Contact with heat, chemicals, electricity and
radiation (Sun or nuclear) can cause a work related
burn to a worker. Burns from heat should be
immediately immersed in cool water to cool the
Thermal burns can be classed in one of three
- First degree burns are minor burns resulting in
some redness and pain to the affected area.
- Second degree burns exhibit an additional symptom
of blistering to the skin
- Third degree burns include charring of the skin
and the eventual formation of scabs called eschars
Some burns that are so severe that muscle or bone
tissue has been involved are sometimes called fourth
degree burns. Burns covering large areas of the
body can be life threatening. Severe burns
should be treated in a specialized burn center.
Any time hot gases or smoke inhalation is suspected of
burning the lungs, it should be treated as an
immediate medical emergency.
Chemical burns can result when unprotected skin
comes in contact with volatile chemicals such as
sulfuric acid and other compounds. Caustic
chemicals are those that can cause burns when they
come into contact with the skin. When a caustic
chemical contacts the skin it should be immediately
washed off to prevent further damage to the skin.
Electrical burns occur as a result of coming into
contact with high voltage power lines or by being
struck by lightening. In addition to the burns,
the patient will need immediate emergency medical
treatment for electrocution.
Radiation burns can result from over exposure to
the Sun or exposure to certain radioactive substances.
Sunburns can range from a mild redness to a
blistering, painful, dehabilitating burn. In
extremely severe sunburns, medical help should be
sought. Radiation burns can be a work related
injury resulting from exposure to radioactive
materials and are extremely rare and serious.
Symptoms of radiation poisoning will precede the
appearance of the radiation burns. Medical help
and hospitalization are necessary for exposure to