Risk level

Lighting up the darkness

Does the idea of becoming an electrician give you a buzz? They light up workplaces everywhere when they install and repair everything from electricity networks to lifts and washing machines. However, the electricity itself isn't the only risky thing about the job, as you can also develop eczema and asthma, though you can reduce the risk of being affected.

What are the risks?

The skin on your hands can become rough from working with wires or using various tools. Glue is also part of the job and can cause allergies.

Installation electricians who work on building sites or renovation projects are often surrounded by fumes and construction dust, which can cause or exacerbate asthma. Some get eczema when the dust sticks to their skin, and the skin becomes dry, red and flaky with cracks and blisters that itch.

Prevention and avoidance

There are many ways of reducing the risk of asthma or eczema as an electrician. The surest way is to choose an area where you will rarely come into contact with construction dust, for example. Repairing and maintaining electrical appliances are jobs that don't involve the dusty environments that are often part and parcel of being an installation electrician, for example. It's also a good idea to use protective gloves whenever possible.

If you suffer from asthma or eczema or did so when you were little (atopic eczema), think carefully about the type of work you are interested in before deciding to become an electrician.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about allergy and eczema when working as an electrician, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.