One of the most common injuries seamen face while at work is suffering a burn injury. This can include burning your skin while putting out a fire on ship, burning your skin from exposure to hot steam or suffering a chemical burn while handling dangerous materials, such as gasoline, strong acids or industrial cleaning solvents.
First aid for burns
If you suffer a burn at sea, you first need to flush the burn with cool water for at least 10 minutes to clean the area and remove any chemicals. If your clothing also burns, try to remove it gently. However, don’t try to remove the fabric if it sticks to the burn. If your burn is minor, you can cover it with a dry, fluffy dressing and bandage. You also can apply antibiotic ointment, aloe vera or honey to help heal your burn.
You should seek medical treatment for burns at sea. You want to ensure you have cared for your wound correctly. Sometimes, a serious burn may not hurt that much, yet needs medical treatment to avoid infection.
Determining the severity of a burn
You know how severe your burn is by how much it damages your skin. With a first-degree burn, only the outer layer of skin is damaged. First-degree burns cause skin redness, mild swelling and pain and tenderness. Second-degree burns affect more than one layer of skin and result in pain, redness and tenderness when touched. They require treatment for seven to 20 days.
Third-degree burns reach the dermis level of skin. They can take weeks or months to heal and can leave severe scarring. They cause severe pain and extensive blisters. Fourth-degree burns may extend to a burn victim’s fat layer, muscle or bone. They may need skin grafting, take months to heal and usually result in severe scarring.
If you suffer severe burn injuries while at work at sea, you should consult an attorney familiar with The Jones Act. The Jones Act entitles you to receive compensation for your injury’s medical costs and missed time from work. You also can receive compensation for your pain and suffering. Your job is dangerous, so you shouldn’t be afraid to seek the compensation you deserve.