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Great Britain. Fine on Pret a Manger for trapping a worker in a cold store

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The British chain of fast food restaurants, Pret A Manger, was fined £800,000 for endangering an employee, Skynews reports. A woman employed in one of the chain’s bars was trapped in a cold store. Dressed only in a short-sleeved T-shirt and jeans, the employee spent over two hours in a room where the temperature was -18 degrees.

During the hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the company’s representatives admitted that Pret A Manger was guilty and did not properly take care of the health of its employees.

As the British news station writes, during the investigation it turned out that the company had not carried out an appropriate risk assessment and had not implemented the necessary security procedures.

The woman had to be treated for hypothermia. She tried to keep warm by moving around, although space in the freezer was limited, but after a while she began to feel unwell due to the cold, noticing that her breathing became labored and she lost feeling in her thighs and feet.

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While the employee was trapped, she tried to shield herself from the cold air with cardboard, but she was unable to tear the cardboard with her clenched hands. After two and a half hours, she was found by a friend.

“Let this be a warning”

Using data from Pret’s internal reporting system, it was revealed that there have been several reports of faulty or frozen door opening buttons in reefer stores over the last 19 months.

Westminster Council’s Aicha Less said “skipping basic safety measures can have the most serious consequences.” – Let this be a warning to all companies – she added.

The end may be tragic

Some such stories have a tragic ending. In March, American media reported that a 63-year-old manager of a restaurant in Louisiana died after getting trapped in a cold storage room. Her body was found by her son, who worked at the same premises. The owner of the premises was sued by the family of the deceased.

Main photo source: BK Awangga / Shutterstock

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