Burn awareness

Monthly safety tip from your Black Hawk College Safety Committee

Approximately every 60 seconds someone in the U.S. sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment. In 2016, the leading causes for burns in the U.S. were:

  • 41% – fire/flame
  • 33% – scalding (hot liquid/steam)
  • 9% – contact with hot object
  • 3% – electrical
  • 3% – chemical
  • 11% – other

Burns can occur at Black Hawk College in the obvious places such as the welding or science labs, but they can also occur in the employee lounge after removing a hot food item or beverage from the microwave. Sometimes the machinery we use can get heated creating a potential burn exposure to the hot surface. Regardless of source, burns are serious injuries and we need to be alert to all possible sources to prevent burns from occurring in the first place.

Burns are typically divided into three categories: first-degree or superficial burns; second-degree or partial thickness burns; and third-degree or full thickness burns. Initial first-aid treatment for first-degree burns include:

  • Cooling the burn with running cool (not cold) water for at least five (5) minutes.
  • Remove all jewelry, watches, rings and clothing around the burned area as soon as possible.
  • Administer an over-the-counter pain reliever (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) for pain.
  • Loosely cover the burn with a sterile bandage or clean cloth, avoiding putting too much pressure on the burn tissue.
  • For small area burns, apply soothing lotions that contains aloe vera to the burned area to help relieve the pain and discomfort.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Regardless of degree, it is always advisable to seek medical attention for a burn as soon as possible.

Click here for additional first-aid information for burns.

For additional information on burns in general:


Disclaimer: These tips have been provided as general information for increasing safety awareness and for informational purposes only. Black Hawk College does not accept any liability for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) that is provided. We make every effort to insure the integrity and validity of the data provided. Always, check with your care provider before making any changes.