The aim of this work was to evaluate the epidemiology of occupational burns referred to the Welsh Regional Burns Unit from 1st January 1995 to 31st December 1996. Three hundred and twenty-four patients were identified as having sustained occupational burns and the case notes of 319 were available for review. Data on age, sex, occupation, aetiology, percentage and site of burn, treatment, complications and length of hospital stay were recorded. Twenty percent of all burns referred to our unit occurred in the workplace, the majority of whom were male (male:female 11:1), with a mean age of 34 years. Patients presented late to our unit in 35% of cases, with an average delay of 5 days. Chemical burns predominated (23%), followed by flame (14%) and scald (14%). Small burns (≤1% TBSA) were seen in 70% of all patients. Five patients had burns involving >15% TBSA. One hundred and seventy-five patients were admitted, of whom 79 required surgery. The length of stay ranged from 1-110 days (mean 8.5), with an average follow-up for all patients of 3.5 months. One patient died as a result of his burn injury. In conclusion, occupational burn injuries continue to account for a significant proportion of all burn injuries, affecting mainly young males in physical occupations. Despite Health and Safety guidance, chemical burns are the predominant cause and more needs to be done to educate those working with chemicals to prevent injury.
- Occupational burns