Burned workers file complaints against McDonald's

Pennsylvania residents may be interested to learn that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the complaints of 28 McDonald's employees who claim they suffered burns while working at the fast-food chain. The allegations, which were reported earlier in March, were made by workers in 19 different cities around the country.

According to the workers, the company does not properly train its employees to safely handle hamburger grease and hot french fry oil, which reaches more than 335 degrees Fahrenheit. Another alleged problem is that the fast-food franchises are chronically understaffed, forcing workers to rush when handling hot pans, grills and ovens. Managers are also accused of not providing proper burn care to injured workers, with some reportedly suggesting the use of condiments on wounds instead of burn cream.

The allegations are backed up by a new survey released by a research firm showing that 79 percent of fast-food workers were burned on the job over the last year. In 2013, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that 3.5 injuries occurred per 100 full-time fast-food workers, which is above the national average of 3.3 for all occupations. So far, OSHA has conducted investigations into six of the locations named in the complaints. For every "serious" violation found, a penalty of up to $7,000 could be assessed. It is not clear whether the locations in question are operated by franchisees or owned by the company itself.

Most Pennsylvania workers are covered under their employer's workers' compensation insurance. Anyone who suffers an injury on the job may file a claim for workers' compensation benefits to help cover medical expenses and a portion of any wages lost during recovery. Some may find it helpful to work with an attorney while filing their claim to ensure all the required paperwork is filed and all deadlines are met.

Source: Bloomberg, "McDonald's Workers Get Burned: Complaints Filed on Hot Grease, Risky Conditions," Susan Berfield, March 16, 2015

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