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What types of burn injuries happen at work?

Burn Injuries in the Workplace

Burn injuries in the workplace are a significant concern across various industries in the United States. These injuries can range from minor to severe and even fatal, impacting not only the health and well-being of workers but also the operations and liabilities of businesses. This blog post aims to shed light on the prevalence, types, and causes of workplace burn injuries, as well as the long-term effects and legal implications associated with them.  If you or a loved one have been involved in a burn injury due to the negligence of your employer or while you were working,  you need an experienced workplace injury attorney in Abilene, Texas to help you.  Call 325-455-1889 the Low Law Firm, our attorneys are dedicated to protecting worker rights.

Statistics on Workplace Burn Injuries in the United States

burn-injury-attorney-abilene-texasAccording to the American Burn Association, approximately 398,000 burn injuries receive medical treatment in 2021 in the United States. A significant portion of these injuries occur in the workplace, highlighting the critical need for awareness and preventive measures.

  • Thermal Burns: These are the most common burns and account for approximately 60% of burn injuries.  They are typically caused by liquid, open flames, hot objects or explosions.
  • Chemical Burns: These are usually the result of skin or eyes coming into contact with strong acids, alkaloids or other corrosive or caustic materials that eat away skin and deeper tissue. In the workplace, these accidents often occur after exposure to industrial cleaners, lab chemicals or manufacturing materials.  On average these burns account for about 10-15% of workplace burn injuries.
  • Electrical Burns: These occur when electrical current travels through the body and meets resistance with tissue.  This type of burn injury makes up about 10% of burns in occupational settings.

Types of Burn Risks in the Workplace

  1. Thermal Burns:
    • Causes: Exposure to flames, hot surfaces, steam, and hot liquids.
    • Industries at Risk: Construction, manufacturing, food service, and firefighting.
  2. Chemical Burns:
    • Causes: Contact with hazardous chemicals such as acids, alkalis, and solvents.
    • Industries at Risk: Chemical manufacturing, laboratories, cleaning services, and agriculture.
  3. Electrical Burns:
    • Causes: Direct contact with electrical sources, faulty wiring, and arc flashes.
    • Industries at Risk: Electrical maintenance, construction, utility services, and engineering.

Long-Term Effects of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can have devastating long-term effects, including:

  • Physical Impairments: Scarring, loss of mobility, and chronic pain.
  • Psychological Impact: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.
  • Financial Burden: Ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.
  • Quality of Life: Reduced ability to perform daily activities and decreased overall life satisfaction.

Liability Issues and Negligence

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment. Failure to do so can result in liability issues. Common forms of company negligence that can lead to burn injuries include:

  • Inadequate Training: Lack of proper training on handling hazardous materials or operating machinery.
  • Insufficient Safety Equipment: Failure to provide necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Poor Maintenance: Neglecting the maintenance of equipment and electrical systems.
  • Non-compliance with Regulations: Ignoring safety standards and regulations set by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Jobs with High Risk of Severe or Fatal Burn Injury

  1. Firefighters
  2. Welders
  3. Electricians
  4. Chemical Plant Workers
  5. Construction Workers
  6. Kitchen Staff (Chefs and Cooks)
  7. Industrial Machine Operators
  8. Oil and Gas Workers
  9. Laboratory Technicians
  10. Cleaning Service Workers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What should I do immediately after suffering a burn injury at work? A: Seek medical attention immediately. Ensure the injury is documented and report it to your supervisor as soon as possible.

Q: Can I file a workers’ compensation claim for a burn injury? A: Yes, burn injuries are generally covered under workers’ compensation. Report the injury and file a claim to receive benefits for medical expenses and lost wages.

Q: What if my employer was negligent? A: If your employer’s negligence caused the burn injury, you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.

Q: How can I prove employer negligence? A: Documentation such as incident reports, witness statements, safety records, and evidence of non-compliance with safety standards can support your case.

Q: What long-term care options are available for severe burn injuries? A: Long-term care can include physical therapy, reconstructive surgery, psychological counseling, and vocational rehabilitation.

Q: Are there specific OSHA regulations for preventing burn injuries? A: Yes, OSHA provides guidelines and regulations for preventing burn injuries, including standards for PPE, hazard communication, and equipment maintenance.

Q: Can I receive compensation for pain and suffering? A: Workers’ compensation typically does not cover pain and suffering. However, a personal injury lawsuit may provide compensation for these damages.

Q: What legal resources are available to me? A: Consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in workplace injuries to explore your legal options.

Q: How can employers prevent burn injuries? A: Employers should implement comprehensive safety training, provide appropriate PPE, maintain equipment, and adhere to OSHA regulations.

Q: Can co-workers be held liable for burn injuries? A: Generally, co-workers are not held personally liable if they were performing their job duties. However, if they acted with gross negligence or intent, there might be exceptions.

Workplace burn injuries are a serious matter requiring immediate attention and appropriate preventive measures. Employers must prioritize safety to protect their workers and avoid legal repercussions. If you suffer a burn injury at work, knowing your rights and the steps to take can make a significant difference in your recovery and compensation.  At The Low Law Firm in Abilene, Texas we fight for the rights of injured workers Call us today for a FREE consultation 325-455-1889.

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