Anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows how easy it is to injure themselves while on the job. The kitchen staff goes through safety training to handle high-capacity ovens, sharp knives, open flames and heavy boxes. It’s not uncommon to come home with minor burns, cuts or bruises.
However, the health and safety risks don’t end with these more obvious potential hazards.
Chemical irritants are a major problem for food service employees
All food service employees come into contact with chemical irritants throughout their shifts. Servers and bussers wipe down tables and chairs with sanitizing spray between customers. Dishwashers put their hands into detergent-filled sinks and follow up with hot rinse water and sanitizer. Then there’s the degreaser, the stainless steel polish and the floor cleaner.
It is common for food service employees to suffer from some form of occupational dermatitis, such as eczema or psoriasis. Occupational dermatitis is a skin disorder that develops as a result of repetitive exposure to skin irritants. Although there are medical treatments for occupational dermatitis, few employees are aware that their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance might cover their expenses.
What to do if you have occupational dermatitis
If you have symptoms of occupational dermatitis, you should report them to your employer. Treatment might require you to take some time off of work. Depending on how long and severe the exposure is, you may even qualify for long-term benefits, including wage replacement.
You deserve relief from the discomfort and limitations that result from excessive hand washing and exposure to harsh chemicals. If your Pennsylvania workers’ comp claim isn’t going as expected, it may be time to seek some experienced aid.