Accident at Work: Common Causes of Burn Injuries


An accident at work causing a burn injury can deeply affect you and cause irreparable damage. Depending on how serious the burn injury is, victims can have internal injuries, extensive skin damage, or amputation.

Recovering from such an injury is often an expensive and extensive process with physical therapy and potentially psychological support being needed.

Types of Burn Injuries

There are four types of burn injuries, categorised into first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree burns. First-degree burns are superficial, affecting only the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. These typically cause pain, redness, and discomfort that can be treated with topical analgesics, bandages, and antiseptic creams.

Second-degree burns can take between three to eight weeks to properly heal, and they’re more serious than first-degree burns. The effect of second-degree burns extends dermis, the skin layer beneath the epidermis, and can cause blisters, severe discomfort, redness, and stiffness of muscles, tendons, or other tissue.

Third-degree burns extend through and past all layers of the skin into the fatty tissue underneath. These burns can destroy nerves and cause scars, being extremely painful and requiring immediate medical attention and pain medication. The skin can be left with a white, leathery, and waxy appearance.

The most serious burns, fourth-degree burns extend past all of the skin layers and the fatty tissue into bone and muscle. They cause permanent damage to tendons, nerves, ligaments, and muscles, often requiring amputation.

Chemical Burns

With several industries using dangerous chemicals and workers handling them in day-to-day operations, chemical burns can quickly and unexpectedly occur. These dangerous chemicals are extremely corrosive and can cause serious chemical burns when in contact with eyes, internal organs, and skin.

Some chemicals industries use are solvents, acids, and oxidisers.

Gas Explosions

Commonly used in manufacturing plants for a variety of industries, workplaces only need a small leak to cause a big gas explosion. Factories using fuel tanks for cooling, welding, and other industrial processes are also at great risk of gas explosions.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are very common when workers come into direct contact with a heat source, such as fire, boiling liquids, or steam. Construction workers are also at risk of sunburns due to working outside in extremely hot conditions.

Smelting industries, restaurants, and manufacturing sectors, for example, are workplaces in which employees are more exposed to thermal burns due to fire being part of working processes.

Electrical Burns

Having direct contact with exposed wires, mishandling machinery, or standing in electrified water can cause electrical burns. Workers exposed to electrical current can experience damaged cardiovascular, nervous, and respiratory systems. This can be superficial or permanent tissue damage, or instant death.

Smoke Inhalation

Smoke inhalation due to fires, carbon dioxide, or other gases that can be potentially dangerous can cause severe damage to the respiratory system. When smoke is inhaled, it can block airways, damage the lungs, or suffocate. Proper equipment needs to be provided to workers to prevent smoke inhalation.

Burn injuries can cause complications like respiratory failure, arrhythmia, septicaemia, infections, and many more issues that continue to affect recovery. The financial burden can range from loss of income to extreme situations in which homes need to be adapted. Making a claim if you’ve suffered an accident at work due to negligence or claiming for a loved one can help to cover all medical and care expenses.

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