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Fast Food Workers File Burn Complaints

As fast food workers in 19 cities file safety complains, a new study says that workplace injuries are widespread in the industry.

Fast food restaurant workers in 19 cities filed 28 complaints with federal and state health and safety officials alleging that their workplaces are unsafe and their employers have done little to protect them.

“I’ve been repeatedly burned on the job,” Brittney Berry, who has worked at McDonald’s in Chicago since 2011, said today on a press call. “The managers constantly push us to work fast.” Berry says on one occasion, she slipped on the greasy floor while rushing to meet her manager’s demands and burned herself on the grill.

The complaints, made against McDonald’s stores, say that store managers pressure workers to operate too quickly, and that workers rarely know where to find first aid kits. Instead, workers say managers have told them to apply mustard to burns.

McDonald's told Reuters the company and its franchisees are committed to providing safe working conditions for employees working at the roughly 14,000 U.S. McDonald's restaurants. "We will review these allegations," Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, a spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The complaints were coordinated by the Fight For $15 campaign, which has been leading day-long fast food worker walk-outs demanding raises and right to unionize. A survey commissioned by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, an advocacy group, which was also released today found that the majority of fast food workers say they’ve been injured while working. The study, conducted by Hart Research, found the four of five fast food workers have been burned.

-- Seth Freed Wessler