What You Should Know about Workplace Burn Injuries

4/21/2020 By Andrea Gold Read in 3 minutes

A workplace burn injury can range from mild to catastrophic. Find out what you should do if you have a burn injury from a workplace accident.

A workplace burn injury can range from mild to catastrophic. If a burn injury is severe, it can result in painful and expensive surgeries, extensive medical attention, and long-term disability. About 15% of burns take place at work, according to the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI).

What to do after a burn injury

If you experience a burn at work, let your supervisor or boss know right away. Then go directly to the emergency room. For those who suffer severe injuries, hospitalization is likely to be required. Follow the instructions of the medical professionals and keep records of all tests, exams, and treatment.

Jobs Most at Risk for Burn Injuries

  • Firefighters
  • Electricians
  • Construction workers
  • Health care workers
  • Mechanics
  • Janitors
  • Restaurant workers

Causes of Workplace Burn Injuries

Scalding burns - These burns are caused by liquid that is boiling and, therefore, extremely hot. Scalding burns are experienced when boiling water splatters or spills over. Other common scalding burns result from coffee makers that are left on too long and water heaters that are defective and explode.

Chemical burns - There are many places of employment where chemicals are used regularly, such as environmental waste disposal, car washes, and laboratories. These chemicals often have clearly-displayed warnings that advise employees to refrain from having the chemicals come into contact with the user's skin. If such signs do not exist or there is an unexpected issue, a chemical burn may result.

Thermal burns - Fires, candles, matches, lighters, and stoves are the cause of thermal burns, which result from flames and direct heat exposure.

Electrical Burns - Electrical burns are a common type of injury that is associated with dangerous and defective products. Appliances or machines that are improperly labeled or have a design flaw can cause the product to cause an injury. Depending on the level of voltage, an electrical burn can range from mild to extremely serious and, in some cases, fatal.

Defective products - A product that is faulty and defective can result in severe and potentially fatal burns that can alter an individual’s life permanently. You may not be able to return to work, conduct the activities of daily living, or enjoy hobbies or recreational activities as you had in the past. You may also require ongoing medical treatment.

The manufacturers and designers of products owe a duty of care that ensures their products are safe for use. Unfortunately, not every product is safe for use and can cause severe and possibly permanent personal injuries. If such a circumstance occurs, you maintain the right to file a claim and potentially a lawsuit for damages seeking compensation from the manufacturer for negligent design.

A product is considered defective if it falls into one of the following categories:

  1. It has a flaw in its design that is inherent
  2. There is a flaw in the manufacturing process
  3. The warning is inadequate.

There can be multiple responsible parties in almost any product design case. Frequently, the manufacturer, designer, and distributor can all be held accountable for the injuries sustained. Defective products often produce sparks or overheat, resulting in burns, or they can lead to a fire that causes serious (and potentially fatal) personal injuries.

The products that are most likely to result in burns are:

  • Combustible fuel sources
  • Batteries
  • Electrical wires

Because there are so many products that can cause burns, it is essential to use appliances and products only for their intended use. Burn injuries are serious in nature and require knowledge and understanding of the different circumstances under which an individual may be injured to help prevent them.

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