The workers at Fiddlers Green Irish Bar and Restaurant were severely burned last February, when they attempted to pour commercial-grade caustic soda into the kitchen drain, the Brisbane Times reports.
Southport Industrial Magistrates Court heard that staff had warned management about the blocked drain but nothing had been done to address the issue.
The staff took matters into their own hands but failed to read the chemical labels or safety information on the container.
The court heard that the contents of the drain “erupted like a volcano”, and hit the kitchen ceiling.
The head chef suffered burns to his arms, face, left leg and left eye.
He spent six days in hospital and required a skin graft after the incident.
The 20-year-old apprentice chef suffered burns to her face, thighs, left arm and eyes.
The restaurant’s operator, Garris New Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty in breaching the Workplace Health and Safety Act.
The court heard that the company failed to prepare and implement a safe system of work in the use of chemicals.
Magistrate Brian Kilmartin said the restaurant operator was “irresponsible” for ignoring the blocked drain and for neglecting the health and safety of staff.
It was noted that the company co-operated with the investigation and has since put detailed safety procedures into place.
The operator was fined $75,000 and was ordered to pay costs of $3,757.