Supermarket fined after worker slipped in hot oil
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 100c, from a deep fat fryer into a handle less plastic bucket, when the bucket melted allowing the oil to spill onto her feet and the floor.
The fryer had been replaced three months before the accident with one that didn’t have an integral filter and collection tray, the company was unaware of this and failed to provide additional equipment for safely removing the oil.
Above photo – the melted bucket and blue collection barrel
Staff were left with no choice but to improvise and would only leave the oil to cool for about an hour before transferring it by bucket into designated collection barrels. If the supermarket had provided a combined Fat Transfer/Filtration Unit, there would have been no contact between the oil and operator and the accident would not have happened.
During the investigation it became apparent that there was no safe system of work in place for emptying the fryers and a poor level of training and supervision further aggravated it. It was commonplace for employees to train one another, reinforcing unsafe working practice and although risk assessments for the equipment existed, they were not passed down to all staff and were not reviewed when the new equipment was installed
The court heard that following the accident the supermarket introduced a new fat transfer/filtration unit to allow for the safe emptying of oil and all new fryers ordered in future will need to have an integral filtration system to remove the risks associated with the external draining process. The company, admitted the offence and was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £9,500 costs.
The council said the accident and penalty should serve as a stark warning to all employers. It said:
'This case has highlighted that while a large, sophisticated company may have an extensive portfolio of policies, procedures and risk assessments, these are useless unless they are implemented at grass roots level.'