McDonalds fined £20K for employee eye injury

The UK arms of fast food corporation McDonalds has been successfully sued by Wandsworth Council after an employee sustained serious eye and face injuries whilst at work in a local branch.

The employee, who worked as a maintenance operative at the McDonald’s drive-thru outlet in Wandsworth Bridge, was unblocking a drain using a sulphuric acid-based drain cleaning solution when the incident occurred. The employee was pouring the liquid down the drain when it blew back in his face, causing partial blindness in his left eye and serious burns to his face and eyes.

South Western Magistrates court heard how the employee was given money by the company to buy the corrosive liquid, which he did with the full knowledge of his manager. In fact, he bought two bottles as the first was not effective enough.

Following the incident, Wandsworth Council has pursued the case in court on behalf of the injured maintenance operative. McDonald’s was ordered to pay out £20,000 for breaching safety at work laws, presumably using employers’ liability insurance to cover the cost.

Councillor Sarah McDermott, the council’s environment spokesperson, explained in what way the company had been negligent in its duties towards the employee, saying:

“Their member of staff was given money by his managers to buy a very hazardous product.

“No risk assessment was carried out to ensure this product was safe to use, he was not properly supervised while using it, he was not given any training to reduce the risk of an accident, nor was he provided with protective clothing.”

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