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Cleaner Who Developed Skin Condition Calls For Improved Safety After Successful Legal Action

Expert Workplace Illness Lawyers Secured Five-Figure Sum For Staffordshire Woman


A cleaner who developed a serious skin condition despite raising concerns with her employer about the damage it was doing to her skin has called for improved safety in the industry after expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured her a five-figure settlement from her employer.


Susan Davies, from Parkhall, Stoke-on-Trent, developed dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with a harmful solvent cleaner, during her time working for L&T Cleaning Services Limited.


During her work she was required to use an abrasive cleaning solvent and shortly after she began working for the company in 2010 she began to notice dry skin on her hands.


Over time the condition worsened until the skin on her hands began to crack and cause her pain at work. She told her employer that the products were damaging the skin on her hands but was not provided with any protective equipment.


She bought her own gloves to prevent the irritation the chemicals were causing her skin, but these were not sufficient to prevent further damage.


The 57-year-old noticed that the solvent PVC cleaning products she was required to use to clean window frames at new build properties she visited was aggravating the condition and visited her GP, who diagnosed her with contact dermatitis.


She instructed expert workplace illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her working conditions and if more should have been done by her employer to protect her from the skin irritation she suffered to her hands.


Despite, raising concerns about using the PVC solvent and the damage it was causing to her hands, she was never provided with protective equipment and was required to continue using the products.


The specialist lawyers have now secured Susan an undisclosed five-figure settlement just before a trial was due to take place after her employers, L&T Cleaning Services Limited, admitted liability for her injuries.


Susan continues to suffer severe pain in her hands and they often crack and bleed as a result of the skin irritation she suffered. She said washing her hands and undertaking everyday tasks can cause her symptoms to worsen and that she often wears gloves at home to prevent her condition from flaring up.


Alex Shorey, an expert workplace illness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell at the firm’s Birmingham office, said:


Expert Opinion
“Skin conditions such as contact dermatitis can be caused by regular contact with harmful substances but they can be easily avoided if the correct precautions and safety measures are implemented.

“Sadly for Susan, these measures were not taken by her employer and she has developed a serious condition that not only causes her a significant amount of pain, but has had a long-term impact on her day-to-day life.

“She continues to suffer with this condition and although medication can treat the symptoms, she regularly endures periods of pain caused by her contact dermatitis. We are delighted to have been able to secure her a settlement from her employer and hope that more will be done in the future to protect others for similar exposure to harmful substances.

“We hope the settlement will help Susan access the medication and treatment she will require to control the symptoms of her condition.”
Alex Shorey, Solicitor


Susan said: “Developing contact dermatitis has had a huge impact on my life and it is the last thing you expect to suffer as a result of your job.


“I can’t help but feel angry and frustrated as my concerns about the products we were using fell on deaf ears and as a result my condition worsened. The skin on my hands regularly cracks and bleeds and I have been forced to wear gloves around my own home to prevent me coming into contact with chemicals that now cause me irritation.


“Thankfully, I have now been awarded a settlement that offers me some stability given the impact my condition has had on my job prospects.


“I think it is really important that companies requiring people to use harmful chemicals and substances take note of what happened to me and make sure their staff are given the correct training and protective equipment that will prevent them developing the terrible condition I now have to deal with every single day.”

If you’ve developed eczema or dermatitis due to conditions at work, our industrial disease & illness claims team could help you claim compensation. Visit our Occupational Dermatitis Claims page for more information.

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