Working in laboratories exposes employees or university students to an array of potential risks, one of which includes accidental injuries in the form of chemical burns. Rated as being among the most common injuries in laboratory environments, chemical burns can have significant after effects and may require prolonged secondary care or surgical interventions. In some cases, the effects of chemicals coming into contact with employees’ or students’ skin or eyes can even be fatal.
Causes of accidents at work involving chemical burns
All too often, accidental chemical burns are the direct result of inadequate training, ignorance of safety regulations and precautions, or simple carelessness. This may include handling of chemicals without adequate protective clothing or equipment; carelessness resulting in splashes, or spills not being cleared immediately.
Inorganic and organic chemicals in work accidents
A great deal of inorganic chemicals, like mineral acids, alkalis and many others, for instance, are highly corrosive to skin and eyes. Organic chemicals, such as, for example, phenols, acid halides and so forth, can also be corrosive, as well as being highly toxic. Obviously, working with substances like this further heightens the risk of injuries at work.
In essence, such materials have irritant or corrosive properties that react with the eyes or skin, resulting in partial or complete destruction or modification of molecules, cells, or the structure of eyes and skin. The severity of chemical burns depends partly on the concentration of the offending chemical, its temperature, and the amount of time it is allowed to remain in contact, making immediate first aid a must.
Dermatitis and other allergic reactions
Work injuries caused by chemicals are, however, not restricted to the corrosive effects of chemicals. The toxicity of chemicals in itself can also have serious consequences when such materials are absorbed into the skin or eyes. Even non-corrosive organic chemicals that show no immediate effects can result in serious allergic reactions, dermatitis, and other effects, especially if contact is prolonged or generates a build-up of toxins through repeated exposure.
Claiming for work injury compensation
If you suffered chemical burns or other work-related injuries during the last three years, you may be entitled to claim industrial injury compensation. Making a completely confidential call to Accident Advice Helpline can assist in determining whether a claim is justified, and provide you with expert legal advice and assistance throughout the ensuing claim procedure on a no win no fee basis. To discuss your claim with a member of our expert team dial 0800 689 0500 now.
Date Published: January 2, 2014
Author: David Brown