Occupational skin disease in mining: an Australian case series

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2021;76(8):504-510. doi: 10.1080/19338244.2020.1857674. Epub 2020 Dec 29.


The mining industry has one of the highest rates of occupational disease across all industries. However, occupational skin disease (OSD) is not commonly reported in this industry, although has been estimated to affect up to 51 people per 100,000 workers, with contact dermatitis accounting for the majority of cases. It often has a poor prognosis and leads to days lost from work. There have been relatively few reports regarding the specific forms of OSD encountered by miners worldwide. We report our experience of miners attending our Occupational Dermatology Clinic and our investigations at two Australian mines. We compare our findings with other reports of OSD in the mining population. The most commonly observed skin condition was irritant contact dermatitis, but miliaria and allergic contact dermatitis were also observed. It is not surprising that most cases of OSD appear to be related to harsh working conditions and exposures to multiple skin irritants, however, specific exposures causing ACD should not be forgotten. Our findings are consistent with previous studies of OSD in miners.

Keywords: Contact dermatitis; mining; occupational skin disease.

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mining / classification
  • Mining / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / classification
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers