Apprentice mechanic at Petit Forestier car rental agency in Avonmouth, Harry Hayward suffered serious burns when a colleague turned the toilet cubicle he was sat in into an inferno.
John McCarthy, 22, poured brake and clutch fluid underneath the cubicle door before setting it ablaze with a lighter.
Harry suffered 13.5 per cent burns and was rushed to hospital, where he remained for a week.
Prosecutor Julian Howells said: “He realised he was in a lot of trouble.
“His overalls were alight and he felt terrible and intense pain to his legs and arms.
“He ran out of the cubicle and saw the defendant. He noticed the defendant had a look of shock on his face and shouted ‘sorry’.”
McCarthy, who said the prank usually involved people using spray bottles to ignite fluid, immediately assisted in putting out the flames.
Post traumatic stress
McCarthy was suspended, while Mr Hayward returned to work at the garage but was not able to use brake or clutch fluid or use the toilet where the incident occurred.
Defending, Catherine Spedding, said: “There is an element of age and a lack of maturity.
“This is a young man who has learnt his lesson is a low risk of re-offending and is unlikely to take such stupid risks in future.”
McCarthy pleaded guilty to wounding in August 2016.
The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC spared him jail, sentencing him to 18 months suspended for two years.
McCarthy was ordered to pay his victim £7,500 compensation in 12 months and carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Judge Blair said: “I’ve been within a hair’s breadth of passing that as an immediate sentence.
“But that would be a negative outcome from everybody’s point of view.”
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