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Understanding Workplace Burn Injuries

In the United States, approximately 40,000 people are hospitalized with burn injuries each year. These burns occur mainly in the home and the workplace and are most prevalent among adult women and children. Nevertheless, adult men are most likely to be burned in occupational settings. The bottom line: everyone is susceptible to burn injuries!

Types of Workplace-Related Burns

Whether you work in a kitchen or outside in the sun, you run the risk of receiving a workplace burn. Four (4) main types of burns occur in the workplace:

  1. Thermal burns – arguably the most common type of burn, thermal burns are caused by the heat from liquids (scalds), open flames, hot objects, and explosions.
  2. Chemical burns – when skin or eyes come into contact with strong acids, alkaloids, and/or other caustic or corrosive materials, the substances eat into the skin and tissue, causing chemical burns.
  3. Electrical burns – electrical burns are caused by electrical currents, which produce heat and injury when the currents travel through the body and intersect with tissue.
  4. Sun exposure burns – the sun emits ultraviolet rays which can become harmful with extended exposure, thus causing “sunburns” or sun exposure burns.

Each type of burn outlined above is painful, but certain types of burns are more severe. Burn injuries are categorized by degree.

Classifying Burn Severity

Depending on the damage to the skin and surrounding tissue, burns will be classified as first, second, third, or fourth degree, with fourth-degree burns being the most serious.

First-degree burns affect only the top layer of skin. Typically, the site is red, painful, and dry.

Second-degree burns run deeper than the top layer of skin and often result in blistering. In addition to these blisters, the site can become extremely red and sore.

Third-degree burns destroy the 2 outer-levels of skin, known as the epidermis and the dermis. In some cases, the tissue underneath is affected, as well. The site can appear white or charred.

Fourth-degree burns affect all layers of the skin and have the potential to damage muscle, tendons, and bones. Burns this severe are difficult to treat and may require amputation of the burn site.

Industries Where Workplace Burns Occur

When you think of open flames and hot grease in the workplace, you might imagine a restaurant. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, however, 15% of workplace burns occurred in the food service industry. Surprisingly, more injuries (29%) take place in manufacturing industries.

Aside from that, burn injuries happen in:

  • Electric appliance companies (15%),
  • The automobile industry (13%),
  • Construction companies (10%),
  • Chemical plants (9%),
  • Paper mills (4%),
  • And other industries (4%).

Burns that occurred in food service tended to be smaller in size but burns at paper mills accounted for the most severe injuries. Further, scalds by hot water and grease were the most common type of workplace burns, followed by other thermal burns, chemical burns, and electrical burns.

What To Do if You’ve Been Burned At Work

No matter where you work, you can be exposed to heat, chemicals, electricity, and/or the sun. If you’ve suffered an on-the-job burn injury, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible.

If you have questions about the process, or your claim has been delayed or denied, please contact Humphrey & Associates for assistance.

Attorney Kevin Humphrey, Esq. can help you make the most of your claim, understand your rights, and move through the complex workers’ comp system with ease.

All you have to do is call us at (844) 612-5800 and schedule a free consultation today!