Many workplaces expose staff to an increased risk of burns. Even in organisations that would consider their risk low experience burn injuries from equipment such as kettles, hot cups of tea or ovens in their break rooms. Burns are painful damage to the tissue of the skin through heat, chemicals, the sun or electricity. Some can be minor injuries that only cause some discomfort, while other are life threatening injuries. We will explore how to identify the different levels of seriousness below.
Immediately following a burn you should run the injury under cold water for at least 20 minutes. When should you call an ambulance or seek medical professionals? That depends on the severity of the burn. These below points are guidelines.
- The burn is larger than a 20c piece
- The burn looks deep – regardless of whether the victim is in pain
- The injury is to the face, mouth, hands or genitals
- The victim is experiencing breathing difficulties
- The injury was caused by chemicals or an electric shock
- The burn contains brown, white or black botches or looks leathery
Burns can also be split into three levels of severity.
- A superficial burn affects the outer layer of skin. It may be blistered, red and painful
- A deep burn may be mottled red and white. It may be dark red or pale yellow. It will be painful and is often blistered.
- A full thickness burn reaches as far as the fat underneath the skin. It may look brown, black or white, and feel dry and leathery. A full thickness burn can destroy nerves so may not be painful
Once you have been running the injury under cold water for at least 20 minutes you should cover the burn. The bandages or padding you use must be light with no adhesive and from a material that is not fluffy. You should always have the first aid equipment to treat a burn. Our first aid kits contain all items you would likely need for minor burns – especially our kit specific for burns. If you do not have the recommended equipment you should use cling film. If the burn is to an extremity you can raise it above the heart to reduce swelling if possible.
You should avoid applying most lotions, ointments and ice to burns. Don’t touch the injury as this can increase infection. If something is stuck to the burn – do not attempt to remove it.
Most small burn injuries will heal themselves in in a week or two. For all other burns seek medical treatment for appropriate dressings and medical experience.
Want a quote on one of our first aid kits so that you have the items needed for treating a burns injury? Having the right first aid kit can reduce damage, start healing earlier and lower the pain from burns. Call us on 1800 992 135 or use our contact form.