The article on the right
is an extract from
"It's no Accident".
Literature published by
The Australian Metal
Workers Union on
Work related dermatitis an itchy problem
Occupational dermatitis is probably under
reported and under treated, if overseas reports apply to Australian
conditions. The printing union in the UK reported that 40% of Nottinghamshire
printing workers have suffered from work related skin complaints
at some stage and 11% had a current problem. The problems are not
limited to the print industry. Up to 20% of metal workers have been
reported as having work connected skin complaints.
Agents causing allergic dermatitis include:
epoxies & other resins
Agents causing irritant dermatitis include:
cutting oils & coolants
Survey your workplace to assess what agents are being used and what
effects they may be having on workers.
Coolants that don't get under your skin
Dermatitis is an under recognised and persistent
problem for metal workers exposed to cutting oils/fuids and soluble
oils. Often alternatives to these chemicals are hard to find, but
the situation is changing. The National Industrial Chemicals Assessment
Scheme has just gazetted Stabillo Cut Universal Machining Coolant,
which appears to have a lower irritant factor than other coolants.
It is imported by ProTUBE in South Australia.
Usually the impetus to change coolants is for technical reasons, but
the skin health of our members should also be a priority in deciding
what products to use. Some AMWU workplaces have started using the
product in their tool rooms with good results. In one such trial the
CNC machine operator Robert said, "even at 8.5% concentration,
I did not feel any skin irritation like I do with other coolants."