Authors: HA Carman & A Fourie

Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa, September/October 2010, 16(5): 12-21


The problem related to compensation for occupational skin disease in South Africa was investigated. It is illustrated by three cases of the commonest occupational skin diseases seen by the Dermatology Clinic of the National Institute for Occupational Health, namely allergic contact dermatitis, irritant dermatitis and occupational urticaria. Of the 129 cases seen at this clinic from 2007 to 2009, 66 were occupational skin disease. The outcome of claims for compensation is provided.

A comparison of claims’ data for occupational skin disease from the Compensation Commissioner, the Rand Mutual Assurance and the Federated Employers’ Mutual Assurance was conducted. The rate of reporting of claims to the Compensation Commissioner was lower than to the two private insurance companies, and only a small proportion was accepted and finalised. The plight of workers and their lack of compensation for occupational disease have been highlighted in media reports and statements of the official opposition.

Key words: Occupational skin disease, compensation, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant dermatitis, occupational urticaria