What You Need to Do After You Get Burned at Work

Accidents happen; it’s normal. If you can cut your finger on a knife or burn it on the stove while working in your own kitchen, then there’s a high possibility to do the same when using unfamiliar equipment somewhere else, like your workplace. That’s why many people who get burned on work premises regard it just like any other self-sustained injury. They go on with their day like it’s no big deal and believe that the burn will heal on its own. That’s where serious issues start arising though, as some of these burns prove to be more dangerous than they’d first imagined. Instead of disregarding the burn, it’s much better to make a well-informed decision. 

That being said, here’s what you need to do after getting burned at work.

Identify the Burn Kind and Degree

Some burns are much more serious than others, but you can’t always make out the severity of the burn from how it looks on the outside. Each kind of burn has its severity, depending on which the first aid and treatment will significantly vary. Here’s a quick overview of the kind of burns you might get subjected to in a workplace:

  • Thermal Burns

These burns result from getting into contact with fire, flame, steam, or boiling liquids. They can also occur from touching scalding hot solid metals, such as pipes, motors, and tools. 

  • Electrical Burns

Electric burns result from getting in contact with an electric current, which can be both AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current). For instance, touching naked wires or a functioning electrical socket, falling into electrified water, or getting struck by lightning can result in electric burns. 

  • Chemical Burns

Getting exposed to concentrated caustic chemical agents can result in chemical burns. Once these agents get in touch with soft tissues, such as the eyes, skin, or lungs, they can burn the exposed area. 

Once you identify the cause of the burn, it’s time to figure out its severity. The severity of the burn can be indicated according to its degree; the higher the degree, the worse its severity. Here’s how the burn degrees go:

  1. First-Degree burns are the mildest. They only affect the outermost layer of the skin, resulting in redness and mild to moderate pain. 
  2. Second-Degree burns extend beyond the outer layer to the layer below. In addition to pain and redness, you’ll be able to see blisters forming and swelling. 
  3. Third-Degree burns reach the third layer of the skin, which is the fatty layer. It’s serious enough to the extent of being able to damage the nerves. It results in extreme pain and turns the skin into a waxy, white, or leathery texture. 
  4. Fourth-Degree burns are the worst of all; they extend beyond the skin to reach muscles, tendons, and bones. More often than not, fourth-degree burns are fatal. 

Seek Legal Guidance

You need to start investigating the root of the burn. As per the insights of these personal injury experts, workplace burns can be more than just a mere accident. You may find out that the burn has been the result of an employer or third-party negligence. In the case of employer negligence, you may hire a workers compensation lawyer to help ensure you’ll be eligible for getting worker’s compensation benefits to pay for your medical expenses and cover your lost wages. In the case of third-party negligence, you can file a personal injury lawsuit or get compensated for all emotional and physical damages. 

Get Medical Attention

Regardless of the severity of the burn, first aid has to be applied. However, there’s a world of difference between the measures needed for mild and severe burns. In the case of first-degree and second-degree burns that are smaller than 3 inches in diameter, you’ll treat the burn as minor. You’ll start with cooling the burn by holding it under or immersing the area in cool (not cold) water. Once the pain subsides, cover the wound with a lightly-wrapped sterile gauze bandage. You can take over-the-counter pain medication to help with the pain. Minor burns usually heal on their own, disappearing completely or leaving a minor scar behind.

In the case of a second-degree burn that is larger than 3 inches in diameter, a burn in a sensitive area (eyes, ears, groin, face, or major joint), or a severe burn that’s worse than a second degree, including chemical and electrical burns, then medical attention is urgently needed. As soon as you remove yourself or the burned individual from the area of the burn, call 911 or medical emergency services. 

Getting burned at work is no joke. Even if you can’t feel the severity of the burn, the first thing you should do is get medical attention, just to be safe. From there, you can investigate the cause of the burn to pinpoint the party at fault. In case someone is to blame, you can preserve your rights by consulting with a personal injury lawyer to guide you through the legal steps.