1 min read

Risk of serious burns is real, not fiction

A recent court matter demonstrates the importance of ensuring a safe system is implemented and staff are trained in its process, particularly where risks of burns are involved.

Reading Cinemas Management Pty Limited (Reading Cinemas) operates movie cinemas including Gold Class cinemas where food and beverages are served.

On 28 July 2018, an employee noticed an error message on one of the fryers used in the kitchen. He unplugged the heating element from its socket in the back of the internal chamber of the fryer. Without waiting for the oil to cool down, the employee then attempted to move the oil vat in the fryer so he could re-position the heating element to plug the fryer back in. During that process, the employee lost his grip of the vat and extremely hot oil splashed over his body. The employee was hospitalised for treatment for burns and he underwent multiple skin grafts to his legs.

The Court heard that employees were responsible for cleaning the fryers, which would generally occur at the commencement of a shift, before the fryers were turned on.

However, more senior staff were also expected to troubleshoot and attempt to fix the fryers if they malfunctioned during a shift. The fryers were programmed to heat oil up to 180 degrees Celsius when turned on.

In this case, the Court found that Reading Cinemas failed to reduce the risk of burns by providing and maintaining a system of work that allowed access to the internal chamber of the fryer only when the oil had cooled to a temperature below 50 degrees Celsius.

The Court also found that Reading Cinemas had failed to provide instructions and training as was necessary to enable employees to troubleshoot issues with the fryers.

Reading Cinemas was sentenced to pay a fine of $20,000 and to pay costs of $4,008.

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