Avoiding a burn injury at work

Employers are legally obliged to undertake a risk assessment for all the processes within the workplace that present a potential hazard to their workforce. These risk assessments must detail the hazards, the risks to health/wellbeing they represent and the measures to be taken to remove or reduce those risks. The contents of risk assessments and standard operating procedures need to be thoroughly familiar to employees as part of their induction and on-going training. If this process is competently followed through from beginning to end, the risks to employees will be identified and where reasonably practicable, removed or ameliorated. The risks of burn injuries should obviously be covered by the above.

Over and above that, employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees come to no harm, physically or psychologically as a result of their employment and this duty encompasses the requirement to ensure that all staff are trained to safely use the equipment required to be operated in the course of their work and that that equipment is in good repair and safe to use. Employers must also make sure that their employees are aware of how to maintain a safe working environment and work without danger to themselves or others.

With regard to specifically avoiding burn injuries at work the following steps can be taken:

• Training workers in burn hazard awareness and reduction practices applicable to their workplace and duties.

• Employees remaining alert to burn hazards whilst working.

• Employees avoiding reaching through or over hot surfaces, areas, or corrosive chemicals.

• The use of personal protective equipment (PPE), e.g. gloves, goggles, aprons or overalls.

• Employees not undertaking tasks for which they haven’t been trained or which would place them in danger of being burned.

• Employees realising that steam can burn and some vapours can burn if inhaled.

• Only using correctly maintained and safe electrical equipment.

• Equipment with hot surfaces fitted with guards or warning signs.

• Keeping the workplace tidy so as to avoid slip, trip and fall hazards

If you have experienced a burn injury at your workplace caused by your employer failing to discharge his duty of care to keep you safe at work you might be entitled to claim compensation for your injury.

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