To extend and update past research on occupational dermatitis by examining recent workers’ compensation claims data.
Retrospective analysis of workers’ compensation claims from Oregon (1990-1997).
All dermatitis-related workers’ compensation claims were merged with US census data to estimate rates of dermatitis by age, sex, occupation, and industry. Associated claim costs and disability times were also calculated from these data.
All individuals with accepted dermatitis claims (N = 611) were included in the analyses.
Main Outcome Measures
The overall claim rates of individuals by age, sex, industry, and occupation were estimated. Total costs and average disability time were computed. Monthly patterns of dermatitis claims were examined.
The average claim rate of occupational dermatitis was estimated to be 5.73 per 100 000 workers (95% confidence interval, 5.66-5.80). Statistically significant differences (P<.001) in claim rates by age, sex, industry, and occupation were found. More than 47% of all claimants had 1 year of job tenure or less. Employees in the farming, forestry, and fishing occupations and industries had significantly higher claim rates compared with employees in other occupations. The average cost per claim was $3552, and the average disability time was 23.9 days. Some temporal trends in claim rates were observed.
Occupational dermatitis remains a significant problem in workplace settings. In addition, certain types of occupations and industries seem to be particularly affected by occupational dermatitis. Interventions may be particularly valuable for workers with little job tenure.