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Restaurant accidents: Burns in the kitchen


For many workers in the food industry, the kitchen can be a minefield when it comes to accidents at work. The sheer amount of heat generated in a kitchen from cooking appliances and hot oils can mean that the risk of an injury from a serious burn can be quite high.

Cooks in particular can be exposed to serious restaurant accidents when working in a kitchen, and the industry is not without its tales of horror. Unfortunately, cases of being badly burned in the kitchen are not uncommon.


Examples of restaurant accidents

In January 2013, a cook at a Manchester fast food restaurant was walking over an area of mopped floor when he suddenly tripped. Instinctively, the cook reached out to grab hold of the nearest object to him, which happened to be a deep fat fryer, pulling the appliance with him and spilling over 35 litres of hot oil onto himself. As a result, he suffered horrific burns from chest to ankles, and co-workers who were in the vicinity of the cook also suffered severe burns from the splashing oil. Due to the spillage of the oil on the floor, the cook was unable to get up and each attempt at standing resulted in another fall back into the burning oil until a co-worker was able to slide him out, also suffering serious burns as a result of the contact with hot oil.

The company in question were prosecuted by Manchester City Council and were fined £16,000 as a result. The judge found a litany of failures in the company’s health and safety policies, including poor floor maintenance and inadequate footwear supplied to employees.


Are chefs and cooks the only people exposed to these kinds of restaurant accidents?

A supermarket was fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £25,500 after a worker was burned by hot oil.

The catering assistant, who worked in the customer restaurant, received burns to her back when she slipped and fell on hot oil. The assistant had been emptying oil, thought to be in excess of 100°C, from a deep fat fryer into a handleless plastic bucket, when the bucket melted allowing the oil to spill onto her feet and the floor.

In November 2009, a 16 year old worker at a fast food restaurant, suffered severe and extensive burns after she slipped on water leaking from an ice-making machine and instinctively put out her hand to break her fall. Unfortunately her hand went into the deep fat fryer containing oil at a temperature of 360°F and she sustained severe burns to her left hand and forearm.


Have you hurt yourself at work?

Whether you work in a kitchen or not accidents at work are a part of everyday life and if you experience one due to no fault of your own you could be entitled to claim compensation. Fill in the 30-second test™ at the side of this page to find out how much you could potentially claim and Accident Advice Helpline can help you with the rest.