The nature of construction work poses unique hazards to you and your fellow workers. Burn injuries can range from the superficial, affecting only the outermost layer of the skin, to full-thickness burns that extend through multiple skin layers to the tissues underneath, such as muscles, tendons and bones.

You may not be aware of all the exposures that can cause burn injuries on a construction site. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the following hazards have the potential to cause severe skin damage from burns.

Thermal burns

Thermal burns are the most common type, both in construction and elsewhere, and probably the type that you are most familiar with. Exposure to extreme heat can cause burns, whether in the form of open flame, hot metal or scalding liquids or steam.

Chemical burns

Some chemicals react strongly with the skin when the two come into contact, causing damage to the skin similar to that resulting from exposure to high temperatures. Materials that are strongly acidic or alkaline may cause chemical burns. Wet cement can also cause a reaction that results in a chemical burn if it comes in contact with the skin.

Electrical burns

Exposure to an electrical current can burn the skin. Faulty equipment or contact with power lines may cause electrical burns on a construction site. You may have burn injuries at the sites where the electricity entered your body, usually on the head or upper extremities, and where it exited, usually on the legs or feet.

Radiation burns

Radiation is energy emission in the form of particles or waves. One significant source of radiation on a construction site that you may underestimate is the sun. It produces ultraviolet radiation that can cause sunburn. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation can also put you at risk for eye damage and skin cancer.