What Does Chemical Burn Mean?
A chemical burn is a type of burning of the skin, eyes, or any other vulnerable areas due to exposure to corrosive and caustic compounds. Chemical burns are common in manufacturing units and laboratories, and they can include both second-degree and third-degree burns.
Second-degree burns involve partial loss of tissue including the outer layer of skin. Pain, redness, swelling, and blisters are the common symptoms of second-degree burns. Third-degree chemical burns can destroy the inner layer of skin and may cause damage to the bones and muscles. These burns are painless, as the nerve endings have been burnt.
Safeopedia Explains Chemical Burn
Chemical burns can be avoided if organizations follow safety measures strictly. There are several factors that influence chemical burns: chemical ingredients, workplace ventilation, and splashes and spills. Additional training, safer work practices, and improved cleaning methods can help prevent these burns.
Worker Training—According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers must be trained in safely handling hazardous chemicals before they are given a cleaning task. They must be aware of the health hazards of cleaning chemicals and must be educated regarding how to dilute a chemical and how to handle spills. Workers must also be allowed to use personal protective equipment (PPE) while dealing with harmful chemicals.
Safe Practices—Employers should take responsibility for worker safety. They must ensure that workers understand which chemicals can be safely mixed and which cannot, and personnel must learn the exact ratio of a chemical required for dilution. Workers should be monitored while performing a cleaning-chemical procedure, and they should be further trained if they are observed to be careless or inaccurate. All containers of cleaning chemicals must be labeled to identify the ingredients and hazards, and the containers must have lids to prevent splashes and spills. The workplace must also contain proper ventilation to let out fumes and gases that wreak havoc on the health of workers.
Better Ways of Cleaning—Employers should encourage the use of modern cleaning practices to minimize the risk of chemical burns. Cleaning equipment such as microfiber mops, pads, dusters, and cloths should be used. A workplace should be regularly cleaned to make sure no debris, dust, or vapor is trapped inside.
If a worker becomes the victim of a severe chemical burn, it's necessary to call for emergency services immediately.