Prevention in Metalworkers

  • Christian ApfelbacherEmail author
  • Jochen Schmitt
  • Thomas Diepgen
Living reference work entry


  • Metal workers are at high risk of developing occupational skin diseases (OSD) such as hand dermatitis.

  • Wet work including exposure to cutting fluids, exposure to irritants, exposure to contact allergens at the workplace, and atopic skin diathesis are the main risk factors for the development of occupational hand dermatitis in metal workers.

  • Currently, the prognosis of occupational hand dermatitis in metalworkers remains poor even after they change their occupation. Therefore, primary prevention and early detection of OSD are of significant importance.

  • Preventive strategies should include
    • Organizational measures such as technical hazard control

    • Modification of the working environment such as substitution of wet work

    • Individual protective measures such as protective clothing, protective ointments before work, and nonirritating cleaning and skin care after work

    • Educational approaches to prevent OSD in unaffected metalworkers and to improve the prognosis of OSD in affected metalworkers


Prevention Metalworkers Occupational skin disease (OSD) Hand dermatitis (HD) Wet work Dry work Metalworking fluids (MWF) Neat oil Water-based MWF Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) Contact sensitization Atopic skin diathesis Flexural eczema “Hidden” allergens Patch test Personal protective equipment Skin care Skin protection 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Apfelbacher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jochen Schmitt
    • 2
  • Thomas Diepgen
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Medizinische Soziologie, Institut für Epidemiologie und Präventivmedizin, Fakultät MedizinUniversität RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Zentrum für Evidenzbasierte Gesundheitsversorgung (ZEGV), Medizinische Fakultät Carl Gustav Carus, TU DresdenUniversitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus an der Technischen Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  3. 3.Abteilung Klinische SozialmedizinUniversitätsklinikum HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  4. 4.Department of Social Medicine, Occupational and Environmental DermatologyUniversity HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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