Article Text

Download PDFPDF

5G.001 Petrol-related burn injuries – the victorian adult burns service experience
  1. Sadhishaan Sreedharan1,2,
  2. Hana Menezes1,
  3. Heather Cleland1,2,
  4. Stephen Goldie1,2,3
  1. 1Victorian Adult Burns Service, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2Department of Surgery, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia


Background Our experience in Victoria is that burns related to petrol fires are a major cause of injury that would be better prevented. The explosive ignition that makes petrol so valuable as a fuel can cause injuries when petrol is handled carelessly. The authors believe these injuries could be prevented with better consumer education and regulation of petrol use.

Methods We retrospectively carried out a cohort study examining the epidemiology of patients admitted to the Victorian Adult Burns Service (VABS). Data were extracted from the VABS database on patients presenting over a seven-year period.

Results We found that 378 out of 1927 burns admissions (19.6%) were related to petrol use. Males aged 20–29 years were most at risk, contributing to 25.4% of petrol-related burn injuries. Alcohol was a factor involved in 21.2% of cases. The mean total body surface area (TBSA) burnt in this cohort was 19.3%, and surgery was required in 70.4% of cases. Petrol-related burn injuries are estimated to cost AU$5,484,834 annually and have a mortality rate of 7.4%.

Conclusion Misuse of petrol contributes to a substantial injury burden for Victoria. Approximately 20% of admissions to The Alfred burns unit are petrol related, 70% need surgery and nearly 7.5% of these patients die.

Learning Outcomes Identifying petrol burns as a major healthcare crisis in Victoria, and the key demographics involved, has allowed us to engage with the Country Fire Association through the Victorian Burns Prevention Partnership, to produce public awareness campaigns.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.