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Scalds: Leading Cause of Burns in PA Workplaces


Scalds are the leading cause of burn injuries among Pennsylvania workers. Learn what to do if you suffer a scald injury and scald injuries can be prevented.

Do you know what a scald is? A scald is a burn that is caused by a hot liquid or gas. Scalds are the leading cause of burn injuries among Pennsylvania workers. If you are a chef in a restaurant, you could suffer a scald from spilled soup or sauce. A factory worker could suffer a scald injury from boiling liquids or from a steam pipe. An office worker could suffer a scald from reheating coffee in the break room microwave.

When boiling hot liquid splashes the skin, the cells in the skin are killed by the heat. This can cause extreme pain and permanent tissue damage resulting in scarring. If there is a lot of pain or scarring, there may also be psychological effects.

Preventing Scalds in the Pennsylvania Workplace

  • All workers should be trained on the hazards of hot liquids and safe work practices.
  • At least one employee per shift should be trained in first aid procedures for managing burns.
  • Slips, trips and falls are a common cause of scald injuries. Non-slip mats or coatings should be used in areas where hot liquids are used. Walkways should be kept obstacle free. At least one employee should be responsible for prompt cleanup of any spills.
  • Employees should avoid carrying very full containers of hot liquid. Containers used to hold hot liquids should have fitted lids and secure handles.
  • Restaurant employees should be trained in proper safety procedures before cooking with boiling water, hot oil or other hot liquids. Splash screens should be used when deep frying.
  • Only trained employees should work with pressurized equipment.
  • Workplace microwaves should be placed at a safe height. The face of the user should be well above the microwave door.
  • Use vented containers (or punctured plastic wrap) when using the microwave. If the cover does not have a vent, wait one minute before removing the cover.


If you have suffered a burn at work, you may be entitled to PA Workers’ Compensation even if you were only reheating your lunch.  To learn more about workers’ compensation benefits, request your free copy of our book, Your Guide To PA Worker’s Compensation. If you have additional questions, please call Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., at 888-807-WORK (9675).

Category: Workers’ Compensation

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