Any sector that involves a walk-in fridge or freezer in the workplace that is accessed by employees needs to be aware of the unique health and safety considerations that come into play.
The Health and Safety Executive provides information on recommended requirements and examples of health and safety assessments that should be carried out by companies with these facilities.
There are some simple procedures – both in terms of the equipment and the working routines – that can help to avoid circumstances that can lead to serious injury.
Commercial cold rooms from specialists such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/cold-rooms are a common part of the storage and warehousing landscape.
Any modern cold storage will boast a failsafe device on the interior, meaning the door can be opened from the inside without a key or subsidiary electrical power. The problem is that due to their very nature, manual systems need to be well maintained and tested at regular intervals. Assuming they work as a part of the safety regime could be a fatal error.
Although it may seem obvious, working in pairs is the preferred mode of operation in a cold room. This does not mean the employees are teamed for the task, but rather that one person is present outside the cold storage when someone else is working inside. There is the potential for someone working alone to be placed in a life-threatening situation if no one else is on hand; therefore, work should ideally be delayed until a second person can be present.
One situation in which such danger could arise is through someone working alone in a cold storage area slipping and injuring themselves, or even losing consciousness. In most units it is virtually impossible to prevent the build-up of ice or frost. It is therefore crucial that there is a constant monitoring of the floor covering, which will also involve ensuring no debris is lying around. Anyone entering such an area must be wearing appropriate footwear.
The low temperatures mean that cold-related injuries are commonplace. These can involve skin damage and other bodily ailments when the employee is exposed to the temperatures for a long period. Protective clothing is essential, and employees must be made aware of the danger of prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures.