Workplace injuries in the construction industry are not exclusive due to just falls, machinery accidents and repetitive trauma. Injuries from burns also qualify for workers' compensation claims. Burns can lead to permanent disability and multiple surgeries to reduce scarring and improve mobility. They also can cause psychological damage from experiencing the accident and facing the resulting disfigurement, creating the need to see a mental health professional. Knowing the different types of burns can help you become aware of risks so you can prevent injury.
The most obvious source of burns is from exposure to extreme heat, and the resulting injury is called a thermal contact burn. It happens when you have contact with overheated equipment, a hot substance, steam or fire. The damage it does to your body comes in three degrees of severity.
Construction workers are at high risk for electrical injuries. When you receive a shock, electric current flows through your body like a circuit and generates heat that causes the burn. If the amount of electricity flowing through you reaches a lethal level, it is electrocution. An additional cause of burns is from faulty electrical equipment leading to fires or explosions.
Arc flash or blast
Another form of electrical burn is an arc flash, which creates an intense flash of light and radiates extreme heat, with temperatures recorded as reaching above 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also produce a pressure or sound blast. An arc flash may happen due to the following:
- Dropped tools
- Corrosion and dust
- Accidental touching
Sometimes the flash can be spontaneous. How severe the burn can be depends on how hot the flash is, how close you are to it and how long it takes for the circuit to break.
Some of the chemicals you work with in the construction industry may burn you upon contact. It can lead to shock and fainting. The severity of the burn depends on where it is located on your body, how large the burned area is and how much skin it penetrates.
No matter the type of construction burn you receive, it can result in lifelong, debilitating physical problems that warrant the hiring of a Des Moines attorney experienced in construction injuries. A lawyer can help determine if you have a workers' compensation case against the construction company you work for. You may be able to receive a financial reward from a settlement or trial to help you pay for medical expenses and loss of income.