Every year 200 deaths and more than 5,000 injuries occur as a result of workplace fires and explosions.
Work-related burn injuries account for almost 25 percent of all burns that require medical attention. Burn injuries can occur in any type of job; however, they are most commonly reported by kitchen workers, lab employees, construction workers, and welders. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), every year 200 deaths and more than 5,000 injuries occur as a result of workplace fire and explosions. A vast majority of work-related burn injuries are thermal burns and electrical and chemical burns are equally dangerous. These injuries can affect the respiratory system and integumentary system, causing permanent damage.
The most common type of burn injury are thermal burns. Heat sources such as fire, hot liquids, steam, and hot metals can cause injuries that range from minor skin damage to severe fourth-degree burns. It is a misconception that most fire-related fatalities are caused by burns. The reality is that 50-80 percent of deaths are caused by smoke inhalation. Wet heat, hot liquids. and hot food can also burn through skin and connective tissue, resulting in scalding. Defective machinery, hot water heaters, and industrial ovens are examples of heat sources that cause thermal burns.
Chemical burns are not as common as thermal or electrical burns but they are often more serious due to their invasive and caustic nature. When certain chemicals come into contact with skin, they can burn through the integumentary layers and cause extensive damage. The chemicals can then enter the bloodstream and attack various organs. The two most common examples of toxic chemicals are acids and alkaloids, which are used in agriculture, medical, and the automotive industry. Examples of acids and alkaloids are:
- gasoline, tar, and other industrial products
- products containing sodium hypochlorite or sulfuric acid
- products containing lye
If a worker comes in contact with electric current, it can pass through the body and cause an electrical burn. The resulting injuries can be internal, external, or both. The severity of the injury is determined by the length of exposure and intensity of the current. Low voltage current is likely to cause mild burns. However, it can also lead to serious complications such as muscle spasms, cardiac problems, and oral burns. High voltage current can cause serious injuries, including severe skin burns, cardiac arrest, coma, and even death. In workplaces, electrical burn hazards can be caused by stripped or faulty wiring, electrical machinery, and exposure to high voltage power lines.
Chicago Workers’ Compensation Benefits
All types of work-related burn injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. If you are facing any difficulty in getting the benefits you deserve, talk to a Chicago work injury lawyer. Call Willens Law Offices at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.