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Cleaning agent sickens Hi-Lo Gulf City employees

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eight employees at Hi-Lo Supermarket’s Gulf City branch were taken for medical attention while others were evacuated from the store as a result of a fumes emanating from a cleaning agent. The store remained closed for most of yesterday as employees refused to return to work after two of their co-workers collapsed as a result of the fumes.



According to employees, an external company responsible for cleaning the bakery trays may have forgotten to rinse off the cleaning agent. When staff used the trays to bake items around 7.15 am, the chemical evaporated, causing gas to spread throughout the store. Employees became nauseous and light headed, and it was only when customers began to complain that management ordered an evacuation


Employees who fell ill were taken to the Gulf View Medical Centre and the San Fernando General Hospital where some were treated and discharged. 



‘No contamination of bakery products’
Candace Ali, group corporate communications officer at Neal and Massy, the parent company of Hilo Supermarket, said there was no contamination of bakery products and all products exposed to the affected equipment were properly disposed of. She said the third party contractor responsible for cleaning the pans has already conducted a thorough and extensive removal of the remnant cleaning agent.  


The Fire Services Division was also present to advise the store's management on proper practice for containing and eliminating the fumes and have given approval for the store to be reopened, Ali said.  All requisite corrective action has been completed and the store is expect to re-open today as per usual hours of operation, Ali said. “Hi-Lo will continue to make every effort to provide a safe environment for its employees and its customers at all its branches nationwide,” the release added.


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