There are three main types of burns common in the workplace: thermal (heat), chemical, and electrical. Review the potential for these types of injuries and implement controls to reduce the likelihood of injury to an employee. Below are reminders to avoid various types of burns:
- Reduce exposure to or contact with steam, flames, flash and hot surfaces, or hot liquids with a temperature above 115 degrees.
- Keep sparks and open flames away from combustible and flammable materials. Don’t allow debris to accumulate in your work area.
- Have maintenance employees wear flame-resistant clothing.
- Avoid reaching over or through hot surfaces, pipes, or chemicals.
- Pipes can break under pressure. Ensure line-breaking procedures are followed before you begin work.
- If you are not sure if equipment is hot, do not approach or touch without the proper protective equipment. When it comes to burn hazards, always use extra caution.
If exposed to thermal heat source:
- Move the person to a safe area and stop the burning. If clothing is in flames or smoldering, stop, drop, and roll the person to extinguish the flames.
- For a first-degree burn, immerse the body part in cool water. Have the person drink water and elevate the burned body part to reduce swelling.
- For a second-degree burn, follow the steps for treating a first degree burn but do not apply cold water. Cover any blisters with a dry, non-sticking, sterile dressing.
- For a third-degree burn, cover the burn with dry, sterile, nonstick dressing, treat for shock and seek immediate medical attention.
- Store and handle chemicals correctly and according to directions. Read labels and the safety data sheets (SDS) for any chemical you work with.
- Read chemical labels and SDS.
- Make sure to wear all appropriate PPE for the chemical.
- Know the location of the nearest first aid, eye wash station, and fire equipment before beginning the job functions.
- Know what types of chemicals are being used and what precautions need to be taken to avoid a burn.
If exposed to a chemical:
- Remove contaminated clothing.
- Brush off any loose powder and flush the area with water for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- If the chemical has gotten into the eye, flush the eye with clean, clear water from a low pressure source. Keep the eye open when flushing.
- When performing electrical work, follow Lock-Out/Tag-Out procedures and wear appropriate clothing and PPE.
- Know what electrical sources exist in your workplace.
- Train employees on electrical safety.
- Mark overhead power lines and train equipment operators as to their location.
- Know proper clearance distances from power lines to avoid an arc.
If exposed to electricity:
- Make the scene safe. Turn off the power.
- Do not approach the injured person until the power is off.
- Check the airway, breathing, and circulation. Treat for shock.
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Stay inside of vehicle or equipment that has contacted an overhead powerline until the scene is safe.
NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.