Introduction Skin cancer caused by exposure to certain harmful substances has been a part of the list of occupational diseases in Germany for some time. In 2015 certain types of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma or multiple actinic keratosis of the skin caused by natural UV-irradiation) were added as a new occupational disease to the list of occupational diseases. These types of skin cancer are recognised as occupational disease if the insured person has been exposed to certain effective doses of sunlight at his or her workplace. There is a rising number of such cases reported to the statutory social accident insurance and its institutions which are the entities in charge of prevention, rehabilitation and compensation of occupational diseases in accordance with the German social security system. The institutions for statutory social accident insurance have developed concepts to handle the growing numbers of these cases.
Methods Based on research and the discussion with medical experts, standards for the procedure, for the medical treatment, the rehabilitation of workers affected by occupational skin cancer and the prevention of occupational skin cancer have been established. Concepts for follow-up care have been developed and new methods of therapy have been admitted for the medical treatment of patients suffering from occupational skin cancer.
Results The statutory social accident insurance has established measures to provide effective methods of rehabilitation for the patients concerned in accordance with the basic principle governing this social security scheme in Germany – acting ‘with all appropriate means’.
Discussion Apart from providing effective help for the workers affected a major aim for the institutions of statutory accident insurance is the prevention of occupational skin cancer caused by exposure to natural UV-irradiation. The institutions of statutory social accident insurance will continue their efforts to reduce the risk for workers of contracting skin cancer caused by exposure to natural UV-irradiation at the workplace.