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How to Treat Burns & Scalds – A Workplace Guide

Every employer has a duty to assess the potential risks and hazards in their business in order to ensure the welfare of their staff, they should also consider members of the public using their venues or sites when carrying out these assessments.

These will naturally differ depending on what the business does and the environment employees are expected to work in. In this post, we will focus on how to prevent and treat burns.

Where are burns likely to occur?

The risk of burns is evidently greater in environments such as kitchens and factories, where the appliances and machines used will naturally be hot. However, they can also occur in less obvious workplaces, such as:

  • Areas with a hot drinks dispensers
  • Mobile catering locations
  • Forest schools cooking sessions
  • Expedition camps, such as Duke of Edinburgh’s
  • Remote area operations such as Forestry operations or Fish Farming.

All of these potential hazards must be taken into account when carrying out health and safety assessments.

What should you do next?

Prevention

You can guard against burn hazards by training all staff how to use their equipment safely.  There should be clear processes in place for all new starters to be shown how equipment works, while you may also wish for a more experienced staff member supervise them when they first use the items in question.

Our health and safety courses are a useful starting point to teach your employees about the importance of safe, consistent processes, particularly when it comes to working in environments where they will be exposed to high temperatures.

The fire safety procedures for your premises should also be a key concern. It is a legal requirement that you inform all employees of what to do in the event of a fire.

A lot of this is basic knowledge that most of us will know, such as not using lifts or stopping to collect belongings during an evacuation. However, every work environment is different and you will want to ensure you have covered everything in detail. Our fire safety courses are an excellent starting point, particularly if you are new to running a business and want to make sure you have got everything covered.

Equipment & Training

Your business will also have a first aid kit on site, and as part of your risk assessment you should consider what this kit will contain and you can consider holding a HSE Burns First Aid Kit also if your needs assessment indicates this.

The HSE state what level of training your are required to provide to your workplace first aiders. We offer a range of fully compliant and regulated first aid courses.

Treatment

The accepted guidance is to cool a burn under clean running water and dress with cling film once cooled and then placing a water based burns dressing over this and securing this in place with a non-conforming bandage and then evacuating in the appropriate manner for further medical treatments.

West Midlands Ambulance Service have produced an excellent film demonstrating what our trainers teach on our first aid courses for the treatment of burns in the workplace.  Be sure to seek medical advice where necessary and record all incidents and treatments in-line with RIDDOR.

It is best to avoid touching the burn at all if possible. This includes not popping or squeezing any blisters, not applying cream to the affected area and not peeling off any material that has stuck to the skin. Having disposable gloves in your first aid kit will make this easier.

Simply carry out the two steps above and seek further medical assistance if the injury appears to be more serious. This is particularly important if the burns cover a large area of the victim’s body, or if it affects areas such as the face, hands, feet or genitals.

Get more advice

If you’d like us to help you ensure your business is fully protected against burn hazards and is prepared to deal with any accidents, get in touch today and ask us about the courses we offer.

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