A Gold Coast-based bar and restaurant has been fined after two kitchen workers suffered from chemical burns to their eyes, face and body.
News Limited reported that the two workers suffered from severe burns in February 2011, after they poured commercial grade caustic soda into a drain, without following standard safety procedures.
The 20-year-old apprentice chef was hospitalised with burns to her face, thighs, left arm and eyes. She had to be treated in the intensive care unit of the Gold Coast Hospital, and was later on transferred to the specialist burns unit of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
The head chef also suffered burns particularly to his face, arms, left leg and left eye. He was hospitalised for six days and underwent skin grafting to his knee.
According to prosecutors, the contents of the drain exploded, sending materials flying past the workers and even splattering on the kitchen’s ceiling.
The restaurant operator pleaded guilty in Southport Industrial Magistrates Court on Monday to breaching the Workplace Health and Safety Act.
The court heard the company failed to prepare and implement a safe system of work in the use of chemicals at the restaurant.
Industrial Magistrate Brian Kilmartin fined the company $75,000 and ordered them to pay investigation, professional and court costs of $3757.
In sentencing, Magistrate Kilmartin recognised that the restaurant had acted upon the notices issued by the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and established work safety measures.