For workers in factories, on construction sites and in many other occupations, burn injuries are a serious threat. The big explosions and fires that result in serious injuries make it into the news, giving us the false sense that these types of injuries are unusual. But, in fact, they may be more common than most people you realized.
Per the American Burn Association (ABA), around 500,000 workers get medical treatment for burns annually. That does not take into account mild burns that still may require on-site treatment. Half a million people wind up in the hospital or the doctor’s office. That’s a staggering number.
One thing to remember is that burns do not just come from heat or open flames. Many do, of course, but workers can also get burned by chemicals and scalding water. At high temperatures, steam can burn the skin. Open electrical wires, when touched, may lead to burns. Explosions and fires are a risk, but workers have to be aware of the many sources of burn injuries.
A lot of these burns can be prevented. For instance, some workers do not have the right PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), or they have it but no one ever trained them to use it properly. Employers also need to understand these many risk sources, then, so that they can set their workers up for safety on any job site.
There are three different “degrees” when looking at burn injuries. These signify how bad the damage is and they offer some insight into potential healing. The three main levels are:
You can have more severe burns, such as fourth-degree burns, though they are less common. This is when damage extends beyond the skin itself, impacting bones, tendons and other tissue. Serious burns can lead to incredible pain, long-term medical treatment and disabilities that last for life. Burns on visible areas, like the hands and face, may also leave scars that never heal.
If you suffer such serious injuries on the job in California, it is critical that you know what options you have, especially if you think that these injuries have ended your career entirely.