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Big Increase in Injury Claims for Scalds and Burns at Work

Posted: November 7th, 2013

Figures released by the Injuries Board in a press release have shown a big increase in injury claims for scalds and burns at work in Ireland

The increase is described as “worrying” by the Director of Corporate Services at the Injuries Board – Stephen Watkins – who, in the press release, compares figures from 2011 – in which there were 28 accepted Injuries Board assessments in respect of claims for burn and scald accidents at work – and 2012, in which the number of accepted assessments had increased to 42 (1).

The press release showed that assessments with a total value of €1.33 million were accepted by plaintiffs during 2011/12 and that the average compensation award was €19,066. Mr Watkins also listed some of the most frequent causes of accidents at work which resulted in burn and scald injuries:

  • Splashes from hot liquids
  • Burns from overflowing boiling water
  • Burns from chemicals and acids
  • Scalds from faulty electrical equipment
  • Burns from clothes setting alight due to being too close to a source of heat

The highest single award of compensation for scalds and burns at work within the two-year period amounted to €106,949 and was made to an employee of a chemical company who suffered severe burns in an acid spill (2), and the highest volume of injury claims for scalds and burns at work were made by people working as cleaning staff and in the catering trade (3).

Mr Watkins urged employers to put safety procedures in place to avoid scald and burn injuries in the workplace and asked employees to be aware of the safety guidelines and be extra vigilant when working with hot liquids and hazardous chemicals.

(1) In 2012, the percentage of Injuries Board assessments accepted by plaintiffs decreased from 37.2 percent to 32.7 percent. This would suggest that there may have been a further eighty or more injury claims for scalds and burns at work which were settled other than through the Injuries Board process.

(2) In the 2012 “Summary of Workplace Injuries” (published by the Health and Safety Authority) statistics revealed that female workers are three times more likely to be scalded or burned in the workplace due to the higher percentage of females employed in cleaning and catering.

(3) Earlier this year, the Health and Safety Authority published the results of their “Chemicals Usage Survey”, which showed that 67 percent of companies who use chemicals in the workplace did not have a formal training program in place to advise employees on how to avoid chemical burns.

Categories: Work Injury News

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