Burns are some of the most catastrophic injuries that the human body can withstand. Sadly, accidents that cause burn injuries are far too common in the U.S. The American Burn Association (ABA) estimates that burn injuries result in over 400,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year. While a majority of these incidents occur at home, a notable number of burn injuries also occur in the workplace.
Causes and Degrees of Workplace Burns
Burns can be categorized into three different categories, with the highest degree indicating the highest level of severity:
- First-Degree Burns. These cause minimal skin damage and only affect the first layer of skin. The affected area may be red, painful, and dry.
- Second-Degree Burns. These burns cause damage to the first and second layers of skin and often cause the skin to blister, bleed, and become extremely sore. Second-degree burns will often require some sort of medical attention.
- Third-Degree Burns. These burns damage all layers of skin and may even cause lasting damage to muscles and other tissues. They will require medical attention to reduce the risk of infection and scarring, potentially with the use of skin grafts.
Additionally, not all burns are caused by fires. In fact, burns can result from several different hazardous elements in the workplace. Some of the most common causes of workplace burns include:
- Chemical burns occur when chemicals, acids, alkaloids or other corrosive substances make contact with the skin.
- Thermal burns occur when the skin comes into contact with hot liquids/steam (scald burns), flames, explosions, or other hot objects.
- Electrical burns are common in the engineering and construction industries and occur when electrical currents move through the body.
- Friction burns are caused by the skin coming into contact with abrasive surfaces.
- Sun or radiation exposure burns commonly happen to outdoor workers or those who work near ultraviolet (UV) light.
- Cold burns occur due to wet, windy, and cold working conditions.
What to Do After a Burn Accident at Work
While many burn injuries at work are preventable, it’s a sad reality that they do happen. If you are ever injured in a burn accident at work, here’s what you need to do:
- Seek Medical Attention. Before you do anything else, ensure that your wounds are treated. Keep the area clean and if the burns are moderate to severe, get medical attention right away. Ask for copies of your medical records.
- Report It to Your Employer. Always report your accident to your employer/supervisor immediately so that there is a paper trail of the incident. The sooner you report it, the better.
- Hire an Attorney. Having an attorney on your side is key to obtaining maximum benefits for your injuries. Your attorney will be able to calculate your total damages and ensure you do not settle for less than you deserve.
At The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC, our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of burn victims who were injured while performing their job duties. With over 500 Google Reviews, we have a reputation for excellence and will fight hard to ensure you receive maximum benefits for your burn injuries.
Contact our team at (770) 629-9321 today! We offer free, confidential consultations.