Burns Safety Toolbox Talk

Inform your crews about the different types burn hazards on a construction site and how to avoid being burnt.

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Burns Safety Talk

Construction can be a very rewarding career. However, there are risks involved. Construction work is, by nature, much more dangerous than an office job or a job in retail. That’s why it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your co-workers. One of the risks posed by construction work is burns. Burns can happen all too often, unfortunately. In fact, there are over 40,000 hospitalizations each year due to burns. A large number of these coming from burns at the workplace.

The Different Types of Burns

To better understand the risk of burns you must first understand burns. It isn’t as simple as touching something that’s hot. That is a way to burn yourself, but there are many others. Some of these can be easily avoidable. Better understanding the three main types of burn injuries can help you avoid them or spot them in case of emergency. Here are the three different types of burns:

  • Thermal- Thermal burns are what most people think of first when burns are mentioned. These burns occur due to contact with a hot surface, fire, hot liquids, or an explosion. Sunburn could be considered a separate type of burn, but we will consider it a thermal burn as well.
  • Chemical- Chemical burns result from skin or eye contact with a strong acid, corrosive, caustic, or alkaloid. Many of the chemicals used in different processes at many job sites can result in a chemical burn injury. Some common household products can also produce severe chemical burn if not handled correctly.
  • Electrical burns- Electrical burns occur where an electrical current has passed through the body. When the current travels through the body, the tissue gives it resistance which results in burns. These burns can be both inside and outside of the body. Usually where the burns are on the outside of the body will tell where the electrical current entered and exited the body.
  • How to Avoid these Burns

    Now that you are aware of the different types of burns, the next step is learning how to avoid these risks. Like with most other work-related risks, the best way to avoid them is by staying vigilant. Paying attention and being aware of your surroundings greatly lowers the risk of suffering from burn injuries. Here are some burn prevention tips to help keep you and your co-workers safe:

  • Thermal- The best way to reduce your chances of suffering from a thermal burn is to eliminate the source of the heat if possible. If there are pipes or other objects that heat up to dangerous temperatures, then it is important to place guards or barriers on them to protect individuals from being burned. The last line of defense would be to use proper PPE that will protect you from being burned by a hot object or material.
  • Chemical- Eliminate the use of dangerous chemicals whenever possible. Substitute a chemical that burns the skin quickly with one that does not burn as easily. Block areas or processes that have the chance to expose individuals to hazardous chemicals. Have emergency showers or eyewash stations available for immediate use if exposed to a chemical.
  • Electrical- Safe work practices are needed to work safely around electricity. Locate and stay away from both underground and overhead powerlines. Inspect all tools for defects in insulation as well as missing ground prongs. Properly repair or discard any compromised cords. Do not operate electrical tools in moist or wet environments. Always properly lock and tag out equipment before performing your work on them. Try to turn equipment on to ensure no power is still being given to it. The last line of defense is to wear PPE that protects you from electrical current.
  • The best way to avoid burns is by keeping the workplace informed. Make sure everyone on site knows the potential risk and is aware of the steps they can take to lower the chances of an accident. By doing this, you can prevent emergencies from happening altogether. By ensuring everyone on site is aware of the risks, you can also ensure they know what to do in case of an emergency.

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