skin complaints

11th April 2008, 16:23
does anyone who has worked in the engineroom had any serious skin problems with their hands?
taken off an oil rig years ago as in the space of two days lost all my outer skin on my left hand and bits on my right hand .
Ended up in hospital for three weeks and going back every day for a year for daily dressings on my hands.
I still have to be very careful what I touch or do as my skin breaks very easily.
why I ask this is one my doctors was a locum who had been in the Royal Navy and remarked he noticed a high incidence of this problem in engineroom staff which he put down to modern additives in oils,but never seen that doctor again,and have hit a brick wall trying to investigate this.
I had been up till I retired through illhealth, 28years at sea and offshore with no problems until that day.

11th April 2008, 17:25
Did they use any fuel treatment for microbes?

11th April 2008, 19:32
I had a similar problem with the skin on my hands cracking when ever I had to work in diesel fuel for any length of time. (The diesel fuel just dried out the hands we use fuel treatment only in the emergency diesel day tank and the lifeboats. We used the rest of the diesel fuel too fast). Especially while working on the injectors changing the shims, gloves did not seem to work very well. Later years we use to get a barrier cream that work okay.

11th April 2008, 20:05
We used to carry lanolin in large tubs to S America and there was always one or two that had been damaged or were leaking. The lads used to fill jars and jars with the stuff and everyone on deck and also the engine room used to use it on their hands if they had any skin problems and it worked a treat.


11th April 2008, 20:29
i have had skin problems since working in the engine room. One consultant asked for samples of all the different oils I would come in contact with - impossible. they never got to the bottom of it and I still suffer badly on my hands. I got cream to take to sea with me but gave up because I nearly bloody killed myself on the stair rails answering alarms when we were unmanned! You could get some speed though!!

Pat McCardle
11th April 2008, 22:14
Look at Testicular Cancer, aided (for want of another word) by the engine room department having a scatch down below, as we all do in warmer climates. The oils, grease etc that were on 'our' hands then, pre 70's? All contributed to this problem. This was a common complaint, apparently, which the health people knew about & started to bring in on their safety video's warning us of this & to use 'Barrier creams' etc. Remember Paul with one ball?

11th April 2008, 23:24
I thought that was Hitler Pat (Jester)

A good point, we were never thought of where health was concerned. Red Lead both in liquid and powder form, a killer, but used in copious quanties by us all. Caustic Soda, windy and electric chipping hammers and breathing in all the dust and scale and living in a metal skin surrounded by asbestos.

I am surprised that there are still enough of us around to tell the tale.


12th April 2008, 23:58
It's the asbestos I keep thinking about.In heavy weather,every time the ship hit a"milestone",the stuff came floating down in clouds!I know we've all experienced it,but at the time were unaware of the danger.

13th April 2008, 16:39
Winter diesel or low temperature diesel can cause a lot of rashes. We used to use a cream that the norwegian fishermen used it was white and looked and smelled like Nivea. I cant remember the name of it. It was really good.


13th April 2008, 18:16
Gas oil caused some nasty rashes especially when overhauling injectors hydraulic oil was much the same seemed to always get caught one must remember this stuff was always escaping / leaking under pressure nowadays if I get any oil on my hands skin tends to get inflamed straight away also arthritis ( spell ) in the joints due to constant vibration in engine room

28th June 2008, 14:04
Best thing for the old arthur itis at the joints is WD 40 it works a treat, as has been previously said we did not use ear defenders, little blue rubber gloves and face masks against Asbestos, when we were young and daft we never thought of the possible long term effects of such an enviroment. No hazard assesments in the middle of the pond just get on and fix it, I also have problems with the skin on my hands peeling but it appears to be the washing up liquid at my new work station since I retired.

28th June 2008, 15:09
It would probably be interesting to know what the occurrence of melanomas is amongst seafarers. Bronzying was a favourite pastime in the sunnier parts of a trip. A lot of work on deck was carried out without shirts.I remember one Blue Funnel bosun used to claim he worked Gib to Gib in shorts only.I managed to get burnt a few times but so far I have been lucky with no melanomas showing up,touch wood.

1st July 2008, 09:22
i handled all types of oil but used a barrier cream called swafeger available to all hands it seemed to to work ok cheers albert.s.i

8th July 2008, 22:40
Winter diesel or low temperature diesel can cause a lot of rashes. We used to use a cream that the norwegian fishermen used it was white and looked and smelled like Nivea. I cant remember the name of it. It was really good.


Neutrogena, Norwegan Fomula?
all the best Stuart

9th July 2008, 02:14
I've had 17 skin cancers removed (basal cell carcinomas) over the last ten years or so, they are not malignant in the death sense of the word, but they were caused by Bronzying in the tropics, but don't be compacent about not having them as they can take up to 15 years to appear.

11th September 2008, 13:10
Once had a red rash all up my forearms which I ascribed to being up to the elbows in Bunker C cleaning filters and had the outer epidermis on my hands dissolve a bit due draining a sodium hydroxide tank from underneath - luckily only a few splashes on my face and none in my eyes.
No lasting damage.

Wasn't Swarfega the hand cleaner and Rozalex the barrier cream?