A UK franchisee of Subway has been fined more than £4,000 after a worker was trapped overnight inside a chiller.
CM Ventures was also ordered to pay a further £2,070 in costs for a breach of health and safety work place guidelines after the incident at a branch it runs in Cheltenham.
Employee Karlee Daubeney, 20, was working in the store alone and in the process of closing up when she became stranded.
She was putting milk away inside the chiller at 11.15pm when the door closed behind her and locked her inside. The temperature of the chiller was just a few degrees above zero.
In an attempt to alert someone to her plight she posted an ‘SOS’ message using ketchup but it was not spotted by CCTV staff.
She was eventually freed at 7.30am the next morning, some eight hours after being locked inside, when day staff opened the shop.
Speaking after the case, she told reporters: “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 or mayonnaise.
“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.”
The court heard that Daubeney was close to catching hypothermia and has been left with physical and mental damage from the incident.
Subway said: “As this case is currently under investigation we are unable to comment further at this stage.”