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Burn Injuries at Work

Being burned is among the most serious and painful types of injuries suffered by workers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While many think of fire as the most common cause of burn injuries, severe burns can also be caused by exposure to extreme heat, hazardous chemicals, electricity, friction, and radiation. There are also what are known as cold temperature burns caused by exposure to cold, wet, or windy conditions and some dangerous chemicals. A cold burn is just as serious as one caused by a heat source and are more common in areas like Boston that have extremely cold winters.

Burns injuries are classified based upon degrees. A first-degree burn is the least serious of burn injuries and affects only the first layer of skin. Second-degree burns are more serious and can be either a superficial partial-thickness burn affecting the first and second layer of skin or deep partial-thickness burns affecting more layers of skin. Third-degree burns are extremely serious and involve damage to all layers and skin and tissue beneath the skin. Third-degree burns are considered full-thickness and require immediate medical attention. There are also fourth-degree burns that involve burn damage to ligaments, tendons, muscle and bone.

According to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency that oversees workplace safety, electrical burns can have additional dangerous effects, such as shock-related injury that can lead to internal injuries like organ damage and involuntary muscle contractions. Shock-related workplace injury can result in hemorrhaging, tissue destruction, and nerve damage.

As the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffery S. Glass, LLC know, burn injuries are among the most complex work injury cases a law firm can handle. In some cases, the injuries may prove fatal. Even if a worker survives a third or fourth-degree burn, there is an extreme risk for developing a fatal infection, because the protective layer of skin has been destroyed. If an on-the-job burn accident results in a workers’ death, the surviving spouse or other family member will need to apply for workers’ compensation death benefits.

Workers’ compensation death benefits in Massachusetts can include payment for medical bills associated with the fatal injury, funeral bills, and lost wages for money the employee would have earned had it not been for the fatal burn accident.

Medical bills are likely to be very high in the case of a workplace burn injury. Treating a serious burn involves extensive surgical intervention, sterilization of the wounds, and, often, skin grafting. There is also a lengthy recovery time in which the injured worker must remain in the hospital in a sterile environment to prevent deadly infection.

If you are burned at work, you should report the injury to your employer immediately and seek prompt medical attention. Even burns that seem less serious can result in nerve damage or become infected. It is also helpful to take pictures of your injury if you can safely do so. This will help your Boston workers’ compensation attorney when he or she is filing your claim for benefits.

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