Accident at Work BurnsSeptember 2, 2010
Burns can be amongst the most painful types of personal injury. As well as involving the possibility of scarring and disfigurement, serious burn injuries can affect vital organs. Victims of burn injuries can also suffer emotional and psychological effects.
Burn cases most commonly arise in workplace accidents. Workplace burns account for 20%-25% of all serious burns requiring hospital attention and they account for about 5% of all workplace deaths. Many people injured at work are left with scars as a result of the burns, or as a result of the surgical procedures required following the accident at work.
Burn and scald injuries are very common but fortunately, most burns are minor and can be treated effectively at home without the need for hospital treatment. Although more serious burns tend to be caused at home (due to exposure of ovens, kettles, heaters and chip pans), being involved in a burn injury is more likely to happen at your place of work. Serious burn injuries can be quite complex as they can affect muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels.
Types of Burns
Each year in the UK many hundreds of people suffer burn injuries resulting from accidents in the workplace. There are various forms of burns with which one can suffer from working in certain professions:
Electrical burns: There is a potential risk of electrical burns in virtually every working environment. Those particularly at risk are workers in industrial, factory, construction, electrical and service supply occupations. Sometimes there are complicating factors in the detection of this type of burn injury. Electrical burns can damage the eye, heart, nervous system and internal organs.
Chemical burns: Work accident compensation claims for this type of burn are often made by people who have worked with caustics, alkalis, acids, oils and corrosives as well as other substances outlined in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. Work accident compensation relating to accidents involving chemical burns are very common as the use of hazardous substances in certain workplaces is as widespread as it is necessary.
Thermal burns: This type of burn can be caused by such things as faulty electrical equipment, fires, sunburn, flames, hot surfaces, hot objects, hot water as well as other hot liquids.
Superficial burns (first degree): These are occasionally the source of small work accident compensation claims. However, as this type of burn goes no deeper than the surface of the skin they usually have a positive and speedy recovery.
A partial thickness burn (second degree): Contrarily, this burn impacts on both the surface of the skin and layer beneath it. This type of burn is often cited in work injury compensation claims.
A full thickness burn (third degree): This is the worst kind of burn. After a third degree burn, the skin can show to have a black and charred appearance, although sometimes, it will turn a very pale colour. A full thickness burn is referred to as a fourth degree burn when it is so deep that it affects the bone, fat and muscle.
Who’s Most at Risk?
As previously said, burns are most likely to happen within the workplace and burns account for around 25% of all injuries. Burns can happen anytime, anywhere, but there are some professions, such as chemical engineering or being an electrician, that are more likely to present such an injury.
Life-Threatening Burns and Company Fined
Steel firm Corus has been fined £125,000 after a worker suffered life-threatening burns when he fell into a vat of hot chemicals.
The accident happened at a gasholder complex in Scunthorpe when the employee fell feet-first into a pit.
Corus pleaded guilty to breaching three safety laws at Grimsby Crown Court and were ordered to pay £17,763 in costs.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Helen Berry said: “This was a very serious incident which resulted in an employee receiving extensive, life-threatening burns.
“The immediate cause was the company’s poor workplace maintenance regime which meant that corrosion went unattended in the fencing provided to prevent falls into the interceptor pit.
“Employers have a duty to ensure that their workplace is safely maintained and this case all too clearly demonstrates the potential consequences of failure to discharge that duty.”