Teesside Crown Court has issued fines totalling £950,000 for health and safety breaches that resulted in two workers suffering employee burn injuries at KFC.
Kentucky Fried Chicken has 880 restaurants in the UK – 235 restaurants owned by the company, and the remainder franchises. The company claims to have “robust processes and procedures” in place to protect employees from injury but, as Teesside Crown Court heard last week, these procedures were not implemented in two North-East restaurants, resulting in two employee burn injuries at KFC.
The two burn accidents at KFC were attributable to employees removing vats of hot gravy without being supplied with personal protective equipment. In the first case presented to Teesside Crown Court, Joshua Arnold (16) was scalded across both arms when a boiling vat of gravy spilled as he took it out of a microwave oven at Teesside Retail Park in July 2014. Rather than receiving first aid and an ambulance being called, he was told to put wet towels over his injury and sent to hospital alone in a taxi.
Eighteen months later at the Wellington Square KFC, Heather Storer was also burned by gravy as she removed a vat from a microwave oven. Heather suffered third-degree burns to her right arm, hands, chest and stomach. In both cases, long-sleeved gauntlets should have been provided by the company to prevent employee burn injuries at KFC. The court also heard that in both cases, neither employee had been given instructions on how to remove the vats of boiling gravy safely.
Commenting that the two cases were similar inasmuch as the employee burn injuries at KFC occurred as a result of “inadequate supervision and the inadequate provision of safety equipment”, Judge Sean Morris fined Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Limited a total of £950,000 for the two offences and ordered that the company pay £18,700 costs. He added: “It was lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just luck. Kitchens are dangerous places”.