Fire safety or general burn safety is an important element of workplace safety. Anyone who has sustained a serious burn can attest to the level of pain, difficult recovery process and financial burden a workplace burn can cause. There are many types of burns and many scenarios in which employees can be at risk for burns. Chemical burns are a common type of workplace burn and can cause serious physical consequences for the burn victim.
Chemical burns occur when the skin comes into contact with a caustic substance such as gasoline, lye, acids or paint thinner. The result is often a sunburned effect, with redness and sensitivity occurring minutes or hours after contact. In some cases, the physical effects can be severe and can cause symptoms and injuries as debilitating as those caused by a fire or explosion.
When workplace chemical burns occur, the employer may be liable for the employee's injuries and resulting financial damages. If you sustained a chemical burn at work, you may be entitled to compensation via workers’ compensation insurance or a lawsuit. You should contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims and workplace injuries. A qualified attorney can review your case and make recommendations for how you can obtain restitution for financial damages, including medical bills, lost wages related to recovery time and required days away from the job, and ongoing benefits for long-term or permanent disability.
OSHA and Burn Safety in the Workplace
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) designates and enforces standards for workplace safety. OSHA has set specific guidelines for maintaining a burn-free workplace and for appropriate handling of caustic and/or hazardous materials such as chemicals and gases. OSHA makes recommendations and establishes requirements in order to protect the interests of employees and employers throughout the nation.
For burn safety, OSHA recommends appropriate staff training. Employees must be trained in the proper handling of any dangerous, flammable or toxic materials, and appropriate plans must be put into place for emergency situations. Employees should be given a thorough understanding of what materials can cause chemical burns, how to avoid contact with such chemicals and what to do in the event a burn occurs.
What to Do if You’ve Been Burned at Work
Depending on the severity of the burn, you may require ongoing medical care and a period of recovery prior to returning to work. Serious burns can cause damage to deep tissue and can cause long-term pain and disability that may require therapy and rehabilitation, not to mention enduring work restrictions.
If your employer failed to adhere to OSHA safety guidelines for workplace burn safety or was negligent in some other way that led to your burn injury, you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim and/or initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the appropriate entity.
Workers’ compensation can offer payment for medical care, including doctor visits, therapy, follow-up care, prescription medications or other treatments related to a chemical burn. In addition, workers’ compensation offers replacement wages for time lost at work during recovery and may include ongoing benefits if you have a long-term or permanent disability (full or partial) that affects your ability to return to work in a full capacity.
A private lawsuit can seek restitution for similar damages if your burn was caused by a product defect or the actions of someone other than the employer, or if you are unable to obtain a workers’ compensation benefits package for any other reason.
Cordisco & Saile LLC Can Help You Obtain Benefits
Cordisco & Saile LLC specializes in personal injury cases and workers’ compensation claims and can guide you through the process of obtaining compensation and/or benefits. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.