Scalding and burns data shows ongoing risk

Scalding injuries caused by heating appliances, radiators and pipes continue to pose a serious issue for the young and elderly in particular.

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), has warned scalding and central heating system related contact burns continue to “pose a grave risk”.

According to latest hospital admissions data from NHS Digital, between 1st April 2020 and 31st March 2021, there were 812 admissions for burn injuries caused via contact with heating appliances, radiators and pipes.

Ninety per cent of heating appliance burn finished consultant episodes were emergencies. There were 602 admissions from scald injuries from taps.

Kevin said: “The figures from NHS Digital remain far too high and the most vulnerable in society continue to be at a grave risk from household scalds and burns.

“The number of very young children being afflicted with injuries is tragic – especially as most incidents will have been avoidable with the use of thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs), or having precautions such as low surface temperature radiators in place. We know that when it comes to the elderly, we are often looking at lone households in older homes, that typically feature outdated plumbing technology. This puts elderly households at much higher risk, which isn’t helped by weak legislation on TMVs.

“This isn’t a new problem. The numbers show that over the last eight years, there has been over 51,000 finished consultant episodes bed days due to scalds and burns combined. Ultimately, poor public knowledge of scalding and contact burn related injuries means we still don’t have the issue under control. With winter approaching, and the vulnerable more likely to stay indoors due to the pandemic, installers are very much at the front line of educating households in heating and hot water system safety – especially those with young, elderly or disabled occupants. Without robust legislation, it’s once again down to the industry to help teach and protect the public.”