Subway sentenced after woman trapped in chiller overnight
Subway, the fast food restaurant franchise, has been sentenced after a woman spent the night trapped in a chiller after a door handle stopped working.
Mr Vicoli, CM Ventures Limited the franchisee of a Gloucester food outlet was found guilty of failing to comply with section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. M
The Court were told that the incident happened late one evening on 29 December 2014 at Subway in Gloucester’s Kings Walk, involving a female lone worker. The woman had needed to go into the walk-in chiller but when she tried to get out she found the internal handle to release the door was not working.
Despite her attempts to open the door the employee remained trapped in the chiller where she remained all night until she was discovered when a colleague opened the store the next morning. Food safety legislation requires that the temperature in the chiller was maintained at or below 5OC and it is therefore fortunate that she did not suffer any lasting health effects from her ordeal.
Employees interviewed as part of the investigation had stated that the internal handle was damaged and that Mr Vicoli had been informed of the issue but that the handle had not been repaired or replaced until after the incident had occurred.
Concerns were also raised concerning the lone working procedures and policies in operation at the time of the incident. As a result the lone working risk assessment was reviewed and revised following the incident.
William Lacombe, Health and Safety Officer at Gloucester City Council, said: “In this case there was a failure to comply with health and safety legislation and if simple repairs had been made the incident would have been avoided. The owner of the franchise had been made aware of the faulty door handle but had not taken any action to put things right”.
Mr Vicoli was sentenced in Cheltenham Magistrates Court on 2 November 2015 and ordered to pay a fine of £4,000 and costs of £1,950.
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