Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and Burn Injuries
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act protects workers injured during the course and scope of employment. Injured employees can suffer a range of harm, including burn injuries. According to the Act, workers may recover compensation from their employer, including the costs of medical bills, medications, and wages lost due to the injury.
Pennsylvania law requires that employers provide their employees with information regarding their right to compensation for work-related injuries. In other words, every employee must receive information regarding their rights under workers’ compensation. This includes making clear that they are entitled to medical benefits and lost wages if they are unable to work because of their injury.
Burns may invoke images of firefighters and shooting flames. But employees face heat burn hazards daily, including those who weld or pour hot tar, such as roofers. Cooks and waitresses are exposed to the risk of burns, as are those working in the coal and metal mining industries. Workers can suffer burns while operating equipment or while conducting repairs and cleaning equipment.
Employers are required by law to use personal protective equipment in industries in which workers are exposed to burn hazards. Unfortunately, gear is not a foolproof protector because heat can penetrate the material and harm the worker. In fact, worksite conditions can contribute to burns, including poor quality tools or faulty equipment, improper labeling, or cluttered work areas. Often, burn injuries could have been prevented by wearing proper safety gear.
Of the many types of workplace injuries, burns can be among the most catastrophic. Depending on the type and severity of the burn injury, workers can suffer shock, cardiac arrest, and infections of the burn site. Many individuals who have been seriously burned require ongoing medical care, as well as mental health counseling. Those who have endured serious burns may be partially or totally disabled, affecting their ability to return to work.
Types of Workplace Burn Injuries
Chemical burns take place when soft tissue comes into contact with a corrosive, synthetic substance. People have soft tissue on their skin, ears, eyes, and internal organs. Corrosive compounds can include solvents and thinners agents, as well as acids and bases.
When we come into contact with flames, steam, or boiling liquids, we can suffer thermal burns. Touching hot objects, such as engines or tools, can also lead to thermal burns.
When workers contact an alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC), they may suffer an electrical burn. Touching a malfunctioning electrical socket or being struck by lighting can cause an electrical burn.
Ratings of Burns
Burns are rated according to their severity. First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of skin and can often be healed through bandaging, topical analgesics, and ointments. Second-degree burns are more serious and can lead to blisters and scarring. Third-degree burns often heal but with potential scarring.
Both third- and fourth-degree burns extend beyond the dermis (layer of skin). Medical care is required, as is pain management. Nerve damage can result, and severe burns can lead to charred muscles and bones. Fourth-degree burns can be fatal.
Workers exposed to burn hazards should not suffer work-related harm more than others. Employers must protect their employees against all known hazards. If you or someone close to you has been injured at work, we can help. The skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at Needle Law can advocate on your behalf, seeking compensation for your harm. Contact us by phone today at (570) 344-1266 or through our online form.