Fire is one of the most important natural processes to humanity. It’s used to cook food, shape metal, and generate energy, among many other uses. But fire is also hazardous and can harm even those whose professions heavily rely on it.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health has estimated that each year, 150,000 work-related burn injuries are treated in emergency rooms across America. Between 30% and 40% of all recorded burn injuries yearly are work-related. What kind of occupations would put workers at risk of burns, and why are work-related burns dangerous?
Industries at high risk of burn injuries
Literature from the National Library of Medicine suggests that based on data over 10 years, the industries that saw the most work-related burn injuries were the accommodation and food service, manufacturing and construction sectors. These industries often work with fire or intense heat, and accidents can lead to burns.
Which type of worker is most at risk of burns?
The same report found that two-thirds of all work-related burn injuries occurred in men. More than half of the injuries also affected workers aged 35 and younger. The data suggest that men and younger workers had higher rates of burn injuries.
Complications following burns
It’s known that burns – whether sustained in or out of work – are classified into three degrees depending on their severity. But burns can also lead to medical complications beyond simply scarring skin and destroying internal tissue. They include:
- Blood infections
- Fluid loss
- Breathing problems
- Issues with bones and joints in the affected areas
If left untreated, many of these symptoms can turn life-threatening. They also require intensive hospitalization and can keep workers out of their jobs long.
Fire safety considerations in workplaces
Industries that work with fire must have safeguards to keep employees safe. Workplaces must have fire risk assessments to judge the level of fire and burn risks in their facilities. Buildings must also have fire extinguishers, sprinklers, smoke alarms and fire escape ladders. Companies must also have a comprehensive fire plan that considers what to do if an employee suffers a burn injury.
Businesses that work with fire have a duty to keep their workers safe. Unfortunately, even with safeguards in place, workers can face devastating fire-related injuries. If you have suffered a serious injury, it is wise to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the process of receiving the benefits to which you are entitled.