Whopper payout for Ipswich Burger King franchisee after worker injured due to health and safety breaches
PUBLISHED: 17:59 02 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:56 04 December 2016
An Ipswich Burger King franchisee must pay out nearly £180,000 for health and safety breaches before and after a worker was scalded with hot oil.
KFG Quickserve, which runs the fast food outlet in Westgate Street, was today fined £166,600 at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court after previously pleading guilty to two charges of breaching a duty to an employee.
The company must also pay £12,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £125.
The prosecution was brought by Ipswich Borough Council after 18-year-old Burger King employee Michael Firth was injured on March last year.
One of the charges related to health and safety failures on or before the accident. The other offence involved breaches which had not been rectified until some time after the accident.
Sentencing the north-west London company - which runs 80 food outlets including Little Chefs, KFCs and 35 Burger Kings - District Judge Celia Dawson said the incident occurred when Mr Firth was tasked with emptying oil from three of the branch’s four fat fryers.
The fryers should not have been cleared until the oil had cooled to a temperature of 40C or below.
However, the oil was still hot on the night of accident.
Mr Firth spilled oil on himself as he was carrying it in a bucket up some metal stairs. The bucket should have had a lid, but it did not.
Although protective clothing - including an apron, boots, and gauntlets - should have been worn it was said to only have been available in a very large size.
Pascal Bates, prosecuting, said of the clothing: “This was not far off a circus clown’s outfit.”
Mr Firth was not wearing the equipment at the time of the accident.
After spilling the oil on his feet causing pain and burns, Mr Firth dropped the bucket.
Judge Dawson said it was important to note Firth was required to move the dirty oil up two sets of stairs, one metal and one concrete, and along two corridors.
She also said the protective clothing was so big it presented an additional safety hazard.
The court had previously heard other staff were also put at risk by the oil on the stairs when they rushed to Mr Firth’s aid.
As a result of his injuries Mr Firth was off work for more than a month, was left with scarring, and has received a civil payment for his injuries from KGC Quickserve.
Jonathan Goulding, mitigating, said the company regretted what had happened and immediately afterwards took steps to remedy the problems on a voluntary basis.