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Fast food workers challenge workplace safety

As some Pennsylvania workers may know, fast food workers face challenges from burn injuries. Multiple complaints have been filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The workers contend that workplace safety is compromised due to working conditions.

According to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's poll of 1,400 workers, 79 percent of workers in the fast food industry report being burned at work, and 58 percent suffered more than one such event. Around 33 percent who suffered burns said the on-site manager told them to apply butter, mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup.

The same survey listed about 33 percent of workers claiming that the first aid kit was not accessible, complete or was missing. Over half of the burns, according to the survey, happened when the worker was using the deep fryer, and 20 percent had damaged or missing protective equipment. The survey reported that 46 percent of workers felt company policies such as understaffing and insistence that workers perform tasks quicker led to the burns.

OSHA has confirmed that burn-injury complaints were received from workers at McDonald's. The Service Employees International Union reports that McDonald's workers in 19 cities nationwide complained about company failure to offer ways to protect against burns as well as inappropriate ways to treat the burns. OSHA has investigated six out of 28 complaints and said the investigations will continue. OSHA, as per policy, has not commented on the complaints pending investigative results.

A worker has the right to expect due diligence by an employer to prevent workplace injuries. Depending on the circumstances in the case, a worker may be able to receive workers' compensation when he or she is injured at work. Consulting with an attorney to see if the worker is eligible for such benefits may be beneficial.

Source: RT News, "'Put mustard on it': McDonald's workers sue over workplace burns," March 16, 2015

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