When you think of people suffering from serious burn accidents in Arkansas, you might think of construction and utility workers who regularly deal with high-voltage live wires, or maybe welders who use hot plasma and explosive fuels. Chances are that you don’t think about the teenage kid who works in fast-food or the woman behind the deli counter at your local grocery store. But these people are just as likely (if not more so) to suffer serious burns at work in Arkansas as anybody else. In fact, one study published by the Centers for Disease Control found that restaurant workers are the most likely profession to suffer burns while on the job.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Dig a little deeper and the disparity between our perception and reality isn’t that surprising. There were just shy of 7.3 million people employed in the construction industry here in the United States in 2018. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were just 555,000 people employed in the utility industry that same year. By contrast, there were 2.7 million people employed in grocery stores across our country. And restaurants? There were almost 13.5 million in the restaurant industry.
Just by sheer statistical chance, these private sector Blue Collar workers (often working for minimum wage or tips) are far more likely to be injured on the job. But statistics don’t paint the whole picture.
Training and Safety Protocols Lacking
In certain high-risk industries like construction, even low-wage employees have to undergo hours (sometimes weeks) of mandatory training before they’re able to set foot on a job site. Some workers in these industries have to attend specialized schools and earn certification from nationally accredited schools approved by government agencies like OSHA. In addition, overseers in these industries are legally liable for the safety of their employees, and if they fail to ensure a safe workplace, not only can they face fines in addition to personal injury lawsuits in states like Arkansas, they may very well be facing criminal charges and even jail time.
On the other hand, management in the food service and retail industry is not often held liable. Indeed, they may answer to corporate officers and ultimately to stakeholders—which alleviates much of the pressure to keep their workers safe. In addition, while some chain stores and restaurants do have mandated safety training and are legally required to provide personal protective equipment (such as heat-resistant gloves and eye protection), some smaller operations have no such training in place.
At-Risk Populations In High-Risk Situations
What’s even worse is that these companies often hire the most vulnerable of us—the young teenagers looking for their first jobs, the older retirees who need to supplement their fixed incomes, those who need whatever work they can get to make ends meet.
We watch our younger generation walk into their first jobs, so proud and excited, and most don’t even stop to think about a fryolator filled with 15 quarts of vegetable oil that can reach temperatures as high as 375 degrees. A momentary distraction, a puddle of water on the floor, or a cord across the walkway can all contribute to serious—even life-threatening—burns.
But who is responsible? What if workers’ compensation doesn’t cover the cost? What can victims of work-related burns in Arkansas do to protect themselves and their families from financial ruin?
Having an experienced burn accident lawyer in Arkansas on your side can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Insurance claims, settlement packages, even personal injury lawsuits can all be used to deliver a compensation package that covers all of your expenses—from your immediate medical bills to long-term care and even reconstructive surgery.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury at work, contact the Pfeifer Law Firm today. Reach out online or call 501-374-4440 now. There is no charge for the consultation, and you don’t owe us anything until we recover for you.