A 2018 study published in the American College of Surgeons highlighted how there’s been a five-fold reduction in burn injuries over the past nearly 40 years. Even still, some workers are more vulnerable to suffering this kind of disabling injury than others. These include shipbuilders and firefighters and individuals who work in the paper mill, food service, utilities and manufacturing industries.
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that some of the most common occupational injuries are tears, strains and sprains. Pain, soreness, punctures, lacerations, cuts, bruises and contusions are also common. Burns only afflict 2 per 10,000 workers — yet burns are uniquely disabling.
Burns traumatic type of injuries
After a minor burn, most people only experience temporary discomfort that lasts a few days. These injuries generally don’t result in the type of catastrophic injuries that affect a person’s quality of life long-term, however. There are four primary sources of burns that are most likely to significantly hinder a worker’s future:
- Radiation: Medical personnel, engineering, scientists and those in weapons manufacturing may be vulnerable to suffer radiation burns.
- Electrical: Electricians, utility workers and contractors are just some of the many professionals vulnerable to suffering an electrical burn or being electrocuted. Electrocutions can leave an individual with neurological impairments.
- Chemical: Individuals who work in manufacturing plants and scientific laboratories run the risk of suffering chemical burns.
- Thermal: Foodservice workers, mechanics and firefighters may all be vulnerable to these types of burns after coming in contact with open flames, boiling liquids, steam and other hot objects.
Burn injuries range in intensity from first to fourth degree. First-degree ones generally only involve the outermost layer of skin– the dermis. Third and fourth-degree burns often leave individuals with nerve damage, scarring and disfigurement.
What to do if you suffered a workplace burn injury
Anyone who suffers a burn injury at work should see a doctor to assess the severity of their injuries. You should be able to tap into your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy to cover your treatment.
The medical care that you receive after suffering a burn can determine your prognosis and save your life. An attorney can advise you of your right to receive workers’ comp. This expertise may help when your employer seems to be less than forthcoming in extending you these important benefits.