Hotel workers seek new safety measures after freezer death

ATLANTA — Federal regulators and hotel employees are calling for new safety measures after a worker was found dead inside a walk-in freezer at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta.

Investigators believe Carolyn Mangham spent about 13 hours at temperatures below minus 10 Fahrenheit in the March episode. Her body was found after her husband called the hotel to report her missing.

Devices should be placed inside the freezers so that anyone trapped or injured inside could send an alarm directly to hotel security or emergency services, union leaders say. Hotel employees also want to carry ‘‘panic buttons’’ to alert others to emergencies.


‘‘At the end of the day everyone deserves to go home to their families,’’ said Wanda Brown, a union leader.

The freezer had an exit button, but it had failed work during a previous inspection.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing $12,500 in penalties for a serious safety violation in the death of Mangham, 61.

OSHA recommended that the Atlanta hotel voluntarily develop a system of ‘‘notification and ongoing communication’’ for workers entering the walk-in freezers. The agency also recommends the hotel develop a system to periodically check on employees during their shifts.

Associated Press