What to Do Following a Work-Related Burn Injury
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), approximately 60 percent of acute hospitalization in the U.S. are related to burn injuries. Among this percentage, 96.8 percent survive their burn injury. Across the U.S., work-related burns are often a result of unsafe workplace environments. One study found that industrial plant explosions accounted for the highest number of work-related burns, with chemical burns being the most prominent type.
Receiving professional care following a burn is essential for recovery, but many workers are often too afraid to report the injury to their employer or the employer fails to take proper protocol. As advocates for worker safety, the Law Office of Javier Martinez, Jr., P.C. assists victims of work-related burn injuries in El Paso and across the state of New Mexico to receive the compensation they deserve. Many victims require extensive professional medical attention and financial assistance following this type of injury.
Causes of Work-related Burn Injuries
A burn injury on the job may occur for a variety of reasons.
- Chemical: Chemical burns are among the most severe types of burns. Chemicals may include ammonia, bleach, and acid, as well those found in household cleaning products.
- Thermal: A thermal burn occurs when a person comes into contact with flames, hot water or steam, as well as any form of intense heat. They often result from kitchen fires and auto accidents.
- Electrical: Extreme heat often causes electrical burns. Workplace injuries often occur in construction sites, restaurants, offices, and agricultural sites. Depending on the current level (0.5 – 1.5 A), electrical burns can range from minor to severe.
- Radiological: Radiological burns are caused by beta, alpha, or gamma radiation. The most common type of radiation burn is a sunburn from the UV rays of the sun. Exposure to X-rays and radiation therapy may also cause burns.
Different Types of Burns
Burns are categorized into degrees of how deep or severe they penetrate the skin. They include the following:
- First-degree burn: A first-degree burn usually requires emergency medical attention. They are considered mild compared to other types but still result in pain and reddening of the epidermis or outer layer of the skin.
- Second-degree burn: Burns that are second-degree affect the epidermis and dermis, which is the lower layer of skin. They result in pain, swelling, redness, and blisters.
- Third-degree burn: A third-degree burn makes it way through the dermis and affects the deeper layer of skin. It may result in charred or white skin.
- Fourth-degree burn: When a fourth-degree burn occurs it results in destroyed nerve endings as it affects the underlying bones, muscles, and tendons.
Common Complications of Burn Injuries
Depending on the severity of the burn, symptoms may range from discomfort to lack of feeling in the nerves. Complications include:
- Bone and joint problems
- Breathing problems
- Infections on the skin
- Low blood volume
- Low body temperature
- Permanent scarring
When to Seek Medical Help
As with any type of work-related injury, it’s crucial to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. It’s also important that you file a report with your employer regarding the burn and inform them of your status.
For any of the following scenarios, it’s recommended that you see a doctor:
- Any burn caused by a chemical or electricity requires immediate medical attention.
- If the burn covers your hand, feet, groin, face, or any other major part of your body.
- If the burn leads to large blisters or infections such as swelling, redness, and oozing of the wound.
- If you experience difficulty breathing.
- If the burn does not heal in several weeks.
- If you develop any unexplainable symptoms.
Get the Compensation You Deserve Following a Work-Related Burn
Your work-related burn may result in complications that make it difficult to live a normal and productive life. You may also have difficulty returning to work following the accident. For your health and financial security, it’s imperative that you work with an attorney who will help you get the compensation you deserve to cover medical bills and other losses while you recover. Contact the Law Office of Javier Martinez, Jr., P.C. today. Our law firm protects burn injury victims in El Paso and in the state of New Mexico. We’d be pleased to answer your initial questions.