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Cambridge restaurant fined after drain explosion

Cambridge restaurant fined after drain explosion

A restaurant company was ordered to pay £15,000 in fines and costs after one of its chefs was temporarily blinded and severely burned when caustic soda ‘exploded' in his face.

Zhi Qiang Zhang was cleaning the drains at Cambridge restaurant Lucky Star when the incident occurred in May 2013.

Parent firm Malaysian Delights Restaurant Ltd was prosecuted for breaching health and safety rules by Cambridge City Council, reported BBC News.

The company pleaded guilty in Cambridge Magistrates and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay an additional £9,000 in costs.

Frank Harrison, the council's environmental health manager, said that Zhang had been asked to clear a blocked floor drain in the restaurant kitchen when the caustic soda reacted with the contents and "basically exploded in his face".

Harrison added that while the restaurant's food hygiene obligations were well-managed, it had failed to meet health and safety requirements. Steps have since been taken to improve the situation, he said.

The court heard there was "no single language spoken or written by all staff" and made recommendations that all documents and instructions for the use of chemicals be translated accordingly.

The company admitted three breaches of safety regulations including failing to carry out risk assessments for the use of chemicals.

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