The company owning a Coffs Harbour KFC franchise has been fined $60,000 over the workplace injury three years ago.
The company owning a Coffs Harbour KFC franchise has been fined $60,000 over the workplace injury three years ago.

KFC worker suffered third degree burns falling into hot oil

A COFFS Harbour KFC has been fined $60,000 after a 20-year-old worker slipped in the kitchen and suffered serious burns to his leg.

QSR Pty Ltd (QSR), a franchisee of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), was sentenced at the District Court of NSW on March 22 under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The business was fined $60,000 after the worker required a skin graft for third degree burns.

During a morning shift in November 2016, the KFC worker used a ladder to access and clean the canopies of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system above open cook pots that were heating up oil.

The worker followed the usual method to undertake this task.

But on this occasion, an electrical black-out occurred in the store.

As the worker tried to come down from the ladder, his left leg slipped in the cook pot containing hot oil.

The worker suffered third degree burns to his left leg and was treated in hospital.

He has since undergone a skin graft to his left leg and has had mobility issues, the court heard.

The incident has prompted a warning from SafeWork NSW to employers about the need to provide safe working conditions.

The District Court fined QSR Pty Ltd $60,000 and the company has the right to lodge an appeal.

The court found there had been a failure to ensure the cooker lids were closed and in a locked position when the area above them was cleaned.

They should also have been switched off during the cleaning process.

The judgment said that QSR pleaded guilty in its failure to provide its health and safety duty which exposed the worker to risk.

The court found QSR did not adequately implement safe work procedures, including training, for the cleaning task.

The judgment said QSR "demonstrated remorse and contrition" and has taken many steps since the incident "to ensure the safety of its workers".

Executive director for SafeWork operations Tony Williams said it was vital for employers to equip young workers with the right training and resources, supported by adequate levels of supervision and monitoring.

"The incident occurred at a workplace with a number of young and vulnerable workers who have limited work experience and may not understand the risks of what they are doing or know how to protect themselves from injury," Mr Williams said.

"By law, managers or supervisors of young workers have a legal obligation to protect young workers from incidents such as this which are entirely preventable."

"With figures showing that more than half a million young people aged up to 25 have entered the workforce in NSW, on the SafeWork NSW website there is a free resource available and designed to benefit both employers and young workers," Mr Williams said.

"SafeWork's young workers eToolkit not only helps businesses understand their responsibilities in supporting young workers to stay safe and healthy at work, but also includes real stories about young people who have been injured at work. They share the impact this injury had on themselves, their family and how it could have been prevented."