In a story that takes Arby’s slogan “We got the meats” to a gruesome level, an employee was found dead inside a walk-in freezer in New Iberia, Louisiana.
The body of the unidentified woman was discovered by employees at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, per KATC News, and the police were notified shortly after. There are not a lot of details available at this time.
“So it was an employee that discovered the female deceased inside the cooler, (and) the deceased is an employee of the restaurant,” New Iberia Police Capt. Leland Laseter told News 15, adding that yes, this is really weird.
“A situation like this is unusual, so we’re taking extra precautions during the investigation,” Laseter explained, adding, “After completely processing the crime scene… this does not seem like a homicide, it seems like an accident.”
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Coworkers of the dead employee were interviewed, and, as of now, this incident is not considered a crime. However, Laseter noted that “nothing is set in stone yet” and they are awaiting the results of an autopsy before officially characterizing the cause of death.
Accidental deaths in walk-in freezers are uncommon, but not unheard of, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities Report. In 2021, for example, 43 U.S. workers died due to exposure to “exposure to temperature extremes.” Back in November of 2022, the New York Times reported on the death of a 33-year-old man who got locked inside the freezer at Beigel’s Bakery in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
If you work at a business or run a business that has a walk-in freezer, Bush Refrigeration advises following these safety precautions:
Keep Things Dry
Spills can cause accidental falls that lead to employee injury. Ice and frost build-up can also melt and leave puddles that employees can slip in.
Regularly Check Safety Releases on Doors
Modern walk-in coolers and freezers come with safety releases on doors to avoid the risk of accidental entrapment. Be sure to regularly check safety releases to make sure they are functioning properly. Employees can also practice a buddy system when entering the walk-in to be extra cautious.
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Keep Your Walk-In Unit Clean
Regularly cleaning your walk-in refrigeration systems lowers the risk of mold or fungus buildup.
Don’t Overload Shelves
Not only does an over-packed freezer become less efficient but overloaded shelves can collapse under the excess weight. Employees can have inventory items fall on top of them if shelves break or malfunction.
Offer Employees Jackets, Hats, and Gloves
Cold-weather garments can be stored near your walk-in unit so that employees can easily access them. Wearing these clothes and accessories lowers the risk of circulation problems for your employees and they will be more comfortable while working inside of the walk-in unit.
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