To ensure that perishable and frozen foods are stored at the correct temperatures the use of walk in chiller and freezers are an essential requirement in the food industry. With many employees having to access these units on a daily basis, we look at the potential risks and practical tips to reduce the likelihood of accidents.
Factors such as slip, trip and fall hazards (on spillages and ice), remote working which could result in being trapped inside a walk-in chiller/freezer and cold temperatures which could result in hypothermia are just some of the potential hazards associated with carrying out tasks in these units.
By following these simple steps, the likelihood of potential accidents can be avoided:
- Conduct a risk assessment in which all potential hazards are identified with control measure put in place, including slip, trip and fall hazards and the likelihood of being trapped inside the chiller/freezer.
- Ensure that staff are effectively trained in the risk assessment with reference made to clearing of spillages and ice build up.on floors and displaying the ‘Wet floor sign’.
- Make sure that routine maintenance is conducted to ensure that door release mechanisms are in working order to reduce the likelihood of staff being locked in the walk-in chiller/freezer.
- The use of the correct clothing cannot be understated. Ensure that staff wear non slip shoes, freezer jackets and gloves when carrying out tasks in these areas.
- Consideration must also be given to manual handling protocols. Ensure that ladders that meet the required British Standards are used to access top level shelving.
- Controls need to be put in place when employees are conducting remote work in the chiller and freezers. Employees must notify supervisory staff and/or co-workers if extended periods of time are going to be spent in these units. Regular health and safety audits need to be conducted where any defects raised are attended to.
CSC are here to help you put the necessary control measures in place.