Business services firm Deloitte has banned staff from walking on hot coals after a bizarre fire-walking incident at a staff confidence-building exercise.
A senior accountant burned her feet walking on hot embers, was taken to hospital and ended up taking a fortnight off work, after taking part in the exercise in a car park in Southwark, south London, reports the Times.
In properly controlled conditions, firewalking is supposed to be safe, and thousands of workers have done it. The accountant, however, had been given a pedicure a few days before the course and it is thought that some of the chemicals used had made her feet more sensitive to the heat.
The motivational course was conducted by Si Group, a corporate development firm that has carried out firewalking exercises for five years.
At Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court, Si Group was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £4,655 in costs after admitting that it had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment.
Andy Wolfe, the chief executive of Si Group, based in central London, said: “We deeply regret what happened. We’ve learnt from this experience.”
Deloitte still uses Si Group for motivational courses, but has banned its accountants and other employees from firewalking.