O5B.4 Workers' compensation claims for occupational contact dermatitis: 20 years of data from victoria, australia
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
BackgroundOccupational contact dermatitis is one of the most common occupational diseases, but there is a lack of reliable information on incidence. Despite acknowledged limitations, workers' compensation statistics may provide insights into contact dermatitis patterns.ObjectiveThe objective of the study was to characterise historical patterns of workers' compensation claims for occupational contact dermatitis.MethodsThis was a retrospective analysis of workers' compensation claims for
... claims for occupational contact dermatitis from 1996–2015 (n=3,348) accepted by WorkSafe Victoria in Victoria, Australia. Accepted claims per 1 00 000 person-years stratified by sex, age and industry were calculated. Denominators for the population at risk were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics using Victorian Labour Force Survey data.ResultsThe compensation claims rate of occupational contact dermatitis was 6.72 per 1 00 000 person-years for the overall twenty-year period. There was a significant reduction in claims from 11.84 in 1996 to 1.78 in 2015. Males had a higher overall claims rate of 7.97 compared to the rate for females of 5.18. Over the twenty-year period the rate for males decreased from 14.46 to 1.7 compared to a reduction from 8.4 to 1.8 for females. This decrease was still observed when the data were standardised for underlying changes in the age structure of the population. There was an overall decline across all high-risk occupational groupsConclusionsThere was a fivefold decrease in accepted claims for occupational contact dermatitis for the twenty-year period from January 1996 to December 2015 for the state of Victoria in Australia. These results need to be regarded with caution as the declining rate of accepted occupational contact dermatitis claims may indicate changes in workplace dermal exposures or improvements in workplace skin protection practices over time, or they may be driven by underlying changes to the workers' compensation system or changes to claims behaviour amongst workers.