Saf Health Work.  2018 Dec;9(4):398-407. 10.1016/j.shaw.2018.05.003.

Skin Protection Seminars to Prevent Occupational Skin Diseases: Results of a Prospective Longitudinal Study in Apprentices of High-risk Professions

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine and Health Theory, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany. awilke@uos.de
  • 2Institute for Interdisciplinary Dermatological Prevention and Rehabilitation (iDerm) at the University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany.
  • 3Institute for Interdisciplinary Dermatological Prevention and Rehabilitation (iDerm) at the University of Osnabrück, Hamburg, Germany.
  • 4Faculty of Human Sciences/Department of Educational Sciences, MSH Medical School Hamburg, University of Applied Sciences and Medical University, Hamburg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Occupational skin diseases (OSDs) are frequent in professions with exposure to skin hazards. Thus, a health educational intervention for apprentices of high-risk professions was conducted. It was the aim of this study to gain insight into possible effects of this intervention.
METHODS
A one-time skin protection seminar was conducted in 140 apprentices of health-related and non-health–related professions [trained cohort (TC)]. In addition, 134 apprentices of the same occupations were monitored [untrained cohort (UTC)]. The OSD-specific knowledge and the skin condition of the hands were assessed at baseline (T0), after the seminar (T1), and after 6 (T2) and 12 months (T3).
RESULTS
The OSD-specific knowledge increased in all cohorts from T0 to T3, but we found a significantly higher knowledge in the TC at T2 (p < 0.001, t = 3.6, df = 196, 95% confidence interval = 0.9, 3.3) and T3 (p < 0.001, t = 3.8, df = 196, 95% confidence interval = 1.0, 3.2) compared to the UTC. Our results indicated a better skin condition of the hands in the TC of the health-related professions but not in the non-health–related professions.
CONCLUSION
The study indicates that an educational intervention may positively influence the disease-specific knowledge and the prevalence of OSD in apprentices. However, definite conclusions cannot be drawn because of the heterogeneous study cohorts and the study design. Future research should aim at tailoring primary prevention to specific target groups, e.g., in view of the duration and frequency of skin protection education, different professions, and gender-specific prevention approaches.

Keyword

contact dermatitis; health knowledge; intervention study; occupational skin diseases; vocational education
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