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Chemical burns: Preventable injuries that are very serious

People who work on certain seafaring vessels and those who work in factories are sometimes exposed to dangerous chemicals. It is imperative that all employers take the time to establish proper protocol to prevent chemical burns, but they also need to ensure that all employees know and follow protocol.

Each chemical used at a business should have a material safety data sheet for it. This information should be readily available to the employees. It outlines exactly what needs to be done to keep the users safe and to address any safety mishaps.

Chemical burns aren't always obvious

It isn't always obvious when a person suffers a chemical burn. There may not be symptoms right away, but as the chemical remains on the skin for a longer period, the injury worsens. The area might appear red and the person can feel pain.

Sometimes, chemical burns cause damage to deeper layers of tissue without having obvious outward signs at first. Anyone who has come into contact with a chemical should be vigilant if they start to feel pain, itching or have other symptoms at or around the exposure site.

Some chemicals, as well as more serious chemical burns, might cause the area to become numb. This is a sign that you need medical care right away to address the problem.

Emergency room visits are possible

While some minor chemical burns won't require emergency care, others will. If you inhaled and swallowed a chemical and have throat or lung pain or breathing difficulty, you need to get an ambulance to the scene. The same is true if you get the chemical in your eye. Signs of an allergic reaction, including trouble breathing or swelling of your face, also require immediate medical attention.

In very serious cases, a person with a chemical burn can experience cardiac arrest, irregular heartbeat, severe cough, loss of consciousness, shortness of breath, seizures or fainting. All of these, along with a severe headache, mean you need to head to the emergency room.

Workers' compensation coverage should provide medical care for your injury that occurred while you were working. If you can't go back to work within a short amount of time, you might qualify for partial wage replacement. Ensuring that you get the workers' compensation benefits that are due to you is important since you shouldn't be left having to pay for a work-related injury.

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