Employee Safety: Workplace Burns

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Employee safety is an essential part of delivering on your mission. Not only is it important to keep your teams safe for their own sake, but employee injuries can also impact your ability to serve your members and guests. These employee safety documents are designed to keep you informed on important employee safety topics. They can also be used to generate discussion at staff meetings to empower your staff to not only keep your members safe, but to keep themselves and their co-workers safe, too.


Some professions and roles are more at risk of burns than others, but none are immune. From accidental exposure to chemicals to fire, sunburn or electric shock, workplace burns are a risk everywhere, and to everyone. We've put together the following tips to help you minimize the risk as much as possible.

Burn Prevention Tips

  1. Wear personal protective gear specific to the activity.
  2. Practice good housekeeping and promptly/properly dispose of scrap items, trash and loose materials.
  3. Keep combustible and flammable materials away from open flames and potential sparks.
  4. Always keep chemicals in their original containers with labels, and make sure you have read and understand all warnings and directions.
  5. Use caution when pouring hot or hazardous liquids like chemicals and coffee.
  6. Keep dangerous liquids and combustible items in a secure location and out of the reach of children.
  7. Observe all electrical codes and lock-out/tag-out energy sources before working on machinery or equipment. Cover live electrical panels and post warning signs.

Even with the best preventive measures in place, however, there is still always some level of risk. That's why it's important for all staff to know the symptoms of different types of burns, and what they can do to treat them:

First Degree Burns:

These burns affect the outer layer of skin and may result from sunburn or contact with hot objects/liquids and even steam. They will cause the skin to be red and sore.

First aid treatment

  • Submerge the burned area in cold water for pain relief.
  • Apply a sterile, breathable dressing.
  • This type of burn may or may not require professional medical help.

Second Degree Burns

Second degree burns—like first degree burns—can be caused by severe sunburn contact with hot liquids, or can result from contact with dangerous materials like gasoline. They affect the outer layer of skin and may penetrate deeper, beneath the skin's surface. The skin usually blisters.

First aid treatment

  • Apply cold water as you would for a first degree burn, or cover the burn with a cold/wet dressing.
  • Do not pop any blisters.
  • Do not use ointments, or antiseptics unless prescribed by a doctor.
  • Seek professional medical help.

Third Degree Burns

Contact with flames, various chemicals or electricity are likely to cause third degree burns. These penetrate both layers of skin and are very serious. In fact, they can even be life threatening.

First aid treatment

  • If it's an electrical burn, do not touch the victim. Check for signs of shock.
  • When possible, elevate the burned area above the heart.
  • If clothing is on fire, drop and roll the victim to extinguish the flames.
  • Cover burned area with a sterile dressing.
  • Do not use cold water, ointments, antiseptics etc.
  • Seek professional medical help immediately.

With all burns, the location of the injury may affect it's severity, the type of treatment needed and the time it takes to heal. All burns–regardless of severity– also have the potential to cause infection. Follow any after care instructions carefully and consistently, and insure that anything that comes into contact with the burn is sterile. And NEVER treat a burn with ice, as this could cause further damage to the fragile tissue.

Please contact your Redwoods consultant for more information.

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