The World Health Organization estimates that 265,000 deaths are caused by burns annually, mainly occurring in the home and workplace. According to the American Burn Association, there were 486,000 burn injuries that required medical treatment in 2016. Annually, the American Burn Association estimates 3,400 U.S. burn injury deaths in the United States. Of these, 2,550 result from residential/workplace fires, 300 result from vehicle crash fires, and the remaining 550 result from various causes, such as flames, smoke inhalation, scalding, and electricity. In terms of the cost for burn injuries and deaths, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that males account for $4.8 billion, or 64 percent, of total fire and burn-related costs annually, while females account for the remaining $2.7 billion, or 36 percent. Injuries sustained from burns, whether heat, electrical, radiation, friction, or chemical burns, happen far too often and cost far too much money for accidents that are avoidable most of the time.
According to the Burn Foundation, the Food Service Industry experiences the highest number of burns among all employment sectors, about 12,000 burns annually. Many jobs involved in the Food Service Industry, including cooks, food handlers, kitchen works, and waiters, are among the top 50 professions at risk for on-the-job injury. The majority of people who need to be hospitalized for burns sustained in the workplace work in the food preparation industry. Teenagers working at fast food restaurants as fry cooks are at a higher risk, often because they are not adequately trained or have little experience. For those working in the food industry, there are some simple ways that you can protect yourself from severe burns while on the job. Be sure to wear protective gloves when touching hot pots or cooking with a deep fryer. Wear shoes that have traction to avoid slipping on wet or greasy floors. Extinguish hot oil or grease fires by covering the pot or container with a lid. Don’t reach across hot surfaces. Be sure to read all directions and understand the proper use of electrical appliances and stoves before use. These precautions can also be utilized to prevent burns in residential kitchens. Although some of these are occupationally specific precautions to take, there are additional general safety measures you can implement to avoid possible burn hazards in your own office, the most simple of which being aware of hot or corrosive objects and substances.
Burn injuries to Massachusetts workers can result in significant losses of time and money, as well as pain and suffering to employees. Part of the responsibilities of those who work in management is to protect their employees from harm at work. This includes participating in the prevention of workplace burns. Management should educate employees on safety protocol to avoid burns by making burn safety a principle part of job training. Those who work in positions that are higher risk should also be warned and trained on how to safely avoid burns. Additionally, warning labels should be visible and unambiguous so that even those who do not speak English can understand the warnings. Your employer should provide a safe and hazardless working environment for you and all other employees. If you have been a victim of a work place burn due to negligence by your employer or another employee, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Our experienced Massachusetts Workers Compensation lawyers are available to answer your questions and provide you with a free workers compensation case evaluation.
“Burn Statistics.” Burn Injury Guide RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 July 2016.
“Burns.” World Health Organization. N.p., Apr. 2014. Web. 13 July 2016.
“Restaurant & Food Service Safety.” The Burn Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 July 2016.