Cinema fined $20k over deep fryer burns to manager’s arms and legs

Readings Cinema Epping has been fined after a manager suffered horrific oil burns when a deep fryer splashed onto him.

A Melbourne cinema manager suffered excruciating oil burns on his hands, arms and legs when hot oil from a deep fryer splashed onto him, a court has heard.

Reading Cinemas was on Friday hit with a massive fine over the “terrible” suffering one of its supervisors endured at its Epping cinema in 2018.

The company had previously pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe working environment and failing to provide proper workplace training, but the case has been repeatedly delayed through the courts.

Court documents show staff did not have proper training in how to operate the three “perfect fry” deep fryers the cinema used to cook snacks for gold lounge guests.

The supervisor tried to fix a glitch with one of the fryers while the oil was still hot, first by unplugging it at the wall, then by checking the heating element.

He was carrying a vat of hot oil with a paper towel in his hands, but lost his grip on it and spilt 180C oil on his hands, arms and legs.

Colleagues took him to the freezer, and tried to cool the burns off, before walking him to the Northern Hospital emergency department, 600m away.

He was in hospital for three weeks, and had to endure multiple skin graft surgeries and painful debridement procedures.

Magistrate Denise Livingstone described his injuries as “terrible” and the Heidelberg Magistrates Court has previously heard the injuries meant he could no longer compete as a bodybuilder, that he still had serious scars on his legs, and that he doesn’t want to undergo any more painful surgeries to get rid of scars.

In a victim impact statement, he said the pain of the hot oil was “unlike anything I had felt” before.

The cinema’s barrister, Mark Gumbleton, told the Heidelberg Magistrates Court the company did not blame its employee for the burns he suffered.

He has since returned to work, and is now an “extremely valued member of its management”.

Staff members are now trained to clean the fryers safely, court documents say.

But Ms Livingstone said: “I just can’t treat this as less than a serious oversight”.

She said the cinema had a clean record around the country, but largely rejected a request to reduce the fine imposed on the company because of the 50 per cent revenue decline it had suffered since the pandemic began.

Ms Livingstone fined the company $20,000 without conviction.

Source: Herald Sun

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