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|15.0 The Law and Skin Disease-Current [17a ] |
Under the Social Security Industrial Injuries  there are prescribed occupational conditions or diseases, which if they have occurred or developed whilst claimants were in a prescribed occupations will qualify them to receive benefits, unless there is evidence to the contrary, provided they are employed in a particular occupation for a minimum of 1 month to 10 years. It states clearly that if the disease is not on the prescribed list or, if on list, but patient cannot meet the occupational qualifications, they are not entitled to cash under this scheme. The only prescribed diseases nominally relating to Plant Dermatitis are:Prescribed Diseases : Extrinsic Allergic Alrolitis : Occupational exposure to moulds and fungi or spores by reasons of employment in agriculture, horticulture. Or loading or unloading or handling mouldy vegetable matter or fungi.
15.1 The Health and Safety At Work Act 1974
States that employers must ensure the health and safety of all employers as far as reasonably practicable. They have a duty to make sure that the process and workplace do not cause a risk to health he may only resort to the use of personal protective equipment to achieve adequate control, if no other practical means are available. The HS at work also states, that employers are bound to protect employees from exposure to hazards such as dermatitis.
15.2 Workplace Regulations 1992
Intends to ensure that adequate welfare facilities are provided for people at work. This pertains to adequate ventilation, cleanliness and order. Adequate breaks should be made for recovery, rest. This also should ensure that working conditions are made as tolerable as possible and free of hazards.
15. 3 COSHH Regulations
The control of substances hazardous to health reg 1988 (COSHH SI no 1657) applies to all processes and activities where employees are liable to be exposed to concentrate substances which damage the skin. Chemicals contained within a plant are not covered. Regulation 5 of MHSR Regulation 11 Advocated surveillance of all risks in the workplace, along with reviews of Health & Safety Policies every year.
15. 4 The Offices and Railway Premises Act 1963 and the Factories Act 1961
Requires employers to provide employees with adequate and suitable washing facilities, with hot water, soap and towels, which are particularly relevant where risk of dermatitis., these are similar in 1974 HS Act.
15. 5 Pre Employment Health Screening [17 ]
Although beneficial, patch testing for allergies is not a legal necessity unless the job is one where work is a hazardous industrial job. Employers should use thorough questioners detailing their whole history and previous illness. Exclusion should be avoided for those however who do suffer from dermatitis, or are sensitive, as they are able bodied people with the means to protect themselves. It would also be illegal under discrimination laws to bar someone from a job he is qualified to do because of minor complaints. Those suffering from severe pollen allergy would be excluded however.
16.0 Problems Associated With The Law 
I find it so ironic that in this leaflet, (Ref. 24) the HSE acknowledges that dermatitis, although not
an injury or a disease, is the commonest cause of disablement in the horticultural industry.
They do not however regard plant dermatitis as a prescribed disease or injury, or Horticulture
and associated work as Prescribed Occupations. This has many associated problems, compensation
is not immediately available, treatment is difficult to obtain immediately, employers are therefore not obliged by law to educate their employees about the dangers of dermatitis, or provide more protection than it seems necessary. Thus the workers have a profound impediment, as the law regarding
this affliction is not on their side. It is also of particular concern that the chemicals contained in
plants are not covered. Therefore the most toxic and deadly plants may be used and sold without any jurisdiction whatsoever. These inadequate laws are the most significant stumbling block to current protection, treatment of the affliction by the appropriate people.
Dermatitis In the Horticulture Industry By James M. Burton In Association With Pencoed College Copyright 1997.