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Restaurant accidents: Customer burns

Are customers at risk from burns in a restaurant?

It’s not only the employees in the catering and hospitality industry that can be subject to burns and injuries. Sometimes the customer can be on the receiving end of serious burns, or other injuries, when visiting a restaurant. Picture the scene; it’s a busy weekend evening in a local establishment. The staff are stretched to their limits, with the hustle and bustle of carrying food to and from the kitchen and trying to maintain speedy service. Suddenly in the midst of the commotion, an employee slips, trips or falls over a rogue chair leg whilst carrying hot food. The employee loses his balance and drops the hot food over an unfortunate customer and causes serious customer burns.

There are other ways in which a customer can sustain a burn in a restaurant particularly in a take away situation. An overly filled coffee cup, or an improperly sealed lid, can cause spillages, with fresh coffee being anywhere up to 80°c in temperature. Ceramic plates or bowls can absorb a lot of heat from hot food, or being heated in a microwave, which is often the case in a busy catering establishment. It is also not unknown for a customer to suffer a burn or a scalding from overly hot water taps, or defective hand driers in bathrooms.

How to avoid the risk of a burn as a customer in a restaurant?

Unfortunately, it is rarely the customer on the receiving end of the burn that is at fault. Always be careful and vigilant when in a crowded restaurant, you can reduce the chances of being burned in a restaurant in some of the following ways:

  • Being mindful of any staff that may be going to and fro in the narrow walkways between the tables;
  • Ensuring that all coffee cups and bowls are not overfilled causing a potential spillage;
  • Properly fastening and sealing the lid on a takeaway coffee cup or bowl; and
  • Being mindful of hot plates and bowls.

If you’ve suffered a burn in a restaurant within the last 3 years and it wasn’t your fault then you may be entitled to compensation. Accident Advice Helpline’s freephone number is open 24/7, and friendly and professional advisors will be eager to help you.