Just 1 violation found at BBQ joint where employee burned

LIMERICK — An Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the restaurant where a female employee was seriously burned in May turned up just one violation.

Citation documents acquired by Digital First Media showed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inquiry into Dickie’s Barbecue Pit off of Lewis Road in Limerick showed that the only violation involved not giving employees enough information or training for using certain cleaning chemicals.

“Employees were not provided effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area at the time of their initial assignment and whenever a new hazard that the employees had not been previously trained about was introduced into their work area,” read the citation, issued July 7.

Those chemicals included “quaternary sanitizer, floor cleaner, degreaser, glass cleaner, [and] general purpose cleaner,” according to OSHA.

The violation was classified as “serious” and carries a proposed fine of $1,020.

May 5, an 18-year-old woman working at the Limerick Dickie’s location suffered serious burns when hot cooking oil somehow accidentally dumped over her. Emergency personnel rushed her to a waiting helicopter in the front lawn of Brook Elementary School with burns to her head and upper body. Initial reports indicated the unnamed victim was burned over 30 percent of her body.

She was flown to Temple University Hospital where she underwent surgery.

Last reported to be in stable condition, her current status is not known.

OSHA conducted an inspection of the restaurant two days after the initial incident.

Only the violation related to cleaning products was found.

“The recent inspection of your workplace revealed no instances of repeated, willful or failure-to-abate violations, nor were there a significant number of high gravity serious violations,” the OSHA report said. “Additionally, the compliance officer has reported that you have a good understanding of the actions necessary to correct the violations cited and that you are willing to make those corrections by the dates specified in the attached citation.”

Because of that, Dickie’s qualifies for an “expedited informal settlement agreement” which would allow the company to avoid a “formal” meeting with the area office of OSHA.

If agreed to, the penalty could be reduced by 25 percent if Dickie’s complies with making “abatements” to its violation by the start of August.

Those at the local Dickie’s restaurant where the incident took place directed all inquires to the corporate offices in Texas.

“We intend to comply fully with any of their requirements,” said Jami Zimmerman, director of public relations with Dickie’s coprorate arm. “We want to make sure any of our restaurants are up to their standards.”

Dickie’s could contest the violation within 15 days of receiving the citation.

Although she did not have any official word, Zimmerman believes Dickie’s will not contest it.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno