Burn Prevention and Workplace Safety

Workplace Facts:

  • a fatal workplace injury occurs every 103 minutes
  • a disabling workplace injury occurs every 8 seconds

To Reduce the Incidence/Severity of Burn Injuries Employers should:

  • have and enforce safety protocols
  • conduct work site safety surveys at least annually
  • encourage employees to ask when they are unsure of procedures
  • provide updated MSDS sheets
  • maintain properly operating safety equipment
  • install several brightly painted safety showers and eye wash stations in each high risk area
  • provide a thorough safety orientation for all new employees to include the emergency evacuation route
  • allow each new employee to work with a safety-conscious supervisor during the orientation period
  • provide interesting programs for mandatory safety meetings
  • provide updated safety information for all employees on a regular basis
  • provide safety reminders such as bulletin boards and posters between the monthly meetings
  • provide an accessible means of calling for assistance (i.e. portable telephones, walkie-talkies)
  • stay involved with accident prevention since LIVES depend on it

Employees should:

  • know and follow safety protocol
  • don’t take chances or shortcuts
  • ask questions when unsure of procedures
  • know the location of and the operating procedure for emergency and safety equipment BEFORE the emergency
  • seek professional counseling before problems get out of hand
  • know the location of all safety showers and eye wash stations BEFORE you need them
  • don’t be distracted by work-related or other problems
  • know what to do if an accident happens (i.e. first aid, CPR)
  • participate in safety programs
  • report potential hazards as soon as they are noted
  • when working with strong chemicals use appropriate personal protective equipment

On-Site Emergency Care of Burn Victims

Thermal Burns—caused by flame, steam, hot liquid or contact with a hot surface.

Before Medical Help Arrives:

  1. Stop the burning process using low-pressure water.
  2. Provide first aid measures as needed (CPR as indicated).
    1. Treat or prevent shock
    2. Control bleeding (burns don’t bleed—if it is present there is another cause)
  3. Have someone call for Emergency Medical Assistance.
  4. Keep the victim warm using blankets.
  5. Stay with the victim until help arrives.

NOTE: Tar Burn—Cool the tar with water. Do not attempt to remove the tar while at the accident scene.

Electrical Burns—caused by contact with electrical current

Before Medical Help Arrives:

  1. If the victim is being held by the source turn the current off or use a non-conductive item to knock victim away from the source before attempting resuce.
  2. If clothing has ignited use low pressure water to extinguish the flames.
  3. Provide first aid measures and CPR as indicated.

Chemical Burns—caused by contact with a hazardous chemical

Before Medical Help Arrives:

  1. If in the powder form, brush off as much as possible before using water.
  2. Immediately use low-pressure water (safety shower).
  3. Remove contaminated clothing, jewelry and contact lenses WHILE under the water.
  4. Stay in the shower for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before leaving for the hospital.
  5. Take the MSDS sheet for the chemical to the hospital with the person.
  6. Do not use neutralizing agents.

If the eyes are involved:

  1. Flush eyes thoroughly using eye wash stations.
  2. Hold the eyelids open WHILE flushing.
  3. Remove contact lens WHILE flushing with water.
  4. Do not use neutralizing agents.

These instructions apply to Thermal, Chemical and Electrical burn injuries:

  1. Provide first aid, assist breathing using CPR if necessary, stop bleeding, treat for shock and prevent further trauma.
  2. Keep the victim warm and wrap in sheet and blankets.
  3. Stay with the victim and provide emotional support.
  4. Contact your physician.

Every year in the United States many individuals are burned in work-related accidents. Frequently these burns are more severe than burns sustained in the home because of the intense heat, high voltage electricity and concentrated chemicals used in the Industrial setting.

Although the incidence of work-related burns are decreasing, additional measures can further improve the safety of the work environment. On-the-job safety should be a shared responsibility between the employer and the employees with the assistance from health professionals in the community.

Doctors Hospital is committed to aiding in the prevention of the devastation of industrial burns in cooperation with industries. This information is offered to help alert you to potential burn hazards and provide guidelines for emergency burn care.