Don’t Get the Third Degree | Workplace Burn Prevention

OSHA has reported that there are more than 5,000 work-related burn injuries in the U.S. each year. 8% of all burn injuries occur on the job. These burns can be: First-degree – Superficial burns with minimal skin damage; Second degree – Burns than go beyond the top layer of skin, which can cause blisters, pain and swelling; or Third degree – Burns that destroy the skin and tissue underneath, causing permanent damage.

The most common types of workplace burns are thermal (heat), electrical or chemical. Thermal burns can occur with exposure to hot liquids or steam, hot surfaces, flames, and explosions. Chemical burns are caused by contact with substances that eat away at the skin. Electrical burns happen when a current travels through the body and meets resistance in tissue.

It’s important that employers and workers be aware of these common burn types and make the effort to identify, control, and avoid/reduce potential burn hazards in the workplace. Important preventative measures include:

  • Keeping the workplace clean and free of debris.
  • Making sure workplace fire extinguishers are properly maintained and in working order.
  • Storing combustible and flammable items properly and keeping them away from ignition sources.
  • Wearing the proper personal protective equipment for the hazard.
  • Being extra cautious around chemicals and any hot liquids, materials, or surfaces.
  • Reading the labels and Material Safety Data Sheets for chemicals in the workplace.
  • Having emergency plans in place.
  • Following Lock-Out / Tag-Out procedures when working with electricity.

Because workplace burns are so common, employers and workers must actively try to lessen the risks. Awareness, implementation of controls, and protective measures can be very effective in reducing burn hazards.

Date Posted: 04-22-2017
Tags: burn prevention, burn safety, osha safety topics, osha workplace safety, personal protection equipment, workplace hazards,
Categories: OSHA Safety,