Prevention of occupational skin diseases in apprentices with exposure to epoxy resins (EpoxSafe@School 1.0)

Project No. FF-FP 0401


completed 01/2018


Products containing epoxy resins are used in various occupational fields. However, incorrect handling is associated with an increased risk of sensitization and the development of allergic contact eczema, which then requires complete elimination of the allergens during the professional activity of the affected worker. Since the substitution of epoxy resins is rarely possible, technical and organizational measures, as well as the use of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), are of great importance. Ideally, the correct use of PPE should as early as possible become a pivotal part of the professional activity during vocational training. Therefore, teachers at vocational schools are pivotal in the field of prevention and can act as multipliers for trainees in "high-risk professions".

The aim of the project "EpoxSafe@School 1.0" was the conceptual development of specifically targeted health education intervention modules for trainees in contact with epoxy resins, which are based on current scientific knowledge and can be used by teachers at vocational schools.


First, we analyzed the scientific literature, health psychological aspects as well as setting specific framework conditions and curricular guidelines. We conducted an analysis of relevance. Subsequently, two focus group discussions were organized with teachers at vocational schools. The focus group discussions were recorded, transcribed and analyzed according to Mayring's structuring qualitative content analysis. Finally, the intervention concept as well as the preparation of the curriculum were accomplished considering methodical didactical aspects.


We deduced the teaching materials content from scientific literature. Within the health-psychological perspective, gender-specific aspects, psychological development aspects and age phases were considered for the design of the intervention components. The HAPA model (Health Action Process Approach) was taken as a framework for the curriculum. We derived evaluation and requirement criteria used by teachers to evaluate externally provided teaching materials from the focus group discussions, as well as characteristics influencing the use of teaching materials. Within this framework we could generate design rules (e.g. exemplarity, closeness to reality and everyday life, methodical and creative flexibility) for the teaching materials. As a result, a modular concept was developed for various occupations requiring formal training, in which epoxy resins are used. The concept was adapted to the curricular standards for action-oriented lessons at the vocational schools. The modules comprise teaching materials (e.g. learning situations, texts, experiments, tasks) and are variably applicable. A creative and methodical adaptation to individual lessons is possible, so that impulses for skin protection and occupational safety – using the "handling of epoxy resins" as an example – can be set at different points of the apprenticeship.

Relevance for statutory accident insurance institutions: Different occupational groups handle products containing epoxy resins and have an increased risk of developing irritant and especially allergic contact dermatitis. Primary prevention at vocational schools, i.e. during vocational training, is important for various statutory accident insurance institutions because prevention concepts can contribute in the long term to prevent sickness-related retirement from the profession and to reduce costs. The health-educational intervention can also be used for workplace counselling, support and service, since various multipliers, e.g. safety engineers, employees of prevention services, occupational physicians, etc. can use and adopt it.

Last Update:

24 Nov 2020


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Universität Osnabrück

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


allergenic substances, qualification, education, didactics etc.

Description, key words:

occupational skin disease, epoxy resins