Burger King franchisee sentenced twice for same offence

Published: 13 Dec 2016

Due to a legal technicality, a company has been charged twice with breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974.

The 12th March is a pivotal date for this case – as offences committed on or after that date could be imposed an unlimited fine by a magistrates’ court, where before they were limited to £20,000.

An unlimited fine was always available for these offences in the crown court.

The fine for breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 before 12 March 2015, and pre-sentencing penalties, was £13,300.

The fine for breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 after 12 March 2015, and post-sentencing penalties, was £153,360.

What happened?

Whilst an employee was emptying oil from a fat fryer in March 2015 the oil spilled and scalded the employees feet

Environmental Health Officer, Rosemary Naylor, investigated the case and found that:

  • the oil was transferred whilst hot rather than waiting until it had cooled to below 40°C
  • the metal bucket should have had a lid, but didn’t
  • the PPE provided was so large that staff could not safely use it so it was not effective
  • No site specific risk assessment had been recorded identifying extra hazards such as the need to transport oil in buckets via metal steps
  • Clear and freely available HSE guidance was not followed

As a result of the scalding injuries, Mr Firth was off work for more than a month and was left with scarring. He received a civil payment for his injuries from KFG Quickserve.

This unique case demonstrates the impact the sentencing guidelines have had this year and the importance of ensuring your organisation remains compliant. CSC are happy to advise if you are unsure about what steps you should be taking to keep you, your team and your customers safe.