A fast food restaurant chain has been ordered to pay almost £1million after two of its employees suffered burns injuries at two Stockton Borough branches.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Limited was ordered to pay a total of £950,000 in fines and £18,700 in costs at Teesside Crown Court today (January 19).
The sentence follows an earlier hearing at Teesside Magistrates Court on 23 November 2016, when the chain pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The court heard that on 14 July 2014, a 16-year-old employee at the business’s Teesside Park restaurant suffered serious burns to his hands and arms after he was asked to remove hot gravy from a microwave while he was not wearing protective gloves.
In a separate incident on 1 December 2015, an employee at the chain’s Wellington Square branch in Stockton removed a tub of hot gravy from a microwave and it spilled, also causing serious burns to her body.
Environmental Health officers from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council visited the Wellington Square premises on 3 December 2015. They found that staff at the restaurant were unable to locate any spare protective gloves, processes were not being managed and the business failed to ensure that their own procedures were being followed.
In mitigation Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Limited representatives said that training had been given to staff and the chain invests £7.5million in health and safety measures every year. They added that procedures were in place but were not followed, that such incidents are very rare, and that they had cooperated with all aspects of 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.
“Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Limited did not maintain this responsibility and as a result, two of its employees suffered extremely painful but preventable injuries.
“Environmental Health officers conducted a very thorough investigation into these two very serious incidents, which has enabled us to bring this prosecution. Our officers are also available to offer advice to businesses and their employees on health and safety issues in the workplace.”