Occupation-related burns: five-year experience of an urban burn center

J Occup Med. 1987 Sep;29(9):730-3.


Mortality from burns in the United States has not improved appreciably since 1955 among men, and the rate of decline among women appears to be slowing. Although one-quarter of all serious burns result from occupational accidents, few systematic epidemiologic studies of occupational burns have been conducted. We reviewed 232 cases of occupational burns among the 1,076 civilians seen as outpatients or admitted to the Regional Burn Treatment Center of the University of California Medical Center in San Diego from 1977 to 1982. Scalds were the most common type of burn overall and in women, but flame-related burns resulted in the highest average percent body surface area burned and were more common in men; tar-related, flame-related, chemical, and electrical burns affected men almost exclusively. Electrical burns were disproportionately severe, as measured by time lost from work, fatalities, and permanent disability, in relation to their frequency and amount of body surface area involved. Contact burns were more frequent in younger persons. Hispanics were overrepresented compared with their representation in the general population. Occupational associations included scalds due to hot grease among restaurant workers, tar burns among roofing workers, electrical burns among farm workers, and injuries reflecting hazards to firefighters and electricians. The number of days off work after hospitalization correlated closely with the number of days hospitalized, which in turn correlated significantly with percentage of body surface area burned.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational* / prevention & control
  • Adult
  • Burn Units
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Burns / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupations