KFC fined almost £1m over gravy burns
Fast food retailer Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) must pay a £950,000 fine plus costs of £18,700 after two workers sustained burn injuries at separate branches in Stockton-on-Tees, northeast England.
The restaurant chain was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court after an earlier hearing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on 23 November 2016, when it pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The court was told that, on 14 July 2014, a 16-year-old member of staff at KFC’s Teesside Park restaurant was asked to remove a container of hot gravy from a microwave. He was not wearing protective gloves and sustained serious burns to his hands and arms.
On 1 December 2015, a Wellington Square branch employee sustained serious burns to her body after hot gravy spilled on her as she removed the tub from a microwave.
Environmental health officers from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, which brought the prosecution, visited the Wellington Square premises two days after the accident there. They found that processes were not safely managed, the business had failed to ensure its own procedures were followed, and workers did not know where to find spare protective gloves.
In mitigation, KFC representatives said the company invested £7.5m a year in safety and health and had provided its staff with training. They added that the company had procedures in place, though they weren’t followed, that such accidents occurred very rarely, and that KFC had cooperated with the investigation.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s cabinet member for access, communities and community safety, said: "This is a huge fine that sends out a very clear message that all food business operators have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees and provide them with suitable training.
“[KFC] did not maintain this responsibility and as a result, two of its employees suffered extremely painful but preventable injuries.”
Keeley Downey is assistant editor of IOSH Magazine