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How are burns classified?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2022 | Serious Injury

While everyone knows to be cautious around an open flame, there may be, however, unfortunate accidents that cause someone to burn themselves at their job. Boiling water, a spark from a plug or a chemical reaction can each cause different types of burns.

How many categories of burns are there? When it comes to burns, the higher the category, the more serious the injury. Here’s how they are classified:

First-degree burns

In comparison to higher-tiered burns, first-degree burns are the mildest and often the most commonly known type of burn. These burns only affect the top layer of the skin. A first-degree burn may slightly change the color of the skin and cause the skin to be slightly dry. Typically, first-degree burns don’t cause blisters.

First-degree burns may be caused by sunburns, touching hot surfaces for a short time or mild shocks of electricity.

Second-degree burns

Unlike first-degree burns, second-degree burns affect the top and middle layers of skin. The effects of a second-degree burn may cause blistering and swelling. 

Brief exposure to the sun, hot surfaces or electric currents can cause mild burns, but longer exposure to these elements may cause second-degree burns. 

Third-degree burns

Burns that begin to cause health issues may be classified as third-degree burns. These burns can tear through all skin layers down to the muscle, leaving behind scarring and causing witness or charring behind. Without the correct treatment, these burns may become infected, leading to more medical complications. 

Third-degree burns can be caused by overexposure to chemicals, open flames, scalding liquids or friction. 

Fourth-, fifth- and six-degree burns

If a burn degrades skin and muscle, moves into the victim’s fat or exposes bone, then it may be considered a fourth-, fifth- or six-degree burn. Each of these burns can cause similar injuries, however, the higher the degree, the more likely the burn will turn fatal, injuring internal organs or causing an amputation. 

If you suffered a burn injury at work, you may need to seek legal help to secure the workers’ compensation benefits you need. Experienced legal guidance can make the process easier.