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Labor activists speak out about fast food worker burn injuries

Workplace burn injuries may be a serious problem for fast food workers in Colorado. According to information provided by the labor campaign 'Fight for 15", there have been 28 complaints made to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by McDonald's restaurant workers across the U.S. Workers are alleging that they suffered from serious burns on the job due to a lack of protective equipment, under-staffing and pressure to be fast.

Although OSHA has reportedly conducted investigations into six of the claims, it is the agency's policy to refrain from issuing any comments until investigations are complete. However, the organizing director for 'Fight for 15" has spoken out about the workplace injury problem at fast food restaurants. She says that the understaffed restaurants are asking their workers to produce food faster, and workers are being burned as a result.

Claims by labor activists have been backed up by a survey of fast food workers that was conducted by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. Among the 1,400 fast food workers who were polled, 87 percent said that they had been injured on the job, and 79 percent said that they had sustained a workplace burn injury. Treatment of burn injuries was also shown to be a serious problem, as more than one-third of fast food workers who had been burned said that their manager told them to treat their burn with mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup.

If investigators find safety violations at a restaurant, OSHA may issue citations and fine the restaurant. However, an injured worker may file a claim for workers' compensation benefits regardless of what OSHA investigators determine about the cause of the accident.

Source: RT.com, "'Put mustard on it': McDonald's workers sue over workplace burns," March 16, 2015

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