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Fast-food workers make complaints to OSHA

Twenty-eight fast-food workers in 19 cities have filed a joint complaint against McDonald's, alleging unsafe working conditions and managerial indifference to worker injury. Among the problems mentioned in the complaint were poor training with regard to handling hot substances such as fryer grease, workers being forced to work at a pace that precluded appropriate safety precautions, and a manager who told one employee to use mayonnaise to treat a burn. The complaints may affect McDonald's operations from New York to California.

McDonald's refutes the content of the complaints, saying the allegations are part of a public relations attack on the fast-food giant. The company has promised to look into the reports of workplace injury but claims the company and its franchisees are highly motivated to provide a safe workplace for people working in 14,000 locations nationwide.

Some points the allegations specifically address are improper safety equipment for cleaning fryers and forcing workers to clean grills while they are still hot. Burns related to fryer cleaning and use account for over half of all burn injuries workers suffer. Out of the 19 locations specified in the complaints, six have been visited by OSHA investigators thus far. The investigation may take up to 6 months and result in a $7,000 fine per "serious" incident documented by the investigative team.

When undertaking an injured worker case, an attorney might begin by reviewing any workplace conditions that may have led to the injury, both prior to and at the time of the incident. This may include training procedures, accident reports, complaints from workers and prior workers' compensation claims. The attorney might pursue the case in litigation, but it's more likely that the worker is covered by workers' compensation insurance.

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