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Work-related skin problem in restaurant, catering and fast-food personnel

Posted Oct 02 2009 10:02pm

To determine the prevalence and risk factors for contact dermatitis and burns among restaurant, catering and fast-food outlet (FFO) staff, workers were interviewed and then clinical examination and patch and/or prick tests were conducted in selected individuals.

65 from 335 (19%) had occupational dermatitis or burns and contact dermatitis was the commonest diagnosis. All 35 workers had irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). The 3-month period prevalence for burns was 6% (20 workers)

The adjusted prevalence rate ratios of risk factors for ICD were 2.78 (95% CI 1.36–5.72) for frequent hand washing >20 times per day, 3.87 (95% CI 1.89–7.93) for atopy and 2.57 (95% CI 1.21–5.47) for contact with squid.

Occupational dermatoses in restaurant, catering and fast-food outlets in Singapore
Teo, S., Teik-Jin Goon, A., Siang, L. H., Lin, G. S., Koh, D.
Occupational Medicine 2009 59(7):466-471

Background: The restaurant industry is a rapidly growing sector in Singapore and workers in this industry are trained in culinary skills but not on recognition of safety and health hazards and their control measures. Anecdotal clinical evidence has suggested an increased prevalence of occupational dermatoses among restaurant workers.

Aims: To determine the prevalence and risk factors for contact dermatitis and burns among restaurant, catering and fast-food outlet (FFO) staff.

Methods: Workers were interviewed and then clinical examination and patch and/or prick tests were conducted in selected individuals.

Results: In total, 335 of 457 workers (73% response) were interviewed and 65 (19%) had occupational dermatitis or burns and were examined. Of these, contact dermatitis was the commonest diagnosis, with a 12-month period prevalence of 10% (35 workers) and 3-month period prevalence of 8% (26 workers). All 35 workers had irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) and there were no cases of allergic contact dermatitis. The adjusted prevalence rate ratios of risk factors for ICD were 2.78 (95% CI 1.36–5.72) for frequent hand washing >20 times per day, 3.87 (95% CI 1.89–7.93) for atopy and 2.57 (95% CI 1.21–5.47) for contact with squid. The 3-month period prevalence for burns was 6% (20 workers). Ten workers had other occupational dermatoses such as work-related calluses, paronychia, heat rash and allergic contact urticaria to prawn and lobster.

Conclusions: ICD and burns are common occupational skin disorders among restaurant, catering and FFO workers.

Posted in Occupational diseases Tagged: irritant contact dermatitis, skin
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