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Accommodating Workers With Burns (part I)

Accommodating an employee with burn injuries returning to work depends on many factors which include the total body surface area involved in the burn, the extent of the burn, the degree of the scaring that affected the patient and the limitations that resulted because of these scars. (see preventing and dealing with scars I, II)

An employer should consider what limitations an employee with a burn injury has; to what extent do the limitations affect the work performance; and the specific job tasks that are problematic as a result of these limitations. The burned person has to inquire about the available accommodations to decrease or eliminate the problems that he/she are facing as a result of the injury. The burned person should meet with his/her supervisor or employer to discuss the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether or not other accommodations or services are needed.

Motor impairment which often result from contracture, may lead to difficulty in walking and standing. Burns affecting the arms and hands can lead to difficulty in lifting and carrying things, difficulty in reaching for objects and compromise of fine motor movement such as writing and grasping. The following accommodations can be made for people with gross and fine motor impairment.

For gross motor impairment the following can be done:

  • Work site modification to make it accessible.
  • Automatic door installation.
  • Work place modification to make it accessible.
  • Moving the workstation closer to other work area.
  • Providing an accessible way of travel to other work area.
  • Making materials within reach.
  • Accessible entrance provision.
  • Close parking provision.
  • Accessible restroom provision.
  • Material lifts provision.
  • Stand or lean stools provision.

For fine motor impairment:

  • Alternative computer access provision.
  • Alternative telephone access provision.
  • Writing and grip aids provision.
  • Arm support provision.
  • Anti vibration gloves provision.
  • Tool balancer provision.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.