Occupational diseases due to lack of information

Skin diseases are still statistical top-scorers for all accident insurance companies. Out of 70,277 registered incidents in 2010, 31,219 suspected cases of occupational disease were confirmed. Half of those, i. e. 15,828 cases, were occupational disease classified BK 5101 „Skin Diseases“ (50,7%). However, not each and every skin disease is registered as an occupational disease. Experts estimate the number of unreported cases to be 30 – 50%.

Occupational accidents reflect a similar picture: In 2010, 916,355 occupational accidents with a minimum of 3 days sickness-leave were reported to the employers' liability insurance associations or public insurance companies. 310,039 cases (33,8%) were accidents where hands were affected. A further 66037 cases (7,2%) affected the wrist, lower arm and carpus. Accidents with less than 3 days of sickness-leave were not taken into account.

There are many reasons for those high numbers. For one, the relevance to keep the hand as one’s most important tool and the skin as a person‘s largest organ healthy are evidently highly underestimated in practice. On the other side, it often emerges that a general lack of information and knowledge leads to a misinterpretation or simple unawareness of inherent risks. Inappropriate and wrong decisions regarding the choice of suitable protective products as well as their incorrect use are a consequence.

This is where the work of our association sets in. The German Federal Association for Hand Protection (BVH) communicates all information on hand- and skin-protection in a qualified way and across all manufacturers. Through this work the BVH wants to support deciders and users in their choice and use of suitable protective products. It is our goal to reduce the high number of hand injuries and skin diseases by means of factual training and competent advising on protective measures.

The BVH-members are qualified manufacturers of protective gloves and skin protection products. Their products and services meet the criteria of a rigid Charter of Quality. Only those committing themselves to that Charter of Quality can become a member. The sponsors of the BVH support the association’s activities.