In 2015, a 16-year-old in Australia working in a fast food restaurant sustained third-degree burns to 45% of his body after being splashed with hot oil. In August 2016, two workers were airlifted in critical condition to a burn unit in Seattle after suffering third-degree burns from trying to repair a pipe filled with superheated water. In December 2016, one person died and two more were treated at Augusta Burn Center in South Carolina from being burned with hot wax used to shape water bottles.
Burn accidents are all around us, and they’re not relegated to high-risk jobs around fire or oil. In 2016, days before President Obama was to visit Dallas, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had his feet and legs scalded with water on a family vacation, receiving second and third-degree burns.
Burns change the lives of victims and their families forever, and of the almost 500,000 burn incidents happening in the U.S. annually, OSHA reports that 5,000 happen at work and involve hospitalization. Burns can be among the most serious of all workplace injuries, and approximately 200 burn injuries are fatal. The American Burn Association (ABA) says that a civilian fire death occurs, on average, once every 2 hours and 41 minutes.
Burn Awareness Week
To spur on awareness, the ABA has proclaimed the first full week of February to be Burn Awareness Week, which in 2017 is February 5 - 11.
The purpose of Burn Awareness Week, according to the ABA "is to provide an opportunity for burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities.”
How Visual Communication Keeps Employees Safe from Fire, Burns
Employers can help prevent 5,000 workplace fire injuries annually through visual communication. To prepare workers for a workplace emergency:
- Have the company’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP) posted showing the evacuation routes throughout a workplace. Graphic Product’s Echo printer can scan and print large posters quickly and easily, up to size 36” x 46”
- Display lighted exit signs, as well as fire and egress signs at heights that make them visible in low light and smoke-filled atmospheres
- Apply phosphorescent or “glow” floor tape and glow-in-the-dark wall markings to lead employees out of fire zones and toward the closest exit in case smoke envelops a workplace. PathFinder floor marking, wayfinding, and safety tape by Graphic Products can warn, direct, and support employees in case of emergency.
- News Story: Human Fireball