A cleaner working in a Gatwick hotel kitchen was seriously scalded when his foot slipped into a deep fat fryer.
And on Friday the cleaning company for which the man worked was fined £37,500 for a breach of failing in its duty under the Health and Savety at Work Act 1974.
The firm - MacDet Hygiene Cleaning Services - was also ordered to pay costs of £13,002.58 at Lewes Crown Court, sitting at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.
The company, which had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170.
The court heard how the accident happened on the evening of 23/24 September 2014 in the kitchen of the Premier Inn at Longbridge Way at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.
The responsibility for the breach of health and safety was due to the failings of MacDet and not Premier Inn, the court heard.
Two MacDet employees attended the kitchen to clean the kitchen’s extractor system. One of the employees was cleaning the canopy above the deep fat fryer and its ducting. He stood on one of the filters from the canopy, which was not designed for this purpose, and slipped. His foot went into the hot oil of the fryer causing serious burns to his foot and he then fell to the floor.
The incident was reported by the company, which resulted in an investigation by Crawley Borough Council. The investigation concluded that there had been a breach of the company’s health and safety duties and a prosecution began earlier this year.
The company had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failed to ensure adequate training of the staff and to ensure all the essential equipment was available before carrying out the operation, said the council. The company was allowed 12 months to pay.
Councillor Geraint Thomas, cabinet member for environmental services and sustainability at Crawley Borough Council, said: “We take cases like these very seriously and investigate them thoroughly.
“It’s vitally important that businesses keep their staff safe and take their health and safety responsibilities seriously.”