Coffs Harbour KFC fined $60K after young worker suffers serious burns

SafeWork NSW is reminding all businesses of their workplace health and safety obligations after a KFC franchise in Coffs Harbour was recently fined following serious injuries to a young worker.

QSR Pty Ltd (QSR), a franchisee of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), was sentenced at the District Court of NSW on 22 March under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The business was fined $60,000 after a 20-year-old worker slipped in the kitchen while cleaning and suffered serious burns to his leg.

Executive Director for SafeWork Operations, Tony Williams said the incident was an example of the vulnerability of young and inexperienced people in the workplace and how vital it is that employers equip young workers with the right training and resources, supported by adequate levels of supervision and monitoring.

“The incident occurred at a workplace with a number of young and vulnerable workers who have limited work experience and may not understand the risks of what they are doing or know how to protect themselves from injury,” Mr Williams said.

“By law, managers or supervisors of young workers have a legal obligation to protect young workers from incidents such as this which are entirely preventable.”

During a morning shift in November 2016, the KFC worker used a ladder to access and clean the canopies of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system above open cook pots that were heating up oil. The worker followed the usual method to undertake this task. But on this occasion, an electrical black out occurred in the store. As the worker tried to come down from his position, his left leg slipped in the cook pot containing hot oil. The worker suffered third degree burns to his left leg and was treated in hospital. He has since undergone a skin graft to his left leg and has had mobility issues.

“With figures showing that more than half a million young people aged up to 25 have entered the workforce in NSW, on the SafeWork NSW website there is a free resource available and designed to benefit both employers and young workers,” Mr Williams said.

“SafeWork’s young workers eToolkit not only helps businesses understand their responsibilities in supporting young workers to stay safe and healthy at work, but also includes real stories about young people who have been injured at work. They share the impact this injury had on themselves, their family and how it could have been prevented.”

QSR has the right to lodge an appeal.