Claims for Burn Injuries at Work Rise by Fifty Percent
Figures published in an Injuries Board fact sheet have revealed that claims for burn injuries at work have risen by 50 percent in the last year
According to Stephen Watkins – the Director of Corporate Services at the Injuries Board who compiled the fact sheet – compensation claims for burn injuries at work (which were submitted to the Injuries Board and the subsequent assessment accepted) increased from 28 in 2011 to 42 in 2012 (1).
Describing the 50 percent increase in claims for burn injuries at work as “worrying”, Mr Watkins wrote that €1.33 million had been awarded in compensation for burn injuries at work over the two years – adding that, during that period the average injury award had been €19,066.
The Injuries Board fact sheet also contained a selection of the most frequent reasons why burn injuries occur in the workplace:
- Overflowing hot or boiling water
- Burns from acids and chemicals
- Electrical burns from faulty equipment
- Clothes too close to a hear source catching fire
- Burns due to splashes from hot sauces and liquids
The highest-value award of compensation for burn injuries at work (€106,949) was awarded to a chemical worker who had been badly injured in an accident involving an acid spill, but Mr Watkins stated in the fact sheet that the highest volume of claims for burn injuries at work were made by people working more with hot water – such as cleaners and kitchen staff (2).
Mr Watkins was keen not to dismiss other potential hazards in the workplace which could cause a burn injury – noting that tasks as apparently straightforward as making a hot drink could result in injury when safety precautions were ignored – and he urged employers to ensure that all safety precautions were taken to prevent burn injuries in the workplace.
Footnote (1) in 2012, the percentage of accepted assessments made by the Injuries Board fell from 37.2 percent to 32.7 percent – implying that there may have been a further 80+ workplace burn injury claims in Ireland that were settled outside of the Injuries Board process.
Footnote (2) Because of the higher percentage of women working as cleaners and kitchen staff, female employees are three times more likely to sustain burn injuries at work (source “Summary of Workplace Injuries” published by the Health and Safety Authority).