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BK franchisee pays £166,600 over worker’s oil scald

A Burger King franchisee in Ipswich has been fined at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court after an 18-year-old worker was burned by hot oil.

KFG Quickserve employee Michael Firth was working in the fast food restaurant on Westgate Street when he spilled scalding hot oil on himself.
 
The accident happened on 28 March 2015 while Firth was emptying oil from three fat fryers. The court heard that he decanted the hot oil into a metal bucket and carried it up some stairs to an outside disposal area.
 
The bucket had no lid. Some of the oil spilled on to Firth’s feet and he dropped the container.
 
He was off work for more than a month and has been left with scarring. He received a civil payout for his injuries from the company.
 
Ipswich Borough Council brought the prosecution after environmental health officer Rosemary Naylor investigated and found that the fryers should not have been emptied until the oil had cooled to at least 40°C.
 
Firth should have been wearing personal protective equipment, including an apron, boots and gauntlets, but the only sizes available were too large and presented an additional safety hazard.
 
She said the company did not have a site specific risk assessment identifying extra hazards, such as the need to transport oil in buckets using steps.  
 
District Judge Celia Dawson added that the spilled oil also exposed Firth’s co-workers to risk when they went to help him. 
 
KFG Quickserve, which runs 80 fast food restaurants, including 35 Burger Kings, pleaded guilty to two breaches of s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
 
It was fined £166,600 plus £12,000 costs. 
 
In a statement, Ipswich Borough Council said the company had “taken steps to remedy the problems voluntarily".

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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