Steep Rise in Compensation Claims for Burns and Scalds at Work

The Injuries Board has released figures which show a steep rise in compensation claims for burns and scalds at work between 2011 and 2012.

Stephen Watkins – the Director of Corporate Services at the Injuries Board – has published a press release on the Injuries Board website in which he describes the increase in compensation claims for burns and scalds at work as “worrying”.

He points to figures from 2011 and 2012 in which the number of accepted Injuries Board assessments in relation to burns and scalds in the workplace rose from twenty-eight to forty-two, with a total assessment value of €1.33 million and an average compensation award of €19,066.

Mr Watkins describes the various ways in which workers can sustain burns and scalds at work, and listed the most frequent reasons for applications being submitted to the Injuries Board:

  • Boiling water overflowing
  • Splashes from hot liquids and sauces
  • Chemical and acid burns
  • Items of clothing catching fire
  • Scalds from faulty electrical equipment

The highest individual award over the two-year period was €106,949 – relating to burns sustained in an acid spill – but Mr Watkins commented that the highest number of compensation claims for burns and scalds at work were made by plaintiffs working in the catering trade and in cleaning.

It was also highlighted that something as simple as making a hot drink could result in an injury at work, and Mr Watkins urged both employers and employees to be aware of safety precautions when in the presence of any substance or equipment that could result in a painful burn injury.

In 2012, the Health and Safety Authority´s “Summary of Workplace Injuries” showed that female employees are three times more likely than their male counterparts to sustain burns and scalds in the workplace, due to the higher percentage of females employed in catering and cleaning.

It should also not be overlooked that, in 2012, the percentage of accepted Injuries Board assessments fell from 37.2 percent to 32.7 percent – indicating that there may have been a further 100 compensation claims for burns and scalds at work which were resolved outside of the Injuries Board process.