Burns are nothing to be trifled with. While the majority of burns seen by ER doctors in Arkansas are minor and can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, serious—even fatal—burns can and do occur when people are uninformed of proper safety practices or ignore standards created to safeguard their wellbeing. Indeed, burns are one of the most serious workplace injuries across all industries in Arkansas and the United States in general.
What Are the Most Common Causes for Workplace Burns in Arkansas?
According to the American Burn Association, a national non-profit dedicated to preventing burn injuries, the four most common causes of burn injuries nationwide are:
- Fire burns
- Contact with hot object
- Electrical burns
And while these types of burns can occur anywhere (and often happen to victims in the home) some types of burn injuries are more common in the workplace.
For example, electrocution is one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four” most deadly construction site accidents in the United States. Scalds are common for employees who work in kitchens (industrial, commercial, or private) and regularly use deep fryers, commercial grade dishwashers, and high-pressure water hoses with which to clean. Contact with hot objects is a common way for mechanics and engineers to be injured while repairing and maintaining machinery such as construction equipment, elevators, and HVAC compressors.
But how common are burn injuries at work? Two of OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standard violations are Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) and Electrical, wiring methods—both of which can cause devastating burns in an instant.
Kitchens Are Hazardous Workplaces Too
As mentioned above, one of the most common industries in which employees are burned while on the job is the restaurant industry. It’s in hot kitchens that people come into contact with potential burn hazards every day—more often even than construction workers in hazardous job sites.
From open ranges to hot flattop cook surfaces to deep fryers, kitchens are filled with potential burn hazards. Indeed, the risk is so high that OSHA has created a specific Tip Sheet to help kitchen workers avoid potential hazards.
- Use of protective clothing and equipment (PPE)
- Regular cleaning of work area (to prevent slips and falls that could end in burns)
- Avoid overcrowding of work areas
But restaurants aren’t the only places that workers come into contact with these hot surfaces. Indeed, you can find cooktops and fryolators in any number of commercial establishments from convenience stores to gas stations to supermarkets.
Who is Responsible for Burns at Work?
That is an important question and could have a huge impact on a burn victim’s financial recovery. Responsibility hinges upon the details surrounding the accident. If an employee’s own actions (or inactions) contributed to their injuries (such as reckless behavior while using a fryolator) it could be difficult for them to prove they were not at fault for their accident. However, if an employer:
- Failed to properly train an employee in the safe use of equipment
- Failed to provide them with proper safety gear
- Failed to maintain equipment is a safe manner
- Or neglected warnings about a potential hazard
That employer could very well be responsible for the victim’s injuries in the eyes of the law. That means they could be held financially liable for all costs associated with the victim’s recovery (medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.).
Proving that liability could require an intensive investigation—especially if an employer is either actively hiding details or has poor record-keeping and document retention. That’s why it’s often best for victims to hire a professional burn accident attorney in Arkansas to represent them.
Pfeifer Law Firm has access to teams of investigators and experts who can uncover details that might have otherwise been overlooked. These details help prove and present cases in compelling and persuasive fashion. That’s essential for swaying the opinions of insurance adjusters, judges, and even juries.
If you’ve been burned at work, contact the Pfeifer Law Firm today and speak with our experienced Arkansas burn accident lawyers. Call 501-374-4440 right now. The consultation is free, and you don’t owe us anything unless we recover for you.