head head head

What are my employer's responsibilities?

Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, your employer has a duty to protect their workers from exposure. This means employers must assess the risks associated with the use of chemicals, solvents and other agents, and take all necessary steps to prevent exposure to risks. This means following a hierarchy of control measures:

  • Eliminate the chemical, for example by changing the work process.
  • Substitute the chemical for a safer one.
  • Protect you from exposure to it by enclosing the process.
  • Provide adequate ventilation.
  • Only then, as a last resort, should your employer rely on personal protective equipment to prevent exposure (such as gloves and facemasks) and ensure their proper use.

Where necessary your employer must introduce a system of health surveillance. Your employer must also provide information and training to all staff about the risks of dermatitis and how to prevent it.

Employers are required to report many cases of occupational dermatitis under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995, provided they are notified in writing to them by a doctor (for example, through a ‘fit note’ recording occupational dermatitis). The Health and Safety Executive website has more information on RIDDOR.