Burn injuries at work – how common are they?

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) include burn injuries in a statistical category that also contains injuries arising from explosions, electricity and drowning, but as explosions and electrical injuries almost always cause burns we can still get a good ‘ball park’ idea of the how common burn injuries are. The HSE statistic for 2010-11 reveal that one in every seven workplace fatalities fell into the ‘burns injuries’ category – a remarkably high proportion. However, for the non-fatal ‘burns injuries’ the proportion was one in a hundred workplace injuries. However low a proportion you think that might be, when you consider that the HSE approximated that 591000 non-fatal workplace accidents occurred 2010-11, that means that the number of non-fatal ‘burns injuries’ was nearly 6000. Not a negligible figure at all, especially bearing in mind that some of those ‘non-fatal’ injuries would have been acute and permanently life changing.

The difference between the fatal and non-fatal burn injuries proportions might appear suspiciously extreme at first glance until we investigate some research into burn injuries in the workplace, based on two year retrospective data, carried out in Georgia, USA five years ago and published last year. The statistical findings were:

• 15% of burns injuries presenting at hospital occurred in the workplace (as compared to the 25% reported by the HSE in the UK).

• 90% of the victims were male.

• 1% died as a result of their burns.

• The average age of the victims was 37 years

• The average length of stay in hospital was 5½ days.

• 29% worked in industry.

• 15% in food outlets.

• 15% in the electricity industry or electrical goods stores

• 13% in the automotive sector.

Those victims working in industry suffered the most severe burns averaging up to 60% of total body surface area (TBSA) and those working in food outlets the least serious burns averaging below 5% TBSA.

When it is considered that 20% TBSA is considered a major burn it begins to become clearer why the proportion of fatal burns injuries to other fatal injuries in the HSE statistics is so shockingly high. The statistics from the American study appear to suggest that if you do suffer a workplace burns injury, you are more likely to be working in industry than any other sector and your injuries are likely to be more severe than those burns injuries suffered by individuals working in any other sector and your chances of dying from those injuries subsequently higher.

If you have suffered a burn injury at work that was not your fault, you might have grounds for a compensation claim.

Contact our specialist personal injury solicitors for free advice

Our team will advise you on whether you have a claim, and provide your claim is strong enough, will sign you up to a no win no fee agreement, so you don’t have to worry about paying legal costs.

Wherever you live in England and Wales – our personal injury solicitors can help – home and hospital visits are also available for clients in Wiltshire, Hampshire, and Dorset for those unable to travel.