Anyone who works outdoors, in a laboratory or workshop is at risk of burn incidents. Burn injuries range from superficial first-degree to severe fourth-degree skin, tissue and bone damage.
According to the American Burn Association, burn injuries result in more than 40,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year.
Types of workplace burns
While some occupations are inherently more dangerous than others, nearly anyone can suffer a burn injury at work. The kinds of burns workers sustain on the job include:
- Sun exposure: direct sunlight leads to potentially painful and cancer-causing sunburns
- Thermal: hot objects or liquids, flames and explosions cause minor or major body damage
- Chemical: acids, alkaloids or caustic materials come in contact with skin or eyes
- Electrical: high-voltage electrical current travels through the body creating heat within the tissues
If you experience an accident or injury that results in a burn, you may suffer economic or collateral consequences that impede your ability to recover and return to work.
Training and communication
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets safety standards that employers must follow. To abide by these rules and ensure a safe and secure workplace, managers should regularly inspect work areas as well as equipment and remain up-to-date on all maintenance protocols. Additionally, employees should receive worksite-specific initial and refresher training. To prevent burns, employers should value hazard communication, using labels, signs, color coding systems and posters to alert workers of dangerous materials in the workplace.
If you are a victim of a burn injury due to employer negligence or unsafe work conditions, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits that can help with treatment costs, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses during your recovery.