Safety Tip of the Week – Burn Hazards and Prevention

Burn injuries are common both at home and in the workplace. The American Burn Association states that there are over 40,000 hospitalizations each year due to burns.

The most common types of workplace burns are thermal (heat), electrical, and 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 travel 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 Safety Data Sheets for chemicals in the workplace;
  • Having emergency plans in place; and
  • 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.

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