£170k fine after restaurant chef badly burnt by unsafe oven
A company has been fined £170,000 and two men given suspended sentences after the restaurant they used to run continued with business as usual after the chef was badly burnt by a faulty tandoori oven.
Mr Jabed Miah received burns to his face, ears, hair, hands and arms when his clothing was set alight by the blow back after he lit a piece of paper to ignite the gas because the ignition switch did not work, a judge heard.
He had complained about its condition to Mahbubur Chowdhury, manager of the Alachi International Restaurant - which is now under new management - in Highgate Street, Old Hill, Cradley Heath and Khalid Hussain, director of Alachi Takeaway Ltd, the firm that ran it, but nothing happened, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Staff used pliers to operate the on/off switch for the oven with gas copper piping that had not been soldered and was held together with white polythene foam and sticky tape from which gas was leaking, revealed Mr Mark Jackson, prosecuting on behalf of Sandwell Council, who observed: "It was an accident waiting to happen."
Mr Miah was badly hurt at the restaurant on November 7 2017 but as he was treated in hospital the restaurant went on as if nothing had happened.
It should have made an injury report to the authorities within ten days but said nothing, leaving the chef to alert them on November 22 which was passed to Sandwell Council the following day, prompting an immediate investigation.
The tandoori oven was still being used as before, ignition push buttons on a different, nine burner cooker were held in place with string and metal wire, continued Mr Jackson. The gas supply to the whole premises was capped off after a gas leak was discovered.
Mr Sham Uddin, defending the two men and the company, conceded: "They are not fit to run a business of this nature. They were negligent, reckless, ignorant and out of their depth but Mr Miah has been compensated through their insurance company."
Chowdhury, aged 45, from Talfourd Street and 53-year-old Hussain of Somerville Road, both Small Heath, each admitted five breaches of health and safety legislation and received ten month jail terms suspended for two years with 150 hours unpaid work together with a five year ban on being a company director or manager and £4,000 costs.
The company must pay £4,300 costs with its fine within 12 months.