"Put some mustard on it" is a surprisingly common refrain among McDonald's managers, according to a new survey.

The survey, by Hart Research Associates, found a lot of things, some more surprising than others. The discovery that 4/5 of all workers surveyed have suffered burns on the job isn't a big surprise; I'd be shocked to hear of anyone who's worked in food service longer than a year and hasn't suffered some sort of burn or cut as part of the job. What's a lot more surprising is that when they informed management of the burns, a full 1/3 of those surveyed reported that managers brushed it off by telling them to treat it with a condiment and get back to work.

Again, if you're shocked that managers treated on-the-job burns as no big deal, you are supremely naive about what food service workers go through. That's a regular part of the job, and it's part of the reason unionization would be so helpful to them. Unless you have a really great manager (and I've had a few), you need to be badly wounded for them to take it seriously. Treating those injuries with condiments is a new batshit crazy one to me, though. And while the survey wasn't huge (1,426 people) and was conducted through social media platforms, the fact that anyone, let alone numerous people at different locations were told to treat burns with not medical supplies, but with mustard or mayonnaise, is completely Banana Town.

The survey also tells stories of other gross violations of workplace safety: pressure to clean the fryer while the oil is still hot (unsurprisingly, a common source of burns), the complete lack of protective gear for potentially dangerous tasks (this is also very common, both in fast food and full-service restaurants), greasy/wet floors without stabilizing mats that regularly cause employees to slip and fall, and another one I've run into personally that...well, let's just let one of the survey respondents tell it:

"Our first-aid kit is just an empty box," Campbell said on Monday.

Again: I have absolutely no reason to doubt the results of this survey, since I've personally witnessed nearly every single complaint levied as part of it — and in restaurants which were ostensibly far nicer than McDonald's.


Workers in 19 cities have, over the past two weeks, filed 28 health and safety complaints against the company. Here's hoping it has an effect.

Image via LesPalenik/Shutterstock.