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Chemical burn injuries can lead to permanent disfigurement, severe pain and disabilities such as blindness. As such, compensation settlements can be fairly high in value.
With numerous industries requiring the use of chemicals, the most common place for people to come into contact with hazardous substances that can cause chemical burns is in the workplace.
Employers are required by law to minimise the risk of injury from chemicals and must provide adequate storage, training and personal protective equipment (PPE).
If an employee sustained a chemical burn injury at work, they have the right to make a claim for compensation. Our specialist solicitors can quickly identify whether an employer has been negligent and if so, pursue a claim for you.
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Chemical burn injuries explained
Chemicals contain potentially hazardous elements such as acids and alkalis that will damage the tissues of the skin or eyes upon contact.
Hazardous materials that contain such irritants include bleach, industrial cleaning fluids, concrete, rust remover, batteries, refining compounds, agricultural fertilisers. While heavy industries often make use of sulphuric, nitric and phosphoric acid, ammonia and sodium hydroxide.
If any of these or other hazardous chemicals are used without the adequate protection of safety gloves, overalls, face masks and eye protection, serious chemical burn injuries can occur.
Common chemical burn injury symptoms include:
- Cracked, sore and red skin
- Irritation and rashes
- Blurred and lost vision
- Loss of sensation in fingers or other affected areas
- Dead or blackened skin
External chemical burns are usually visible fairly quickly, but in some cases the onset of symptoms can be delayed.
If any hazardous chemicals are inhaled or ingested, chemical burns can be sustained within the body. Internal organs may face damage that can be fatal, with some symptoms including shortness of breath, heart attacks and even seizures.
The value of a claim will be made up of two parts – the element for general damages (reached on the basis of medical evidence and length of injury or recovery) as well as special damages, where any costs and lost income can be recovered. The figures below are a guide to the general damages value only.
The severity of chemical burns can vary greatly, as can their impact on day-to-day life, so there are no set compensation levels for these or other types of burn injury. However, burns of any severity can be very painful and disfiguring so awards are often in the upper ends of the brackets, if not well above when psychological effects are also taken into account.
Let’s take facial disfigurement as an example. Here, where the cosmetic effect is very disfiguring and the psychological reaction severe, settlements can range from around £35,000 to £80,000 and more. Less significant facial scarring falls in a range of £3,000 to £10,000.
Compensation amounts for scarring to other parts of the body, and where the injury is not usually visible, tend to be lower.
A large proportion of awards for multiple scars or a single disfiguring scar on the leg, arm, back or chest fall in the bracket of £5,000 to £20,000.
To succeed with a claim for chemical burn injury compensation, the claimant will need to establish that the injury was caused by an act of negligence.
Most such claims come about after someone has been burned at work whilst using dangerous chemicals without the correct training, guidance or protective equipment. This constitutes a breach of health and safety protocol.
Employers must ensure that comprehensive health and safety regulations are in place in order that employees can work safely and the risks of chemical burn injuries are minimised. They have a number of guidelines to follow.
The Health & Safety at work act 1974 gives employers a responsibility to carry out adequate risk assessments, having safety guideline policies in place and covers the general health and safety of employees.
COSHH (The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002) provides specific safety controls that an employer and employee MUST adhere to whilst using chemicals and substances that could cause serious injury if handled incorrectly. All employers MUST ensure that they have done all that can reasonably be expected of them to minimise the risk of chemical burn injuries to their employees and should therefore routinely enforce COSHH guidelines throughout the workplace.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 give employers a responsibility to:
- Adequately risk assess the chemicals they are tasking employees with using
- Store and maintain chemicals safely to minimise the risk of chemical burn injuries
- Provide the correct personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Use and provide adequate first aid services
- Train staff in the dangers of the chemicals they are using
- Ensure that regular cleaning is in place to remove excess chemicals and hazards.
How to claim chemical burn injury compensation
If an employer fails to enforce sufficient health and safety management in the use of hazard chemicals and an employee suffers a chemical burn injury, the employee can seek to make a claim for compensation against their employer.
At Direct2Compensation we know the rights of employees working with dangerous chemicals and what responsibilities employers have when it comes to the use of and handling of such items.
Making a claim with Direct2Compensation is a simple process. From your initial discussions with our expert staff, we will make an assessment of your claim and place it with one of our specialist chemical burn injury solicitors who will act for you on a No Win No Fee basis.
Our solicitors will then register your claim and carry out further investigations into the cause of your injuries in order to establish liability against the employer or whoever is responsible for your exposure to dangerous chemicals.
As soon as liability is established, they will obtain supporting medical evidence and begin the process of obtaining a full and fair compensation settlement to cover the extent of your injuries and any ongoing medical treatments. They will also ensure that any loss of income and costs are recovered for you.
To start your claim for chemical burn injury compensation, simply call us on 01225 430285 or if you prefer, visit our ‘start a claim’ page and send us your details. We’ll then call you and help you to better understand your rights and get the claims process up and running.