This week (first full week of February) is National Burn Awareness Week in the United States. Let’s look at some quick facts about burn injuries:
– Burn Injuries Receiving Medical Treatment Per Year: 500,000
– Fire and Burn Deaths Per Year: 4,000
– Hospitalizations for Burn Injury Per Year: 40,000 total, including 25,000 admissions to hospitals with specialized burn centers
– Burn Cause: 46% fire/flame, 32% scald, 8% hot object contact, 4% electrical, 3% chemical, 6% other
– Place of Occurrence: 43% home, 17% street/highway, 8% occupational, 32% other
Although very few burn injuries occur at work compared to home, the risk is still around us. Steam pipes, electrical arc flashes, hot machine components and chemicals are just a few of the areas where you have exposure to burn injuries. Your best protection for these types of exposures is awareness. More often than not, people get burned at work by coming in contact with hot components unexpectedly.
They didn’t realize the component was hot or they weren’t aware of their body’s position to the object. Take some extra time when around these areas of the facility to ensure you know the hazard and make a conscious effort to keep away from these hot components.
The other line of defense for these injuries is to wear PPE when working in close proximately to these burn hazards. Whether using rubber gloves when working with chemicals or thermal gloves when dealing with steam lines, PPE can afford you the protection you need.