Burns involve tissue damage from chemicals, fires, electricity, sunlight, radiation, or hot items. Burns are common in the workplace, accounting for up to 45% of all burn injuries and over 40% of burn deaths. The American Burn Association (ABA) reports that in 2011, there were 486,000 burn injuries in the United States requiring medical treatment. 

Burns may damage a person’s skin or eyes. Burn symptoms vary, depending on their severity. Those with first-degree burns may experience pain, as well as redness and swelling on the outer layer of skin. Second-degree burns go deeper than the top layer, affecting the underlying layer. In addition to the symptoms of first-degree burns, second-degree burns may also blister. Third- and fourth-degree burns are significant and are known as full-thickness burns because they affect all layers of skin. Fourth-degree burns may also damage muscle and bone and destroy nerve endings. 

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People may receive burns at home, in vehicles, during recreational pursuits, or while working. Workplace burn injuries frequently occur in industries involving fire, heated objects, chemicals, or electricity. 

What are Some of the Leading Causes of Burn Injuries in the Workplace?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine reports that the following are the most common types of workplace burns:

  • Chemical burns 
  • Electrical burns 
  • Thermal burns 

Contact with chemicals, electricity, and hot objects accounted for these burns. The primary causes of workplace burns included explosions and inadequate safety protocols. 

Most Common Industries Where Burn Injuries Occur

Onsite cooking is the most common cause of fires in office buildings and stores. Other common causes of workplace burns include defective equipment or wiring. These causes can impact any workplace; however, professionals in specific industries are more likely to suffer burns because they use chemicals, work with electricity, or work with or near hot objects. Industries where burn injuries commonly occur include the following:

  • Construction industry. Workers in the construction industry include brick masons and roofers.
  • Electricity industry. The electrical industry includes electricians, power plant operators, and electrical line workers.
  • Firefighting industry. This field includes community firefighters, forest firefighters, and aerial firefighters.
  • Foodservice industry. Chefs, bakers, and foodservice professionals make up the food service industry.
  • Landscape architecture industry. The landscape architecture industry includes landscapers and groundskeepers who spend hours in the sun daily.
  • Manufacturing industry. Professionals in this industry include welders and industrial plant workers.
  • Mining industry. Miners, engineers, and drilling site managers are some of the professionals in this field.
  • Transportation industry. Mechanics and truck operators may come in contact with heated mechanical parts.

What to Do if You Suffer a Burn Injury at Work

It’s crucial that you address any workplace injury immediately. If you suffer a workplace burn injury, you should take the following steps:

  1. Notify your supervisor or employer. Filing a workers comp burn injury claim begins with notifying management. 
  2. Seek medical treatment. You’ll need a medical diagnosis to qualify for workers comp for burns. You should see a medical professional to ensure you understand the type of burn you have and receive appropriate care.
  3. Document your injury. Gather evidence from witnesses and accident reports. Your documentation should include medical test results, doctor’s notes, and medical bills related to your workplace burn injury.
  4. File a claim. Fill out a workers’ compensation insurance claim. 
  5. Seek a free case evaluation from a workers’ compensation attorney. Although workers’ compensation covers lost wages and medical bills, it may not cover all expenses from your injuries. Get a free consultation from a burn injury attorney to find out if you have grounds to sue for additional compensation.
  6. Hire a catastrophic injury attorney. Your attorney will ensure that you understand your rights and take the steps required to receive total compensation for workplace injuries.
  7. Maintain records. Continue to document symptoms, medical expenses, and any personal expenses related to your injuries.
  8. Settle or go to court. Your workers’ compensation attorney may negotiate a settlement out of court or present evidence at trial to get you the compensation you deserve.

Can You Sue for a Burn Injury?

Multiple factors determine whether you can sue your employer for a workplace burn injury. Some states limit employees to workers’ compensation and prohibit them from filing lawsuits; however, you may need to take legal action against workers’ compensation if they deny your claim. 

You may also have grounds to sue a third party if their actions caused or contributed to your injuries. Suppose an intoxicated motorist slammed into the work vehicle you were driving. The accident started a fire, and you received burn injuries. Depending on state laws, you may have grounds to sue the at-fault driver. You may also have grounds to seek disability if you suffer severe burns that prevent you from returning to work.

Our experienced legal team will explain your options and the potential compensation you could receive if you pursue a lawsuit. When you hire our team, you won’t face any step of the legal process alone. We’ll handle the paperwork, investigate your accident, and keep you informed while we fight for you to receive fair compensation.


Burn Incidents and Treatment in the United States: 2016. (2016). 
Mian, M.A.H. et al. (2011). Workplace-related burns
Workplace Safety. (2022).