Walk-in freezer safety: Are you protected against the risks?


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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’.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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  • 17/01/2017

    how long is it a human can stay in a freezer at minus 22 degrees,when door is locked for safety reasons

    • 07/12/2017

      Working in a freezer myself, my employer allows a 10 minute breake after every 50 minutes worked, plus normal breaks on top
      Hope this helps

      • 16/04/2018

        I work for bidvest/food we start at 530pm our first break is 8-830 and then 1130-12 we used to have a 15min break at 7pm but now we don’t get that break ? This has just started at our depo as of yesterday! I feel this is wrong . We work in -24/-26 also with our breaks we have to undress/dress in/out of r coldstore suits within these 30mins so in total we get 20mins lunch x2 any advice would be appreciated as I feel this isn’t suitable

        • Nikki Ellis

          Unfortunately we cannot advise on such matters, and you would need to discuss your concerns with your internal HR department.

  • 10/02/2018

    Are disposible gloves should be wear when storing the marinated food containers inside the walkin freezer or chiller..?If yes then why.
    Expecting your valuble answer..

    • Nikki Ellis

      No, just avoid cross contamination and ensure your hands are properly cleaned at all times.

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