If you suffer a scald injury at work, you could file a burn injury claim against your employer providing you can prove they were negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm in the workplace. The British Burns Association’s report established that about 250,000 people suffer some kind of burn injury every year with the majority involving scalds otherwise referred to as thermal injuries.
What Are the Most Common Causes of a Scald Injury at Work?
A lot of people who work in hospitals, other medical facilities and restaurants are more at risk of suffering a scald injury at work although you could suffer a minor burn in virtually any working environment where kettles are boiled. The most common causes of accidents at work that result in scald injuries are detailed below:
- Employers fail to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees which includes items like gloves and coveralls
- Employers fail to provide adequate training to employees when it comes to best practices on handling and managing hot liquids and steam
- Employers fail to erect adequate signage identifying all potential hazards involving hot liquids and other hot substances
- Employers fail to maintain equipment and machinery correctly which results in broken valves and leaks
It is worth noting that if you work in a health and social care facility and you sustain a scald injury, liability would fall to a relevant authority or manager/owner/operator who have the same responsibility as an employer to keep you safe from harm in a work environment.
If you handle and work on machinery/equipment that heats up chemicals and liquids to very high temperatures, you are more at risk of suffering a scald injury at work and the same can be said of employees who carry hot liquids. Employees who work in industrial work environments are also at greater risk of being scalded in an accident at work, should a pipe burst causing extremely hot steam to leak out.
If you work in a commercial kitchen, you are also more at risk of suffering a scald injury at work because you would be regularly be exposed to hot liquids which includes boiling water, steam and very hot cooking oil. Hairdresser and people who work in beauty salons are at greater risk of suffering a burn/scald injury.
According to Health and Safety Executive statistics, workers in the health and safety sector are also at risk of suffering burn/scald injuries because they regularly handle liquids which boast a temperature higher than 44 degree Celsius because of the need to control the risk of Legionella bacteria becoming a health problem.
What are Accidents at Work Statistics?
According to Health and Safety Executive statistics around 600,000 workers are injured in the workplace annually. Should you have suffered a scald injury at work, you could be entitled to file a claim for compensation providing you can prove your employer was negligent in the duty to keep you safe from harm in the working environment.
Who Would be Liable for My Scald Injury?
If your employer fails in their duty to keep you safe in the workplace and you suffer a burn injury, they could be held negligent and as such, you may be entitled to file a scald injury claim against them. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Act 1999 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers in the UK have a duty of care under the law to keep employees safe in the workplace. Employers must by law carry out regular risk assessments of working environments to identify all potential dangers and hazards employees have to face when carrying out normal daily tasks.
Once a hazard is identified, an employer must set in place measures to reduce the risk of employees being injured whilst at work. If an employer fails to carry out the necessary risk assessment and your suffer a scald injury at work for whatever reason through no fault of your own, you would have every right to file a personal injury claim against your employer and be awarded the level of compensation you right deserve.
What are the Symptoms of a Scald Injury?
Scalds and burn injuries can be extremely painful with the most common scald symptoms being as follows:
- White/charred looking skin
- The skin on an affected area begins peeling off
The majority of scald injuries are rated as being first degree burns which in short, means the burn affects the top layer of your skin. You can also sustain a second degree scald/burn which causes damage to deeper layers of both the dermis and the epidermis. Should you suffer a more severe scald injury which negatively impacts a large area of your skin, the damage may be permanent and you could be left with scars and even nerve damage.
How Do I Prove Employer Negligence in a Scald Injury at Work Claim?
You would need to prove employer or third party negligence if you suffered a burn/scald injury at work. You would also need to provide as much evidence of the incident and the injuries you sustained as possible for a scald injury claim against a negligent employer to be successful. The proof needed is as follows:
- Photographs of your injuries
- Medical reports of your scald injury
- The record of the incident that was written in the Accident Report Book – you should write down details of the accident and your injuries and send the information to your employer/operator/owner keeping a record for your own personal file if there is no Accident Report Book
- If possible, request a copy of your employer’s company Health and Safety records
- Take witness statements making sure you have all their contact details
- Photos of where the accident occurred to show damaged, leaking equipment/machinery or to show inadequate signage was erected displaying a hazard in the workplace
What Are My Rights Following a Scald Injury at Work?
