Burn injuries can cause permanent injury, loss of income and significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Each year, thousands of workers are burned on everything from ovens and grills to heavy equipment that malfunctions and starts a fire. These injuries take years to heal and cost a significant amount of money to treat.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in 2011, nearly 19,000 people were burned on the job. Workers who suffered chemical burns required a median of three days to return to work, and those who experienced thermal burns required a median of five days. These short recovery times represent workers who suffered first or second degree burns that did not require lengthy hospital stays and physical reconstruction after the burn was suffered. Burns can be caused by open flames, malfunctioning power outlets, and leaking gas mains that ignite.
Burns are rated based on the damage they cause to the epidermis and the organ systems. A first degree burn impacts only the outer layer. It can typically be treated with antiseptic ointment. A second degree burn affects both the epidermis and the dermis. Second degree burns cause severe redness, pain, and general discomfort. A third degree burn is more significant as it can damage nerves and lead to permanent loss of sensation. It can also result in permanent scarring. Finally, a fourth degree burn can penetrate deep into the muscle and impact organ systems. This makes fourth degree burns life threatening. Those individuals that do survive a fourth degree burn are often left physically scarred and can require extensive plastic surgery in order to regain both their appearance and their ability to work.