If you suffer a burn injury during the course of your employment you may be able to make a personal injury claim against your employer.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 explain that employers have a duty to ensure that all workers are able to carry out their work in a safe environment, this includes protecting them against the risk of burns. The employer should also provide personal protective equipment where appropriate to protect you from the risk of burning yourself. In addition, a proper risk assessment must be carried out in relation to the dangers in your workplace.
The Health and Safety Executive must be informed of any burn or scald which covers more than 10% of the person’s body or that causes significant damage to the eyes, lungs or any other vital organs.
In most cases, claims succeed if employer’s negligence can be proven. Examples of such negligence are:
- The employee was not adequately trained to use the tools or machinery that they are asked to use and burn themselves as a result.
- The tools and machinery that the employee is tasked with using are not fit for purpose and the employee consequently burns themselves.
- Faulty tools are not removed from use and are not repaired, as a result an employee burns themselves.
- Dangerous chemicals are not handled in compliance with the ‘Controls of Substances Hazardous to Health’ (COSSH) guidelines, and chemicals are not stored and controlled accordingly.
Burn injuries can be caused by fire, electricity, chemicals, contact with hot substances and surfaces or exposure to radiation. An employee is entitled to make a claim for compensation if they suffer a burn in the above or similar circumstances.
When we lodge personal injury claims we ingather evidence of your losses. These will often come under the below headings:
- Permanent scarring – burns can affect the deeper tissues of the body and leave permeant scarring.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder – sadly burns and the way one contracted them can leave a lasting psychological impact on the individual affected.
- Loss of earnings – when accidents happen it is often the case that employees take time off work to recover from their symptoms.
- Services – burn victims are often uncomfortable and unable to move as a result of their injuries. They may require assistance with everyday tasks such as dressing, washing and housework as a result of their accident. This can be included as a potential head of claim.
- Disadvantage on the open labour market – burns can cause significant facial impairment and if in customer facing employment you may suffer a disadvantage on the open labour market as a result of the scarring from your burn.
- Future treatment – sometimes burns take a long time to heal. In some extreme cases they require future treatment like surgery etc.
Burns are classified depending on how deeply they penetrate the skin:
- First degree burns damage the top layer of skin only (the epidermis). They will be red and blotchy, but not blistered, and pain should soon subside.
- Second degree burns also damage the second layer of skin (the dermis). The injury will turn red and blister.
- Third-degree burns are the most serious and reach the third, final layer of skin (the hypodermis). They take a long time to heal and cause permanent scarring, possibly requiring skin grafts.
Levels of compensation vary according to the severity of a burn and its long-term impact on the individual’s life. Therefore, one of the first steps in making a claim is to get a medical assessment of the injury. We will arrange this for you.
In support of your injury it is important to make sure the accident was reported to your supervisor, that it was added to your employer’s accident book and that if anybody seen the accident happen you obtain their contact details so that statements may be taken from them at a later date.
It is important to note that you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim for personal injury. It is therefore important that you seek help from solicitors as soon as possible to avoid any time limits on your claim.
How we can help
If you think you may have a claim following psychological injuries as a result of an accident at work, please contact us to discuss the matter on 0800 988 8082 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you right away.