Skin Safety in the Construction and Manufacturing industries 

Skin is the body’s largest organ, and it plays a vital role in protecting us from the environment.

However, workers in the construction and manufacturing industries are often exposed to a variety of hazards that can damage the skin, including: 

  • Chemicals: Workers in these industries may be exposed to a variety of chemicals, including solvents, acids, and alkalis. These chemicals can irritate the skin, cause burns, and even lead to skin cancer. 
  • Dust: Workers in these industries may be exposed to a variety of dust particles, including concrete dust, metal dust, and wood dust. These dust particles can irritate the skin and cause dermatitis. 
  • Sunlight: Workers in these industries often work outdoors, where they are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. UV radiation can damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. 


Common skin diseases in construction and manufacturing 

  • Dermatitis: Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including exposure to chemicals, dust, and sunlight. Dermatitis can cause the skin to become red, dry, itchy, and cracked. In severe cases, it can lead to blisters and open sores. 
  • Skin cancer: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is caused by damage to the skin cells from UV radiation. Skin cancer can appear as a mole that changes in shape, size, or colour, or as a new growth on the skin. 


How to protect your skin in construction and manufacturing  

  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE): PPE, such as gloves, goggles, and respirators, can help to protect the skin from exposure to chemicals, dust, and sunlight. It is important to choose the right PPE for the job and to wear it properly. 
  • Keep your skin clean: Wash your skin with soap and water at the end of each work shift to remove dirt, sweat, and chemicals. It is also important to wash your hands frequently throughout the day. 
  • Apply sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours, or more often if you are sweating or swimming. 
  • Cover your skin: When possible, cover your skin with clothing, such as long sleeves, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. 


Employer responsibilities 

Employers have a responsibility to provide their workers with a safe and healthy work environment. This includes providing workers with the necessary PPE and training on how to use it safely. Employers should also provide workers with access to sunscreen and other skin protection products. 

Skin safety is imperative for all workers, but it is especially important for workers in the construction and manufacturing industries. By following the tips above, workers in these industries can help to protect their skin from damage and reduce their risk of skin diseases. 

The iProtectU health and safety software provides: 

  • An inspection and Audit App which allows for safety inspection of the workplace and associated report 
  • eLearning on a wide range of EHS topics, many of which cover skin safety 
  • Scheduling functionality for managers to send eLearning, risk assessments and documents out to all staff via the software with tracks completion and compliance 
  • Risk assessment templates covering hazards which may affect skin 
  • Management system to document control the policy on skin safety 
  • Method Statement module for the creation of working instructions 
  • Legal register that provides legislation guidance on skin safety 
  • Incident investigation module that tracks incidents involving employees’ skin both with an app and via desktop 
  • Hazard observation app where staff can report and record any concerns regarding skin safety to the organisation 
  • Asset management App ensuring assets are recorded in the software 



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