Burn Injury In The Workplace
Surprisingly, burn injuries are very common in the workplace. Burn injuries can range in severity, but can be generally defined as a serious injury to layers of the skin from exposure to heat, chemicals, radiation, or another source. Burns in the workplace may result from thermal, chemical, or electrical sources. Despite many guidelines and regulations being in place to prevent burn injuries in the workplace, these injuries do still happen and workplace burns still make up a substantial amount of burn injuries.
Typically, workplace burn injuries are covered under workers compensation and many employers are insured for these types of injuries to their employees. These injuries can be life-altering for some victims, and their ability to continue working may even be affected. If you have endured a burn injury at your workplace, you should consult with an attorney to determine your rights. The attorneys at Cueria Law Firm have maximized many burn claims and have helped many burn victims receive the compensation they deserve.
Types of Workplace Burns
Some burns can be superficial, while other burns can be very serious and require extensive medical treatment. The American Burn Association has created the National Burn Repository, which collects and releases annual burn-related data from burn centers participating in the program. The American Burn Association reports approximately 486,000 burn injuries which required medical treatment from a hospital or burn center occurring annually. It is also reported that approximately ten percent of those burn injuries occurred in the workplace.
There are many three types of burns that primarily occur in the workplace:
- Thermal Burns- Thermal burns are common in restaurants, cafes, and other high-energy environments where heat-related injuries are likely to occur. Thermal burns occur from heat. Commonly, the burning and heating of liquids, open flames, hot objects, or explosions can lead to thermal burns. In order to prevent thermal burns, the use of personal protective equipment is encouraged as well as a strict adherence to fire prevention and detection techniques.
- Chemical Burns- Chemical burns occur when your skin or eyes are exposed to acids, alkaloids, or other corrosive materials. When this happens, the chemicals can burn away layers of the skin, injuring the deeper tissues. These types of burn injuries are common in laboratories or factories. Prevention techniques for chemical burns include educating employees on chemical risks and hazard communications including the labeling of certain high-risk chemicals.
- Electrical Burns- Electrical burns can be very serious. Electrical burns occur when an electrical current travels through your body and makes contact with the deep tissues in your body. These burn injuries usually occur in areas of high-voltage or areas with heavy machinery being used. There are a number of electrical standards for companies, but it is encouraged that employees wear protective equipment and be informed on the location of live wires.
High-Risk Occupations for Burn Injuries
It is very possible for anyone to sustain burn injuries while working in certain environments. The American Burn Association has reported that nearly 6% of burn injuries which occurred between 2002 and 2011 were occupational burn injuries. The Bureau of Labor also reported that occupational burns lead to an average of 3-5 days which the employee is unable to work.
Some occupations which include a high-risk for burn injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Emergency firefighters;
- Construction workers;
- Landscaping and outdoor employees;
- Restaurant and cafe employees;
- Healthcare employees; and
- Janitor and technician employees.
Worker’s Compensation Claims for Burn Injuries
Because employers have a duty to provide and maintain a safe workplace, there is an ongoing responsibility to assure that their employees are not put in harm’s way. Specifically, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established standards and regulations for fire and burn safety in order to prevent injuries in the workplace.
In addition to these general responsibilities, any workplace burn injury will be covered by workers compensation within the course of your employment so long as the injury was not self-inflicted. First, you need to file a claim within thirty days of the date of the incident. If the employee who was injured does not file a claim before this time, then they will likely lose their rights to make a claim for benefits. When you file a claim through workers compensation, you want to be sure to provide all information for your compensation history, wages, and medical expenses so your periodic payments can be properly assessed. The assistance of a workers compensation attorney can maximize your claims and assure your benefits are distributed to you. If you were injured at work, consider a free consultation with our experienced attorneys.
The Cueria Law Firm is standing by to help you with your case. Fill out the form below to get a free case evaluation or call our office today to speak with our experienced team of Louisiana legal professionals. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can begin to work on getting you the compensation that you deserve.