Burger King accused of more unsafe practices

Another Burger King worker has spoken out about poor health and safety practices at the fast food chain.

It follows the case of Abby Holland, who claims she was assaulted by her manager at a west Auckland branch.

Now, Nicole Stevenson claims she got an electric shock while cleaning at a Dunedin Burger King, and claims the company failed to notify WorkSafe NZ.

It's been two months since Ms Stevenson suffered the injury and she says she's still feeling the effects.

"It's kind of a muscle pain it's in between there in my veins," she says.

"It's quite sore - kind of like when you do weights, it's quite heavy on your arms."

The 23-year-old was cleaning behind a fryer at Burger King's Andersons Bay store when it happened.

"There was lots of water there and I scrubbed it and I got three big shocks from a chain on the side of the fryer," says Ms Stevenson.

An ambulance was called, but she opted to visit a GP instead, and was prescribed medication for her pain.

Ms Stevenson says her manager wrote an incident report, but she claims it was never passed on to WorkSafe. The union says it was then left to them to flag it with the agency.

Ms Stevenson says she's now had to cut back her hours.

"On night shift we have to do scrubbing - doing dishes and stuff, and I can't do it. I get upset at work because it hurts so much."

In another case at Auckland's Burger King in Westgate, the union says the company put workers' lives at risk.

In a video shot by an employee, water pours over electrical equipment during last month's weather bomb.

The union claims its members were forced to keep working, and says the leaky roof still hasn't been properly repaired or replaced.

It believes both incidents could have been avoided if there were employee health and safety representatives in those stores.

"Workers should be able to look after their own health and safety as they are legally entitled to," says Gary Cranston of Unite Union.

"But the response from the company suggests that they actively want to prevent that from happening."

New laws introduced just over a year ago allow workers to elect one of their own to manage health and safety concerns.

But the union says Burger King makes it difficult by restricting which employees are eligible.

"The company could effectively eliminate anyone they want from being a health and safety rep through claiming that their performance is not excellent or if they haven't worked for the company for 12 months," says Mr Cranston.

The union says staff who work less than an average of 30 hours a week are also ruled out, making it difficult in a workforce that has a lot of part-timers

Burger King says it takes health and safety seriously, and claims it's concluded its process with WorkSafe over the incident involving Ms Stevenson. It says WorkSafe has visited the restaurant and is happy with Burger King's response to the incident.

But WorkSafe has told Newshub there's no outcome yet, as the investigation is ongoing.


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