Preventing Workplace Burns

When many people think of receiving a burn, they imagine picking up a pan that is still hot from the oven or maybe the business end of their fireplace poker. And while many burns do occur in the home, another major danger of burning happens in the workplace.

Heat burns can lead to an average of 5 lost work days per burn, causing a significant impact to employees and their employers alike. Many of the burns sustained in the workplace are heat burns and scalds caused by the equipment that is used.

One major hazard in the workplace, particularly in industrial plants, are steam process lines. When these lines are first installed, they are insulated to help prevent burns. However, as the normal wear and tear of everyday use requires systems to need to be repaired and upgraded, small sections of insulation often need to be removed to give access to the pipes. Because it can be very costly to repair these areas of insulation, the pipes often remain uncovered, creating a potential burn hazard to the employees that need to work around them.

Another hazard for burns occurs where the hoses are connected to moving parts of the machinery and equipment. Because the tubing is flexible and many traditional insulation methods are not, these areas also often got uninsulated, leaving a potential burn hazard for the employees that work along those pieces of equipment.

Of course, there are still numerous other situations in the workplace where burns can occur as well. This leads an immediate need for insulation products that can help protect workers from workplace injury.

Luckily, new advancements in technology have lead to know insulation products that can make it easier to insulate these difficult areas. Utilizing closed cell silicone sponge rubber materials, these new insulations are very flexible, allowing them to be used in places where traditional methods cannot be used. They can also be cut to the desired length, allowing manufacturers to do spot repairs as needed while still protecting the employees. Often, the newer types of insulation will also feature hook and loop closures, which will make them very simple to install on existing lines, as well as provide easy access when repairs or upgrades need to be made.

This new technology uses closed cell silicone sponge rubber, which offers low thermal conductivity and high temperature resistance. While traditional products use fibrous materials enclosed in a hard outer layer, this material is easy to install and can be done by the regular maintenance staff instead of a professional contractor, making repairs faster and less expensive. The material also prevents water and other liquids from penetrating, making it ideal for use on outdoor equipment as well as indoor equipment. Plus, besides providing a way to prevent workplace injuries and burns by insulating high risk areas, covering the pipes and tubing helps to keep them more energy effective. When used around the manufacturing plant, this can effectively reduce the energy costs for the entire plant, helping production to be more cost effective.