Occupational Hazards:  Burn Injuries at Work Image

Occupational Hazards: Burn Injuries at Work

June 10, 2013 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Have you suffered from a work-related burn injury, or know someone who has?  Burn injuries account for 20-25% of burns serious enough to require hospital care, and claim the lives of 5% involved in this type of injury.  Nonfatal burn injuries are still serious, and are caused by exposure to flammable substances or proximity to hot objects.  Regardless of the intensity of the burn, recovering from a burn injury that occurred on the job or at home is a long process. Burns occur most often on the head, face or hands since those are the parts of the body that are most exposed. Many who are victims are disfigured for life, and often suffer constant pain due to medications, grafting and intensive, ongoing operations, therapy and treatments.  What are some ways that work-related burn injuries occur, and how can they be prevented?

Work-related burn injuries occur in several ways, and some conditions in certain occupations pose more of a hazard.  Many construction workers engage in risky activity when they come too close to power lines or high voltage areas.  Those in the restaurant industry encounter burn threats all the time, particularly with deep fryers and hot ovens. Others who work in industries that require them to come in contact with hazardous chemicals remain at risk for thermal and other chemical burns. The severity of the burn also depends on how close the contact, and whether or not there was a situation that prohibited immediate help or medical aid. 

While some accidents happen in a flash without any warning, there are some practices that can be taken to minimize the risk of being involved in a work-related burn injury.  Here are some of those practices:

  • Engage in any and all safety training classes provided by your employer, whether or not related to burn prevention.  The more you know the better off you will be in any type of injury.
  • Clear the area of any materials and objects that might invite danger.
  • Be sure electrical is up to code, and that all outlets are safe and grounded.
  • Know emergency care, and pre-plan an escape route if there is a fire or explosion.
  • Pay attention to any warnings that are provided on the labels of chemicals and other liquids.
  • Wear protective gear at all times, particularly eye and head gear, regardless of the duration of time you will be in proximity of a potentially hazardous substance.

Many work-related burn injuries are caused by negligence, the actions of a co-worker, or an employer not taking the proper measures to ensure the safety of workers.  If you have been involved in a burn injury at work, or know someone who has, it may be difficult to prove who was at fault, particularly when it comes to filing a claim if it relates to manufacturer defect, inadequate protective gear, and other factors.  An attorney who specializes in work-related burn injuries can assist you in receiving compensation and filing of the proper forms.

Do your best to stay educated and informed of the chemicals around you when working in an area that maybe susceptible to a work-related burn injury.

Additional Info: Workplace Accidents

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