Chemical Burns

Government regulations on hazardous substances and work, health and safety require the manufacturer of a hazardous chemical to prepare a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the Chemical.

These SDS’s provide first aid information specific to each chemical and include information relevant to eye contact, skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion.

The aim of first aid for chemical burns is not to cool the burn but to dilute the chemical.

  • Avoid contact with any chemical or contaminated material, using appropriate personal protection equipment.
  • Remove the victim to a safe area.
  • Remove the chemical and any contaminated clothing and jewellery as soon as practical.
  • Brush powdered chemicals from the skin
  • Without spreading the chemical to unaffected areas, IMMEDIATELY run cool running water directly onto the area for 1 hour or until the stinging stops.
  • Apply a non-adherent dressing even if no burn mark is obvious.
  • If chemical enters the eye, open and flush the effected eye(s) thoroughly with water for as long as tolerated and refer the victim for urgent medical attention. If only one eye is affected, then flush with the head positioned so as the affected eye is down to avoid spread of the chemical to the unaffected eye. The flushing of the eye is more important than immediate transfer for medical care.
  • Refer to instructions on the container for further specific treatment.
  • If available, in hard copy or on the internet, refer to Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for specific treatment.
  • Call the Poisons Information Centre
  • DO NOT attempt to neutralise either acid or alkali burns, because this will increase heat generation which may cause more damage.
  • DO NOT apply cling wrap or hydrogel dressings to chemical burns.