The Holiday Inn Express in Dunstable, Bedfordshire has been fined following a serious health and safety breach.
On 11 November 2018, a Holiday Inn Express employee was instructed by a manager to empty and clean the commercial oil fryer in the kitchen. The member of staff picked up the filled container and was immediately burned from oil melting through the thin plastic container that had been provided for the job. The individual dropped the container onto the floor, slipped and fell into the hot oil, receiving second and third degree burns to their arms, legs and torso, covering approximately 10% of their body.
As a result, the employee is physically scarred and has not worked since, subsequently suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It is a legal duty to ensure the use of a hot oil fryer is risk assessed, control measures put in place, and staff trained and provided with written information and instructions.
The member of staff had not been instructed or trained fully in how to empty the oil fryer in a safe manner. During the emptying, the member of staff was not wearing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent burns and was given a plastic container to empty the oil into.
The investigation found there was a possibility that the fryer had not been fully switched off from the previous evening's use and therefore had not cooled down as expected and there was no working thermometer on the fryer to indicate how hot the oil was.
Central Bedfordshire Council prosecuted The Gateway Hotel, Dunstable (known as The Holiday Inn Express) and RBH Hospitality Management for failings under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, sections 2(1) and 3(1), following a breach in their legal duty of care towards a member of staff. Both companies pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay £16,830 in fines and costs.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, our Executive Member for Community Services, said: “Our investigations found that there were inadequate control measures in place, the correct PPE was not provided for the task and there was a lack of training. As a result of poor health and safety, an individual has been left with permanent physical and mental scars.
“This prosecution sends a message to businesses that, if health and safety laws are breached and members of staff or the public are placed at risk, we will investigate you and prosecute if in the public interest.”
Central Bedfordshire Council November 2021