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Protecting Louisiana workers against burns

Each year, more than 2,000 workers throughout the country are sent to the hospital because of arc flash explosions. Of those, roughly 400 will die from their burns or because of a resulting infection. In many cases, the accidents that lead to these injuries are caused by improperly working in an energized area. Workers may reduce the risk of these incidents by wearing protective equipment.

Management can do its part by stressing the importance of not taking shortcuts on a job site. Ideally, workers will wait until a work area is no longer energized or only do so with protective clothing. Recent changes to arc flash suits mean that they are more comfortable, which allows a person to do his or her job with less hassle. Any personal protective equipment that a person wears should be flame resistant.

PPE should also be properly insulated to protect against second-degree burns. Managers should identity any hazards that a worker may face and choose the best fabric to meet that person's safety needs. Managers and employees can work together to reduce the risk of an accident by communicating well with each other. This is also true if subcontractors are hired to work on a site that may be energized.

Those who are hurt on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Benefits may make it easier to handle medical bills and related costs incurred treating burns or infections. It may also make it possible for a worker to make up some wages lost while out of work. In the event that an individual cannot return to his or her job, benefits may be made available on a permanent basis. Legal counsel may be able to answer any questions about benefits injured workers may have.

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