A former Nando’s waitress is suing the chicken chain after a cleaning product allegedly ‘melted her skin off’, leaving her with scars she is ashamed of.
Mairi Espie, 21, says she was seriously injured when some of the product from a cleaning detergent she was emptying out soaked through her clothes.
The liquid was so corrosive that it burned straight through her jeans and melted layers of her skin off on her right thigh, the Daily Record reports.
Nando’s “strongly disputes” Mairi’s allegations.
The recent graduate from Dundee, Scotland ended up needing special treatment at A&E and although the wound has now healed up, Mairi says she has been left with a permanent scar on her leg.
“It was absolute agony – it felt like my leg was on fire,” she said.
“I’m now left with a permanent scar in a really prominent place on my body.
“The burn was so painful. It took months to heal properly but it’s the scarring that upset me the most. I’ve got scars on both my legs due to the splash going everywhere but it’s the right thigh that’s the worst.”
She added: “It makes me feel so nervous to wear shorts or skirts.”
Mairi’s injury happened in December 2019 at the Nando’s restaurant in Nethergate, Dundee.
She recalled being tasked with changing the detergent in the dishwasher, but when she removed the old bottle from the appliance, it splashed her.
The heavy duty cleaner soaked through her jeans and melted her skin – leaving a three-inch sore that needed hospital treatment.
Mairi, who graduated from Abertay University in July with a degree in criminology, went on to add: “I wasn’t given any special apron or gloves or anything – we were just kind of expected to crack on.
“A legal action is not something I wanted to do but I felt I didn’t have a choice because after it all happened I felt like Nando’s just fobbed me off like it was nothing.
“But it’s not – how could the skin melting off your leg be nothing? If nothing else, I just hope it makes things safer for other people as there must be people all over the country who work in hospitality and see injuries like this all the time and think it’s part of the job, but it’s not.”
Mairi has now launched legal action against the restaurant.
The case – which called in court earlier this week – sets out that Nando’s was responsible as it failed to carry out a risk assessment, failed to provide Mairi with PPE and failed to provide proper training.
Simon Hammond, Partner at Digby Brown in Edinburgh, the firm helping Mairi with an employer liability claim, said: “Workplace injuries are sadly a very common occurrence but what’s really unfortunate is just how avoidable they are.
“If Nando’s followed simple protective measures then Mairi would not have suffered like she has and you only need to look at the photo of her burn to imagine the pain she must have felt.”
A Nando’s spokesperson said: “We strongly dispute these allegations. We cannot provide any further comment given this is an ongoing case.”