Restaurant bosses slapped with suspended sentences after oven exploded in chef's face

20 December 2019 by
Restaurant bosses slapped with suspended sentences after oven exploded in chef's face

Two restaurant bosses have been slapped with suspended prison sentences after a chef suffered serious burns when a tandoor oven exploded in his face.

Former director Khalid Hussain and former manager Mahbubur Rahman Chowdhury were told by a judge they had shown a "flagrant disregard" for the law.

The court had heard that a tandoor oven at the Alachi International restaurant in Cradley Heath, West Midlands, was leaking gas and had no ignition switch.

Chefs had been turning the oven on and off using a set of pliers and lighting it with a flaming piece of paper. The pipework, which was leaking gas, had been held together with foam and Sellotape.

Leaking gas was ignited when an employee tried to light the oven in November 2017 and it exploded, setting alight the clothing of the chef who sustained burns to his face, ears, hands and arm, requiring hospital treatment.

The court heard that Hussain and Chowdhury had failed to report the incident as required by the law. Safety checks also found that flame failure devices on other gas appliances in the restaurant's kitchen were either missing or had been bypassed.

The ignition buttons on a large cooker were held in place with string and metal wire and a smaller cooker had a twisted gas pipe, with the safety chains missing.

Hussain, Chowdhury and Alachi Restaurant Limited were prosecuted by Sandwell Council's environmental health and legal teams and appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court for sentencing on Monday (16 December).

The defendants and the company pleaded guilty to 10 health and safety offences, including that the oven was unsafe and that gas regulations had been breached.

Alachi Restaurant Limited was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £4,300 towards costs.

Each defendant was also ordered to pay £4,000 in costs and sentenced to a total of 38 months in prison for the various offences - to run concurrently over 10 months - suspended for two years. The defendants were also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and were disqualified from acting as a company director for five years.

The restaurant is now under new ownership.

Cllr Farut Shaeen said: "We hope this prosecution and the level of fine handed out by the court sends the message to other restaurants that maintaining gas appliances safely is of paramount importance."

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