A WELL-KNOWN chippie has been fined £75,000 after several staff members were burnt by hot oil after an accident.

Bizzie Lizzie's was sentenced at York Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, January 14, by District Judge Lower after pleading guilty to one offence.

That was for "Failing to Ensure the Health and Safety of their Employees" under Section 2 (1) and Section 33 (1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

It was in relation to an incident involving changing of fat from the frying range at the company's Main High Street Car Park premises, in Skipton.

Ben Thomas, of Park Square Barristers, brought the case to court on behalf of Craven District Council.

In total, Bizzie Lizzie's was fined £75,000, ordered to pay £1980 in costs to Craven District Council - which brought the prosecution to court - and a surcharge of £170.

Three staff members suffered burn injuries, after a bin filled with hot used fat toppled over, on September 26, 2018.

Two workers - one who had been at the chippie for 17 years at that time - decided to change the fat while the shop was still open and serving, after midday.

The sentence opening stated that the experienced staff member recalled feeling the heat coming from the bin where the old fat was being pumped into.

It continued: "He then recalled pointing his foot at the bin and about ten seconds later the bin fell over him pouring fat all over his legs from the knee downwards."

The incident was caught on CCTV.

Carrying out the procedure as they did was contrary to Bizzie Lizzie's "Risk Assessment" for the task which listed the requirements for completing it in a safe manner.

Only trained and authorised staff can undertake it, the temperature of the fat should be below 95 degrees Celcius and it must be removed in the morning before opening.

This protocol was flaunted by the two individuals, as the fat was being pumped out of the range when it was still too hot and while serving customers.

But, the sentence opening outlined: "There is evidence that three staff members, including two managers, believed that it was acceptable for the fat to be changed during the course of the day.

"The fact that three members of staff believed that this was acceptable, when it was contrary to the Defendant's risk assessment and procedure shows a lack of proper training, supervision and compliance with procedures in the Defendant's business."

The experienced worker also indicated there was no written procedure for carrying out the task.

He suffered burns to his lower legs and did not return to work until the middle of November 2018.

One staff member, who was changing a rubbish bin near the oil bin, was also burnt and off work for three days.

There was a final worker injured by the hot fat and they had to apply cold water to the affected site over the following days.

The sentence opening outlined that Bizzie Lizzie's was assumed to be a micro-company, with a turnover no more than £2 million.

This gave a starting point of £30,000 and a sentencing range of £14,000 to £70,000.

But, it was found that Bizzie Lizzie's has a turnover in excess of £2 million.

This meant the business was pushed into the "small company" bracket.

Paul Shevlin, chief executive of Craven District Council, said after the sentencing: "The council takes breaches of health and safety legislation very seriously.

"It’s vitally important that businesses protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees.

"This prosecution was pursued in the public interest due to the risk of harm to employees and members of the public.

"The Health and Safety Executive has clear information about safety during the emptying and cleaning of fryers and all businesses in this sector should follow these guidelines.

"We hope that all businesses will take note of the importance of health and safety legislation, and the wellbeing of their employees."

The judge gave credit to Bizzie Lizzie's for their guilty plea and for the fact that they had taken steps following the incident to mitigate further risks.

He also gave them credit for their cooperation in the investigation, that they were a reputable company, and that they had no previous health and safety convictions.