Hand dermatitis is a prevalent disease with an episodic, chronic character. The use of medical resources is high and is often related to reduced (work) functioning. The burden is therefore high for patients and society. Management of hand dermatitis is often unsatisfactory, and for this reason prevention is important. The effectiveness of prevention programmes is, however, unknown. This study evaluates if comprehensive prevention programmes for hand dermatitis, that include worker education as an element, are effective on occurrence, adherence to preventive measures, clinical outcomes and costs compared to usual care or no intervention. The literature was systematically searched using PubMed and Embase, from the earliest to January 2010 for relevant citations. The methodological quality was assessed by two reviewers using the Cochrane criteria. The GRADE approach was used to determine the level of evidence. After reading the full text articles, 7 publications met our inclusion criteria. We found that there is moderate evidence for the effect of prevention programmes on lowering occurrence and improving adherence to preventive measures, and low evidence for the effect on improving clinical outcomes and self-reported outcomes. No studies reporting on costs were found. It can be concluded that there is moderate evidence for the effectiveness of prevention programmes of hand dermatitis versus usual care or no intervention. However, more high quality studies including cost-effectiveness are needed. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.