As an employee you have specific “worker’s rights” following an accident at work that left you with a scald injury which are as follows:
- That an employer cannot sack you for filing a scald injury claim against them
- That an employer ensures that the working environment is safe for you to work in
- That you are awarded a level of compensation for the scald injury you sustained
Your employer must perform regular “risk assessments” of the working environment and when any dangers and hazards are identified, they must set in place measures to either put things right or control to lessen the risk of you being injured at work.
Can Anyone File a Scald Injury Claim Against an Employer?
Whether you work full-time, part-time, you are a temporary/agency worker, a contractor or you are self-employed and are carrying specific work for an employer, you have every right to file a scald injury claim against an employer providing you can prove that the accident that left you injured happened through no fault of your own but rather because of employer negligence.
What if a Work Colleague is Responsible for My Scald Injury?
If a work colleague was responsible for an incident at work that left you with a scald injury, you may still be entitled to file a claim for compensation against an employer because a court could rule they were responsible for the accident occurring and the burn injury you sustained. This is known as “vicarious liability”.
What if I am Partly or Fully Responsible for My Scald Injury?
Even if you were partly responsible for your scald injury at work, you could still be entitled to file a compensation claim against your employer. However, a court would factor in your level of responsibilities for the burn injuries you sustained when calculating the amount of compensation you may be awarded. This is referred to a “split liability” and an example of the amount you may be awarded in a successful scald injury claim is detailed below:
- If a court rules you have 25% responsibility for your scald injuries, you would be awarded 25% less compensation than if an employer was totally responsible for your injuries
How Is a Scald Injury at Work Claim Calculated?
A court would take into account several factors when calculated the amount of compensation you may be awarded in a successful scald injury at work claim which includes the following:
- The extent of your scald injury and how it impacts your daily and working life
- Whether you need ongoing treatment
- Whether your injuries prevent you from working again
What Can I Include in a Scald Injury at Work Claim?
Should you have suffered a scald injury at work whether your injuries are minor or more severe, there are certain things that can be included in a personal injury claim against a negligent employer. These are as follows:
- Your pain and suffering
- Any loss of amenity which is your capacity to do things that you used to do prior to being injured, whether your injuries have negatively impacted your mental or physical capacity
- The loss of earnings you incurred as a direct result of your scald injury
- Any future loss of earnings should you not be able to work again
- The medical expenses you incurred as direct result of your injuries
- The travel expenses you incurred
- Care costs should you need to go into a care home or need assistance around the home whether on a temporary or more permanent basis
Is There a Time Limit for Scald Injury Claims?
The time limit for filing personal injury claims is 3 years from the date of an accident that left you with a scald injury.
Should I File a Scald Injury Claim Against My Employer?
Many people worry that by filing a scald injury claim against an employer may result in them losing their jobs or that work colleagues and an employer might discriminate against them by treating them unfairly. However, under UK law, an employer cannot fire you because you choose to file a personal injury claim against them and work colleagues must not treat you unfairly for doing so either.
Having suffered a scald injury at work through no fault of your own, you have every right to claim compensation for the pain, suffering and out of pocket expenses you had to endure through employer negligence.
How Do I Start My Scald Injury Claim Against an Employer?
The best course of action to take following a scald injury at work that leaves you unable to work, is to discuss your case with a solicitor who specialised in accident at work claims. Because there is a strict time limit of 3 years associated with work-related claims and because you would have to gather as much evidence and information about the accident that left you injured can be extremely time consuming, it is all too easy to run out of time which would result in you not being able to file for compensation.
A solicitor would be able to advise you on what is needed to file a successful scald injury claim which vastly improves your chances of being awarded the level of compensation you rightly deserve for the pain, suffering and expenses you had to endure through no fault of your own having suffered a scald injury at work.
Working With a No Win No Fee Solicitor on a Scald Injury Claim?
Choosing to work with a solicitor who specialises in scald injury at work claims on a No Win No Fee basis takes all the worry of finding the money to pay for the legal representation needed. You would be asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is a legally binding contract that outlines the “terms and conditions” of the agreement and the percentage you would have to pay the solicitor on a successful scald injury claim which is often referred to as a “success fee”. Should your claim be unsuccessful, you would have nothing to pay the solicitor because the CFA you signed means they agreed to take on the risk.