16 Year Old Employee Flash Fries Arm in 360°F Oil Following Slip

This accident shows that failure to maintain plant, prevent contamination and to provide effective training and supervision can contribute to slipping accidents. Research has shown that slips are of caused by a combination of factors.

A 16 year old girl was employed at a fast food outlet to cook fries at a frying range.

Photo showing arm with burns.

Severe burns from simple slipping accident

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.

The outlet was short staffed on the day of accident and the Team Leader was working on the tills instead of monitoring workplace safety.

Although the company policy was to mop up spillages it was common practice to leave spillages at busy times and cover them with a sheet of cardboard, which itself can create a tripping hazard. At busy times it was usual to give greater priority to serving customers than to cleaning spillages.

The ice-making machine had been leaking for several days and various attempts had been made by different contractors to cure the leak. No-one had sole responsibility to coordinate the repair of faulty equipment and a lack of communication between different shift managers left the equipment leaking over a long period of time.

Following the accident, the company did a complete review of its management of wet/contaminated floors.

  • Slip control was given priority over serving customers
  • Systems were put in place to ensure maintenance of faulty equipment
  • Managers were identified as having responsibility to ensure slips procedures were
    implemented and followed
  • Employees empowered to deal with slips as a priority and given backing by company
  • Extra training on slips procedures was given to all staff

The local authority prosecuted the company and on successful conviction the magistrates imposed a total fine of £15000. The investigating Environmental Health Officer believed that the accident was completely avoidable as the company had failed to maintain a safe system of work or to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks associated with slipping within the kitchen.

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