All food business operators have a duty to provide suitable training and equipment to protect workers’ Health & Safety. The importance of maintaining this responsibility has been shown after fast food chain KFC was hit with a huge fine.

Two workers suffered burns in separate incidents while handling hot gravy without protective gloves.

A 16 year old was scalded when a red hot gravy tub spilled as he took it from an oven. In a similar incident at another restaurant, a more experienced worker was also injured by boiling gravy.

When accidents happen…

The judge noted junior managers were unwilling to follow company guidance and that safety equipment and supervision was inadequate.

Video footage showed company rules being ignored as staff used bare hands to take hot tubs out of microwaves.

The inevitable happened as gravy was taken out of ovens without proper gloves being worn. The judge said managers at every level had a duty to make sure corners were not cut.

The 16 year old said he’d never been shown how to carry out the task safely and had done it just once before under supervision. There should have been two green gloves and a spare set but there was just one.

There were no gloves at all in the second restaurant incident. The worker claimed she had seen many others not using gloves. She said “There seems to be a complete inability to use any personal protection equipment. It doesn’t seem to be there.”

The judge said the 16 year old’s lack of training meant he was likely to be harmed and that others were exposed to the same risk.

Sentence

The company admitted failing in its duty of care to employees under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The judge gave fines totalling £950,000.

KFC was also ordered to pay court costs of £18,700.

The company said “We have robust processes and procedures in place but on these occasions they were not followed and we have accepted the prosecution.”

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