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The many risks of chemical burns and how they affect work

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2019 | Workers' Compensation

Working in an industrial facility, a manufacturing position, a salon/barbershop or even in certain kinds of restaurants could result in exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals. Most employers who use hazardous materials as part of their standard workflow have special equipment and safety precautions in place to protect their staff from injury and their business from liability.

However, no matter how careful workers and employers are, the potential always exists for something to go wrong and an injury to occur. Chemical burns can have a profound and lasting impact on someone’s life, depending on the severity of the burns and the kind of work that an individual has long performed.

Many kinds of chemicals can cause serious burns

When you think of chemical burns, you may conjure to mind images of people working with battery acid or similarly corrosive compounds. While it is true that acids do often play a role in burns, they are not the only source of chemical burns in the workplace. Basic compounds, which have a very high pH, as opposed to the low pH of acids, can also cause chemical burns.

Solvents and other compounds may burn the skin, eyes or mucous membranes upon exposure. Cleaning agents like bleach and ammonia also carry a risk of chemical burn. The severity of the injuries that someone suffers will depend on the location of the burn, the strength of the chemical, the condition of the skin or tissue the compound touches, and the overall health of the person.

Chemical burns can cause lasting pain, blindness and other symptoms

When someone experiences a chemical burn, it can take some time to neutralize the immediate effects of the chemicals. After that, the victim will likely suffer extreme pain around the area of the burn, although numbness and shock are also possible consequences of severe chemical burns.

Severe chemical burns may also cause damage to the nerves in the affected area, which can be particularly dangerous for those who have chemical burns on their hands. Future work efforts may become more difficult as a result of injuries to the hands that limit strength, range of motion or flexibility. Chemical burns to the face can be permanently disfiguring, as well as potentially blinding the victim.

The more severe the burn, the more likely it is to produce lasting consequences that limit your future employment opportunities. Thankfully, workers’ compensation benefits are available to those who get hurt through the handling of chemicals in their workplace. You can claim disability benefits while you are unable to work, as well as medical benefits that will connect you with trauma care and rehabilitation services that can help you get back to work after your burns.