Subway fined over £6,000 after employee was trapped in chiller

Subway fined over £6,000 after employee was trapped in chiller

A Subway store has been fined thousands of pounds after employee Karlee Daubeney spent the night locked in a fridge last December.

Daubeney was working the late shift by herself and went to put milk in the chiller at 11:15pm. The door closed behind her, and she was stuck there until 7:30am the next morning, when a colleague arrived for the day shift to open up.

Upon realising her situation, she wrote ‘help’ in ketchup on cardboard and slid it under the door, hoping that it would be seen on CCTV, but it wasn’t.

Speaking at the case, Daubeney said: "At first I was in a state of panic and I was looking for anything that could have opened the door. I was trying to write 'help' on pieces of cardboard to slide under the door. I think it was with ketchup.

"It got to the stage I was so cold I didn't have the energy to bang on the door and I only had leggings and a Subway top on. My muscles became so cold I found it really hard to walk for a few days; I had migraines and dry skin around my nose.

"When I went to hospital the next day I was told I was close to having hypothermia and I made myself as warm as I could when I got home."

The franchise responsible appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates Court yesterday regarding the incident.

According to The Gloucester Citizen, the court was told that staff were told not to carry phones with them any time.

Pleading guilty, Christopher Vicoli, franchisee of the store since April 2011, accepted that this policy was not up to scratch. It has now been amended. The court also heard that the handle of the chiller had been broken for some time before Daubeney was locked in.

When issuing the sentence, Chairman of the bench Dorothy Marshall said: "Mr Vicoli you have a good previous record at Subway. There was a greater risk of harm which fortunately did not arise. I am fining you £4,000, and it would have been £5,000 but for your change of plea, company accounts and summary."

The fine was broken down into £250 legal costs, £1,700 in costs for the preparation of the case, £120 victim surcharge and £4,000 penalty for breaching the Health and Safety Workplace Act 1974.

CM Ventures, who run the franchise for the store, have been charged with health and safety offences.  

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