Vehicle mechanic

Risk level

Not all oils are healthy

Being a vehicle mechanic is a dream come true for many. It's easy to see that it can be uncomfortable to stand and change an engine or repair an exhaust system, but the dirt, oil and strong detergents also mean that many vehicle mechanics suffer with hand eczema.

What are the risks?

Vehicle mechanics come into daily contact with dirt, oil and solvents that damage the skin. The tools and many sharp edges are tough on the skin, and strong detergents, which also cause damage, are needed to get hands properly clean. Contact eczema can easily result if you're not careful, and the skin becomes dry, red and flaky with cracks and blisters that itch.

Prevention and avoidance

Working as a vehicle mechanic involves a high risk of getting eczema, but there are a few ways of protecting yourself. Look after your skin by rubbing a moisturising cream into your hands before work and during breaks. Use protective gloves whenever possible, though sometimes you will not be able to do so.

Some types of work are more dangerous than others, and you run the greatest risk of developing eczema during dirty, oily work when it isn't possible to use protective gloves.

If you suffer from eczema or did so when you were little (atopic eczema), you should think carefully before deciding to become a vehicle mechanic.

Wnat to know more?

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