Faulty drink machine caused deaths of teens at Peru McDonald's

Faulty drink machine caused deaths of teens at Peru McDonald's
December 21, 2019
December 21, 2019 9:03 PM EST
A man protests outside a closed McDonald's restaurant, after the deaths of two teenaged employees, in Lima, Peru December 21, 2019. (REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo)
LIMA — The general manager of the company that operates McDonald’s restaurants in Peru told local television that the beverage machine at the restaurant where two employees were fatally electrocuted last weekend had experienced an electrical fault but it was not reported to the company’s maintenance department.
Relatives of the two employees who were killed and about 80 other people protested against McDonald’s in a suburb of Lima on Saturday afternoon.
“The information, unfortunately, that the machine was not working and giving people shocks was only known within the local managers and was not escalated so that immediate action could be taken,” José Andrade, general manager of Arcos Dorados Peru , which has the franchise for all the McDonald’s restaurants in Peru, told Peruvian television station Canal N on Friday night.
The two employees who were killed, Alexandra Porras, 18, and Carlos Gabriel Campo, 19, were electrocuted last Sunday in Pueblo Libre, a district of the capital, while cleaning the kitchen, police said.
On Saturday, protesters carried posters bearing the victims’ photos and slogans reading: “Justice for Alexa and Gabriel,” who relatives said were a couple who had been working for the fast-food chain for several months.
Story continues below
A lawyer acting for the victims´ relatives, Elizabeth Carmona, said she had asked the prosecution on Friday for McDonald’s and Arcos Dorados representatives in Peru to be detained.
“The evidence of the criminal experts has determined that a power leak caused the deaths,” she said.
Rocío Zapata, Gabriel’s mother, claimed that the restaurant did not offer proper training to its employees. “Who is going to give back our children?” she said.
Arcos Dorados, which owns and operates McDonald’s Corp restaurants throughout Latin America, said on Wednesday it had shut all 29 McDonald’s Peru restaurants to conduct safety inspections.
The company said that it paid “competitive” salaries, took seriously concerns raised about working conditions and that workers’ shifts never exceed eight hours.
“What we have been able to determine through internal investigations is that at least 24 hours before this happened, it was known that the machine was presenting problems,” Andrade said. “What they ought to have done is to stop using the machine, even disconnect it.
“This has hit us all very hard and we are working hard to review all our processes, all our protocols, to ensure such a thing does not happen again,” he said.
A spokesman for Arcos Dorados did not immediately respond to the claims by its general manager.
Peruvian McDonalds franchisee violated law over worker deaths: Watchdog
December 26, 2019
December 26, 2019 7:38 PM EST
People protest outside of a closed McDonald's restaurant, after the the deaths of two teenaged employees, in Lima, Peru, Dec. 21, 2019. Guadalupe Pardo / REUTERS
SANTIAGO — Peru’s labour watchdog has found McDonald’s Corp´s Latin America franchisee Arcos Dorados guilty of six “very serious” violations of local safety and health laws following the deaths of two employees in a restaurant kitchen.
Deaths of Peruvian McDonald's workers under investigation
The Ministry of Labour´s regulating body (Sunafil) proposed that the company be fined US$254,000 over the deaths.
Alexandra Porras, 18, and Carlos Campo, 19 were electrocuted last Sunday in Pueblo Libre, a district of the capital Lima, while cleaning the kitchen.
Peruvian government firms up labour laws after McDonald's deaths
December 28, 2019
December 28, 2019 11:21 AM EST
Police stand guard outside a closed McDonald's restaurant, during a protest after the deaths of two teenaged employees, in Lima, Peru December 21, 2019. (REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo)
LIMA — Peru´s government on Friday night announced measures to strengthen penalties for companies found responsible for workplace accidents, days after two McDonald´s franchisee workers died in one of its restaurants.
Minister of Labour Sylvia Caceres said from now on there would be an automatic closure of 10 to 20 days of businesses where accidents happened to allow for a full investigation, which could extend to 30 days if the company´s responsibility for the accident was determined.
“Closure (for the 30-day maximum) will be considered when it has been determined that the employer has breached its obligations and thereby affected the health and life of its workers,” Caceres told a news conference on Friday night.
She made no mention of the deaths of Alexandra Porras, 18, and Carlos Campo, 19, a young couple who died by electrocution while cleaning the kitchen of a McDonald´s restaurant operated by its Latin American franchisee Arcos Dorados.
The general manager of the McDonald’s operating firm in Peru said in an interview with local TV that the drinks supply machine at the restaurant was suffering from an electrical fault that its managers had not reported to the company´s maintenance department.
Story continues below
This week the labour inspection agency found Arcos Dorados Peru guilty of six “very serious” safety and health violations that caused the death of pair and proposed the company be fined $254,000.
Caceres said that fines for fatal accidents “have no relevance if they do not even affect the operation of the company economically.”
“We believe that this is a step forward to reinforce the dissuasive capacity that the labour inspectorate must exert for employers who deliberately and irresponsibly breach their obligations and affect the health of our workers,” she said.
Arcos Dorados said last week that all 29 McDonald’s restaurants in Peru would remain closed until they finished their own site inspections.