The Suffolk-based pubco has been fined £150,000 after its first health and safety prosecution.

Greene King, owners of the Six Bells near Reading, admitted breaching health and safety regulation when Wokingham Borough Council took the case to Reading Magistrates’ Court.

An employee was doused in boiling water in June 2014 after management decided to install a tea urn and told dishwashers to carry scalding water across the kitchen to the sink using cloths to cover their hands.

In mitigation it was said: “This is an organisation that takes its health and safety responsibilities seriously. We have much regret that the young man in this case was injured.

“After this incident there was an immediate investigation into what went wrong and a change in priorities of what to do when a boiler breaks down for longer than expected. It was totally an isolated incident. This is not a case of an action made to cut costs at the expense of health and safety.”

In giving her verdict, Judge Angela Morris said the risk assessment that was made was “woefully inadequate” but applauded Greene King on its otherwise “commendable health and safety record.”

This prosecution is one of many reflecting the increasing trend of prosecuting authorities to bring such cases to court and also the increasing trend of the courts to impose significant financial penalties.

All businesses in the Hospitality and Leisure industry must ensure their employees are kept safe and risk assess the work they are asked to carry out.

We urge businesses to review their health and safety practices and procedures to ensure compliance with their legal obligations.