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Br J Dermatol. 2009 Aug;161(2):337-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09226.x. Epub 2009 May 12.

Prevention of occupational skin disease: a workplace intervention study in geriatric nurses.

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Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services, Pappelallee 35/37, 22089 Hamburg, Germany.



Health care workers have an increased risk of occupational dermatosis.


To determine whether a skin care programme reduces skin disease on the hands of geriatric nurses and increases protective behaviour and the provision of skin care products at the workplace. The intervention was based on a 2-h skin care training session and an occupational advisory service.


The study design was a randomized intervention study with a control group. Three hundred and eighty-eight geriatric nurses were included in the intervention group exposed to a skin care programme (IG; n = 146) and in the control group (CG; n = 242). Both groups completed questionnaires on exposure and underwent clinical examinations of their hands at the beginning and after a 12-month period. Preventive measures initiated by the employer at the workplace were documented at baseline and at 3 months after the intervention.


At baseline, no difference between the IG and the CG was found with respect to skin changes or work-related behaviour. At follow-up, the frequency of skin disease was significantly reduced in the IG, from 26% at baseline to 17% at follow-up, whereas the frequency remained almost unchanged in the CG. Effects on behaviour in the IG included significant increases in the use of moisturizers and hand disinfection instead of hand washing. The provision of cotton gloves and barrier cream products increased at intervention workplaces.


Effective implementation of an occupational skin care programme for geriatric nurses should include both the training of the nurses and an occupational advisory service for management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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