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Why EPOS ?

In 2008 the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work published the European Risk Observatory report on OSD and dermal exposure in the EU (EU 25). According to this report “skin diseases are the second most common work related health problem in Europe” and “to a large extent, can be prevented by the combination of technical and organisational measures”. OSD represent up to 25 % of all occupational diseases. It is estimated that OSD cause financial losses largely exceeding the billion Euro range per year in the EU. Costs caused by OSD comprise direct costs, e.g. treatment, compensation as well as indirect costs due to prolonged sick leave and lack of productivity. These indirect costs may constitute > 90% of OSD economic burden. For the affected individual the chronic course of OSD may result in detrimental socioeconomic and psychological consequences, such as job loss, long-term unemployment as well as suffering from depression and withdrawal from social interaction.

To date, there is fair quality evidence from a large number of countries, where preventive initiatives for OSD in selected settings and various risk professions have proven significantly effective and successful. In this context, early dermatological intervention as well as specific teaching of affected individuals has been demonstrated as pivotal. Dermatologists & other specialists can contribute with knowledge and competence to save their patients’ health and jobs, and therefore save expenses for tax-payers and insurance systems.

The EADV campaign (“healthy skin@work/europrevention”) aims at creating a prevention service system that interlocks and builds upon each other for the benefit of exposed individuals in high risk environments throughout the EU. As structured prevention programs are unevenly available throughout European countries, mutual transfer of knowledge and best practise sharing is necessary.