Work Injuries Caused by Chemical BurnsSeptember 17, 2018
If you have ever burned your finger on a hot stove, you know how painful even a minor burn can be. Imagine, then, suffering a severe burn at work after being exposed to a hazardous, or flammable, chemical. These types of burns can cause extreme pain, muscle and tissue damage, scarring and disfigurement, and serious infections. In extreme cases, they can even be fatal.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 32 million workers are occupationally exposed to hazardous chemicals that can lead to serious health issues. Many of these accidents can be prevented by common sense and following the appropriate safety protocols.
What Is a Chemical Burn?
Chemical burns are caused by substances that are either strong acids or strong alkalines. In most cases, they are the result of an accidental spill, splash, or a reaction when two incompatible substances are mixed together.
Depending on the substance, and the occupational setting, chemical burns can affect the skin, as well as internal organs.
The following are common acids that can cause chemical burns in the workplace:
- Sulphuric acid: This is commonly found in toilet cleaners, battery fluid, metal cleaners, and fertilizer manufacturing.
- Nitric Acid: This chemical is used in engraving, metal refining, and electroplating.
- Hydrofluoric acid: This is used as a refrigerant, as well as for rust removal and glass etching.
- Hydrochloric acid: A chemical commonly used in metal refining, and manufacturing dye.
- Phosphoric acid: This is found in rust proofers, detergents, and fertilizer plants.
The following are examples of common alkaline chemicals:
- Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide: Commonly found in drain and oven cleaners.
- Sodium and calcium hypochlorite: These are found in bleach and pool chlorination materials.
- Gaseous anhydrous ammonia: These are found in the manufacture of fertilizers.
- Phosphates: These are a component of detergents and cleaners.
Depending on the severity of the burn, and the specific chemical involved, the resulting injuries can range from surface burns to severe, third-degree burns. If a worker is not wearing protective eye gear, and is splashed in the face, it can cause permanent blindness.
Treatment can involve painful debridement, which cleans and removes dirt and dead skin tissue, as well as grafting healthy skin from another part of the body to the burn wound. Special bandages, IV fluids, and antibiotic wound care are all part of a burn treatment regimen.
Chemical Burns Caused by Employer Negligence
If workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals on the job, OSHA requires employers to provide the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and comply with the appropriate safety standards.
If an employer is not in compliance with these standards, they may be found liable for damages if an employee is injured or burned.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Chemical Burns
If you have suffered a workplace injury involving a chemical burn, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will thoroughly explain the benefits that you are entitled to and seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will not stop fighting for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.