Burns are all too common in the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, there were approximately 15,830 nonfatal occupational injuries involving burns in the United States.
Common types of construction site burns:
- Thermal: Caused by exposure to heat or flames, hot surfaces, steam, and hot liquids. Welding, cutting, soldering, and brazing are common activities that can cause thermal burns. Approximately 28% of nonfatal occupational burns are due to thermal burns.
- Chemical: Caused by exposure to corrosive or irritant chemicals, including acids, alkalis, solvents, and cleaning agents. Workers in the manufacturing industry are particularly at risk of chemical burns due to their frequent use of chemicals.
- Electrical: Workers who come into contact with live wires or who work on electrical equipment can suffer electrical burns. In 2019, approximately 6% of nonfatal occupational burns were due to electrical burns.
- Radiation: Caused by exposure to ionizing or ultraviolet radiation. Workers in construction may be exposed to radiation from welding, brazing, and cutting operations. Approximately 0.3% of nonfatal occupational burns are due to radiation.
Burn prevention: what can be done?
Employers can several steps:
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): Employers should provide workers with PPE such as heat-resistant gloves, aprons, and clothing to protect them from thermal burns. Employers should also provide chemical-resistant gloves, goggles, and face shields to protect workers from chemical burns.
- Implement safe work practices:g. regular maintenance and inspection of equipment, and proper storage and handling of chemicals. Workers should also be trained on safe welding, cutting, and other hot work practices to prevent thermal burns.
- Conduct regular safety training: Employers should educate workers on burn hazards and prevention measures. Workers should be trained on how to use PPE correctly, how to identify potential burn hazards, and how to respond to burn injuries.
- Control exposure to radiation: Employers should control workers’ exposure to radiation by implementing engineering and administrative controls. Workers should also wear appropriate PPE when working with radiation.
- Have a comprehensive emergency plan: The plan should include the location of first aid kits, emergency phone numbers, and procedures for evacuating the site in case of a major burn incident. In addition, employers should comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and guidelines on burn prevention.
Possible workers’ compensation benefits for construction burn injuries
- Medical treatment: Workers’ compensation can cover the cost of medical treatment related to the burn injury, including hospitalization, surgery, medications, and rehabilitation.
- Temporary Disability Benefits: If the worker is unable to work due to the burn injury, workers’ compensation can disability benefits. The amount of the disability benefit will depend on the worker’s average weekly wage.
- Permanent Disability benefits: If the worker suffers a permanent disability as a result of the burn injury, workers’ compensation may provide permanent disability benefits.
- Vocational rehabilitation: If the worker is unable to return to their previous job due to the burn injury, workers’ compensation may provide vocational rehabilitation to help the worker transition to a new job.
It’s important to note that workers’ compensation laws and benefits vary by state, so the specific benefits available to an injured worker will depend on the state in which they work.
Why get a lawyer after a burn injury
Burn injuries can be costly, and you may be facing significant medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. A lawyer can help you seek compensation for these expenses you have experienced as a result of your injury.
A lawyer can also negotiate on your behalf to help you achieve the best possible outcome. They can work with insurance companies, medical providers, and other parties to ensure that you receive fair compensation.
There are also legal deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, that govern the amount of time you have to file a claim. A lawyer can help you navigate these deadlines and ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner.
Contact our legal team to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get fair compensation for your burn injuries.