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National Burn Awareness Week

Topics: Loss Control

Burns are one of the most common injury types in the workplace. After an employee suffers a burn or scald, he or she could face not only debilitating pain and disfigurement, but also a recovery period that could take years.

Created by the American Burn Association (ABA), National Burn Awareness Week takes place every year during the first week of February. Its mission is to educate the public about the frequency and causes of burn injuries in the country. Their goal is also to spread information about how to prevent burns in both the home and the workplace, as well as to share the advances in burn care and treatments.

The theme for National Burn Awareness Week 2020 is Contact Burns – Hot Surfaces Damage Skin! The ABA is offering a variety of tips and facts about contact burns, which are caused by touching a hot object.


Common Types of Workplace Burns

restaurant worker preventing burns

Certain industries have more burn risks than others do, such as restaurants, auto mechanics, construction and manufacturing. In fact, the Burn Foundation found that the restaurant and food service industry reports around 12,000 burns every year, the highest number of burns in any employment sector.

Some of the most common burns workers can face include:
  • Chemical burns: Exposure to corrosive or caustic materials, strong acids, or industrial cleaners can cause chemical burns in the skin or eyes. Chemical fumes can also result in injuries to the respiratory system.
  • Thermal/contact burns: Hot objects like burners, open flames, explosions or heated liquids can cause thermal or contact burns.
  • Electrical burns: Electrical burns can occur from both direct and non-direct contact with an electrical source. One example of direct contact is “arcing.” Arcing occurs when a discharge of an electrical current jumps a gap in an exposed circuit, allowing the current to travel through the body and meet resistance in the tissue, resulting in a burn.

Preventing Fires and Burns in the Workplace

The key method of reducing burns in the workplace is to ensure all employees are well trained in safety procedures at the start of their employment, and then provide ongoing training throughout the year. Here are a few other suggestions to help prevent burns in the workplace:



Provide the proper personal protective equipment (PPE)

Employees should be given PPE such as heat resistant gloves or rubber gloves for electrical work or for auto mechanics working with hot engines. As restaurant workers are at a higher risk for burns in the workplace, they should use PPE like splatter shields and gauntlets around hot fryers, and lift hot pans using only protective gloves or oven mitts.

Be careful with hot liquids

When moving containers of hot liquids, let the contents cool first whenever possible. Keep pot handles turned inward on stoves, and open pot lids carefully to be mindful of hot vapors escaping. Place items into hot water or oil slowly to avoid splashing.

Practice good housekeeping

Oily, dirty or solvent-soaked rags and other types of waste lying around can easily start fires. Keep areas clean, placing soiled rags in approved and covered metal containers and placing all trash in proper receptacles.

Store chemicals properly

Always read labels and safety data sheets for chemical containers as well as review chemical content and other pertinent information before storing them. Be sure chemicals are handled and stored according to their particular specifications and instructions.

Be mindful around hot surfaces, objects and open flames

Employees should understand how to prevent burns and scalds from hot beverages, food, steam, tap water and even warming trays. Keep combustible and flammable materials away from sparks or open flames, and be aware of all potentially hot surfaces, especially cooking equipment.

Loss Control Services from AmTrust Financial

Controlling costs through an effective risk management program is essential in today’s competitive market. AmTrust Financial’s Loss Control department can identify the specific hazards facing your organization and offer solutions that best meet your needs. Find helpful workplace safety resources, including free streaming videos, on our website. For more information, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.
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