Burn Injuries at Work
We all know how painful burns are and how easily they occur. Most of us suffer minor burns at some point in our lives whether that be through catching our skin in a hot oven or splashing our coffee. These are usually due to our own carelessness.
Burns that occur in the workplace, however, are often serious and preventable. Employers have a legal responsibility to create a working environment which protects worker’s health and safety within practical reason. Therefore, there should be controls in place to prevent burns occurring.
Those affected may include:
- Laboratory workers
- Factory workers
- Industrial plants e.g. steelworks
- Restaurant and kitchen staff
- Any workplace with a kitchen or break room
Main Causes of Burn Accidents
Even the most minor burns are sore and take time to heal. Unfortunately, they are often caused by something that could have been prevented.
Some of the most common types of burn occurring in the workplace are:
- Chemical Burns
- Thermal burns
- Electrical Burns
- Radiation burns
Unfortunately, the consequences of a burn caused in the workplace can be life changing. They can result in a painful recovery period which may involve multiple surgeries, permanent scarring, damage to muscles and soft tissue, and reduced mobility in the affected area.
Reasons for these accidents may include:
- Exposed hot surfaces
- Equipment and machinery overheating
- Dangerous handling of hot liquids e.g. causing splashes
- Unsafe workspace
- Slips, trips and falls causing contact with dangerous heat sources
- Lack of appropriate Person Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Faulty electrical equipment which may cause a fire or explosion
- Incorrect handling or storage of chemicals
- Lack of appropriate training
It is an employee’s responsibility to act within the health and safety guidelines they have been supplied with and to adhere to any training they have been given to ensure they look after their own welfare and of those who are affected by their actions. Warning signs, especially with hazardous materials should always be paid attention to and if a worker identifies anything that compromises health and safety it should immediately be reported to someone more senior.
It is the legal responsibility of an employer to protect employees’ health and safety within practical reason. There should be safe processes and controls in place to provide such protection.
1) Risk Assessments
- It is vital an employer carries out regular and detailed risk assessments of workplace risks to employee health and safety. This should include any aspects which could increase risks of scalds and burns
- This is especially important in any workplace where flammable chemicals are used or there are other fire and explosion hazards. Some workplaces may produce an explosive atmosphere where hazardous substances create dust particles in the air
- When risks are identified, immediate action should be taken where possible even if it just to warn others of the risk. An official prioritised action plan should then be put in place
- If a risk can be reduced or eliminated, these options should be seriously considered
- Any equipment should have the correct assessments on them such as PAT testing and this should be clearly marked on the device
2) Correct handling and storage of anything which could cause burns
- This includes highly flammable substances and liquids such as petrol which can easily ignite. Any guidelines and regulations should be followed and controls put in place to ensure this is happening correctly
- Only those with the proper training should have access to any dangerous substances
- Anything which could cause burns like hot pipes should have warning signs on them
3) Provision of Emergency Equipment and First Aid
- This includes fire extinguishers being visible and current
- Employees should be fully trained on emergency procedures
- First aid kits should be available and visible
4) Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- PPE should be suitable for protecting an individual from the dangerous material they are handling. This may be protective gloves, footwear, clothing, and eye protection
- PPE should fit properly, with the right level of protection for the exposure to burning risk they face
- PPE should be provided with clear information and training on when and how to use
Can I Make a Claim?
If you have suffered a burn injury at work in the last 3 years that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible for compensation. Employers have a responsibility to protect your health and safety so if they have been negligent in providing such protection, you should contact Injury Lawyers UK
How Can Injury Lawyers UK Help?
At Injury Lawyers UK, we have years of experience dealing with claims against employers. We understand how stressful a time this is especially if your current employer is involved so we can guide you through the process professionally and sensitively taking the hassle out of the situation for you.
Burn Injuries can be devastating. Not only are they painful but can also lead to a long recovery process which may involve surgeries, permanent scarring and rehabilitation. When pursuing a compensation claim, we always taking into consideration any past or future financial losses to yourself as well as any emotional trauma you may have suffered as a result of your injury.
Our team of lawyers and legal advisers speak in clear and plain English so you never feel overwhelmed by legal jargon. Initially, one of our legal advisers will talk to you about your case to advise whether you have a case for compensation. We have a no win, no fee policy so you never have to pay a penny unless we win your case.
Get in Touch
Get in touch by calling 0800 1123 156, texting “CONTACT” to 80011 or by completing our quick online claim form and we will get back to you.