasionally the relationship can hit a sour note: Certain parts of musical instruments may put their owners at risk ...

Workers make fewer claims for psychological illnesses

Aug 23, 2012

Research has found that Australian workers are significantly less likely to claim GP visits for psychological illnesses on workers' compensation than they are for physical work-related injuries like musculoskeletal disorders.

Allergy treatment may cause new allergy

Dec 14, 2010

Allergic contact dermatitis from aluminium has previously been considered very unusual. However, there are now reports of pruritic nodules and aluminium allergy arising after vaccinations or treatments for allergies. Researcher ...

Recommended for you

Pregnant woman taken off life support in Ireland

Dec 26, 2014

A brain-dead pregnant woman was taken off life support Friday after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus was doomed to die—a case that exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland's ...

'Tis the season to overeat

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Overeating is common during the holidays, but there are strategies that can help you eat in moderation, an expert says.

Don't let burns mar your holidays

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—The risk of burns from fires and cooking accidents increases during the holidays, so you need to be extra cautious, an expert says.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

AtriumLegal
not rated yet Dec 13, 2012
Work Related Dermatitis is one of the most common work illnesses reported to us but it is true, not many are from Hairdressers.
This maybe due to loyalty to their employer or not wanting to acknowledge they have a condition that affects their apperance.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.