First Aid for Chemical Burns on the Job – What To Do & How To Stay Safe

Chemical burns can cause permanent injuries, disfigurement, loss of income, and excruciating pain.

Chemical burns cause about 3% of the 486,000 burns that happen each year in the US. And while they are not as common as scalds or burns caused by fire, chemical burns can cause serious and long-lasting health effects, painful injuries, and disfigurement.

chemical plant

Anyone who works with caustic and dangerous chemicals can be at risk of chemical burns. This can include mechanics, construction workers, lab technicians, maintenance workers, and more. 

Workers need to understand what to do if chemicals burn someone on the job. Let’s discuss a few general steps to take if someone is burned at your job or work site.

First Aid for Chemical Burns – What To Do After an Incident

There are a few basic steps that authorities recommend you take immediately if someone experiences a chemical burn. 

  • Call 911 immediately if the incident looks serious. If the burn is larger than 3 inches, is very deep, or is affecting the hands, feet, groin, buttocks, or face, call 911 immediately to contact EMS.
  • Rinse the area with water to flush the chemicals away. Rinsing the area with water is the best way to flush the chemicals. Use cool running water and rinse the area for at least 10-20 minutes.
  • Remove all contaminated clothing or jewelry. If the chemicals have gotten on any clothing or jewelry articles, remove them immediately to prevent the chemicals from seeping onto the skin.
  • Lightly bandage the burned skin – If EMS has not yet arrived after the chemical burn has been flushed, you can cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage. Do not cover the burn unless a sterile bandage is available. 

Preventing Chemical Burns at Work – Safety Tips

If you regularly handle or work with caustic and dangerous chemicals at your workplace, there are a few steps you and your employer need to take to prevent chemical burns. 

  • Train employees and supervisors in Hazard Communication training, which goes over the symbols and labels used to denote hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
  • Be aware of dangerous chemicals and where they are at all times during use.
  • Handle chemicals with care at all times and store them properly and in a safe environment.
  • Wear proper protective equipment (gloves, masks, and protective apparel) when working with these chemicals.

Injured on the Job in Missouri?

Chemical burns can cause permanent injuries, disfigurement, loss of income, and excruciating pain. If you have been injured on the job and need help understanding your rights to workers’ compensation and other benefits, the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann is here for you. Contact us online for a free case review.

Speak With a Workers Comp Attorney

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Updated: March 24, 2021