Nothing hurts worse than a burn, no matter how small it is. Whether you cook in a restaurant, work around electricity, or do many other jobs that involve the possibility of getting burned, it is important most of all to avoid such an accident, but in the event that it happens, know how to render first aid. OSHA requires that companies must provide a person or persons adequately trained in first aid for work sites that are not in near proximity to a clinic, infirmary or hospital. Companies should also furnish the proper first aid supplies and first aid training for all types of emergencies.
Properly trained workers are able to assess the severity of the burn, and know if it is thermal, electrical, or chemical. Simple first aid is usually enough to treat first and some second degree burns. However, in more serious burns, such as third degree burns, the first responder should know how to care for them until medical assistance arrives.
- First-degree burns are burns on the first layer of skin, and easily identifiable. They are usually minor, more uncomfortable than serious. In treating first or second degree burns, use cold water or cool compresses to reduce swelling, and cover with clean, dry dressing. Don’t use ice, lotion, or ointment. The use of butter or ointments may prevent healing, and ice can further damage the skin.
- Second-degree burns have reddening of the skin and possible blistering. Over-the-counter pain medications may be given.
- Third-degree burns are deeper, where the skin is charred, and the tissue underneath may appear white. Deeper burns are serious and the risk of infection is increased. Call emergency personnel immediately, lay the person down, and elevate severely burned limbs. Cut away clothing if necessary, but do not try to remove clothing that is stuck to the burn.
Our homes are not immune to burn-related accidents, either, so it is important that we all exercise caution when cooking, preparing delicious foods on the grill, or doing many other chores that involve heat. Keep a first aid kit in your home and know where one is at your workplace. Prevention and preparedness are the keys to staying safe from misfortune.