The World Health Organization estimates that burn accidents account for at least 180,000 deaths each year. While most of these burns take place at home, a significant percentage of burn accidents are workplace-related.
Burns are the worst form of injuries a human body can suffer. Unfortunately, many workplaces expose employees to numerous burn injury threats. From electrical currents to open flames, burn accidents in the workplace aren’t a new phenomenon.
Despite the standards set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a burn accident remains an important concern for many organizations.
Because burn injuries in the workplace burn injuries can have adverse implications on your life, keep reading to learn more about them.
Types of Workplace Burn Injuries
While most burn injuries result from open fires, a workplace burn accident can come from a number of different sources. Employers need to create awareness to prevent some of these injuries. Here are some of the common types of workplace burn injuries.
Depending on your industry, chemicals are a common cause of workplace burns. If your eyes or skin come into contact with corrosive material, alkaloids, or strong acids, chemical burns can happen. Most of these accidents result from exposure to various industrial cleaners and chemicals.
Employers should ensure that chemicals have the appropriate labels to detail the possible chemical risks. The labels should also offer guidelines on the steps workers should take if they come into direct contact with the chemicals.
Additionally, hazard communication training should be a priority for all organizations.
Thermal burn injuries result from contact with heated items or fires. The excessive heat causing these burns can originate from hot water, exposed flames, hot metal, furnaces, or steam. Thermal burns are most common in food service industries and industrial plants.
It is best to try and control the burning process as soon as it begins. Workers should wear personal protective gear to deter the impacts of such accidents. A company should have an emergency department to address some of the thermal accident cases before they can cause severe damage.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there were 160 electrical fatalities in 2018, which was an 18% increase from the previous year. Electrical burns are common in industries utilizing electricity, such as the construction and manufacturing sectors.
To deter the risk of electrical burns, companies need to mark high voltage areas. Workers should also have protective gear when handling electricity. They should further seek to identify live wires and avoid coming into contact with water when executing tasks related to electricity.
What Are the Degrees of Burn Injuries?
A burn goes beyond the burning sensation on the skin. More severe skin damage leads to the death of skin cells. While some burns can recover effortlessly, other cases require emergency medical attention to deter further complications and possible death.
The different types of burns depend on their level of severity. Healthcare providers measure the extent of burns in degrees. The first degree is the least serious, while the fourth degree is the most catastrophic.
First Degree Burns
First degree burns are those that cause minimal skin damage. Examples include cases of frostbite and sunburn. These burns usually heal within a week or less, and cause minimal scarring. Your skin will only swell, peel off, and redden.
Sunburns are not a medical concern unless they become severe and painful. Nonetheless, constant sunburns can cause melanoma. People who work outdoors are at a higher risk of developing this type of burn.
Second Degree Burns
A typical second-degree burn goes beyond the skin’s top layer and causes the skin to develop blisters that might pop open. This situation increases the chances of infection. Like first-degree burns, second-degree burns result in minimal scarring.
Second-degree burns are also considerably painful. The healing period is at least two weeks. Permanent pigment changes might also occur at the site of the injury.
Third Degree Burns
Also known as full-thickness burns, third-degree burns go through the dermis and epidermis. They affect deeper tissues within the skin. Surprisingly, these burns might not cause excessive pain as there is the possibility of nerve damage.
The extent of third-degree burns necessitates surgery for complete healing. But surgical procedures such as skin grafts do not guarantee a victim will have scar-free skin. The injured part(s) is often charred and might have red, black, or white pigmentations.
Fourth Degree Burns
Fourth-degree burns are incredibly severe. They damage a person’s muscles, fat, and in some cases, bones.
Workers’ Comp for a Burn Accident
If you get burn injuries at the workplace, you need to report it to your employer immediately. This is because you will probably need to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp can include payment of therapy and medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses.
It is advisable to get medical attention even when a burn injury seems minor. Delaying medical treatment makes it harder for you to get compensation. You will need proof that the damage occurred within the workplace, and prompt reporting is one of the strategies.
Your claim might be high-dollar if the burn injuries are severe. So it would be best to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you get the rightful workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney will help you calculate the financial value of your injuries.
Some insurance companies can try to frustrate you, especially when the claim in question is high-value. With an experienced lawyer, you will get what’s rightfully yours without making numerous trips to the court.
Your attorney will guide you on the right course of action in each step.
A Burn Accident in the Workplace Can Have Adverse Implications
Workplace burn injuries are common for some occupations such as electricians, construction workers, firefighters, mechanics, food preparers, janitors, and healthcare professionals.
A burn accident can be fatal, and safety precautions are paramount. Employers should ensure that workers have protective gear and the knowledge to keep them safe from burn injuries.
If you happen to get a workplace burn injury, applying for a workers’ comp claim is well within your rights. And you will need a reliable attorney to get the right compensation.
Have you suffered a personal injury at the workplace? Contact us today for legal support in greater Nashville and the state of Tennessee.