RISK MANAGEMENT FORMULA COULD HAVE HELPED MAN BURNED BY SUNSCREEN
By Tim Barela, Torch Magazine
/ Published July 09, 2013
FROM WIRE REPORTS -- Sunscreen is designed to prevent people from getting burned, right? That desired result turned out to be an epic fail for Brett Sigworth. Last summer the Stow, Mass., resident sprayed on some Banana Boat Sport sunscreen, went to tend to some hot charcoal briquettes in his barbecue pit and instantly went up in flames!
"I walked over to my grill, took one of the holders to move some of the charcoal briquettes around and all of a sudden it just went up my arm," Sigworth told CBS Boston. "I went into complete panic mode and screamed. I've never experienced pain like that in my life."
Sigworth's friends and girlfriend helped put out the flames and saved his life. He got second-degree burns on his chest, ear and back that correspond with the lines where he applied sunscreen.
Appying risk management -- by both Sigworth and the Banana Boat company -- would have actually gone further to protecting him from burns.
Warnings on the bottle, which was pulled from stores shortly after the incident, state the product is flammable and should not be applied near heat or an open flame. But it doesn't give any warnings about once the product is applied.
Perhaps if Sigworth had identified the hazard and assessed the risk, he would have came to the conclusion to wait to apply the sunscreen until after he finished with the barbecuing. Or he could have rubbed in the product better and waited a few minutes before approaching the fire, as it's the fumes from the aerosol spray that likely caught flame. Or he could have simply used a non-aerosol sunscreen, which is not flammable.
The company, on the other hand, should have had more comprehensive warnings to help people gauge the risk better because aerosols contain propellants, which are flammable gasses. Or even recommend using a lotion sunscreen if near an open flame.