The skin is susceptible to damage in many occupations and workplaces. Skin irritation can be a significant problem when there is exposure to mechanical, physical, chemical and biological agents such as friction, excessive heat, wind and cold, sunlight, dust, metals, organic and inorganic chemicals, detergents, soaps, irritating plant and food materials. The damage to the skin can result in conditions ranging from dryness to severe irritant or allergic contact dermatitis.

The Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program at the Department of Labor & Industries conducted work-related dermatitis research and surveillance. This multi-faceted project was funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).


Technical Reports

Prevention of hand dermatitis in the health care setting. A comprehensive document for healthcare workers on prevention, moisturizer use, and moisturizer compatibility with latex gloves and chlorhexidine gluconate. Survey results from infection control specialists in Washington hospitals regarding the use of hand washing products, gloves and moisturizers is also presented.

Educational Materials

Protecting yourself and your workers from poison oak and ivy (English/Spanish booklet, not available for download)

Educational booklet on poison oak and ivy identification with colored photos and approved methods of plant eradication (No. 63-01-2000). Please contact SHARP for high quality hard copies to use at your training event, see companion poster below.

Poison oak (English/Spanish poster)

Educational poster that teaches how to recognize poison oak and ivy in every season. This color poster is split over two pages, which should be joined after printing (No. 63-02-2000). Please contact SHARP for high quality copies to use in your training session.

Hand dermatitis in health care workers (brochure)

Information on the causes, prevention and treatment of hand dermatitis in health care workers exposed to gloves, water, and cleansing agents.