Cold stores operate at various temperatures below freezing.



Air temperatures may be as low as -40°C. The hazards associated with such harsh environments include:-

  • accidental locking in
  • accidental release of refrigerant
  • cold injury
  • increased risk of accidents
  • special medical risks
  • ice build up
  • increased risk of equipment failure

Work in cold environments will therefore require risk assessment under the Management of Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1999.


1. Cold stores should meet the standards in BS4434

'Specification for safety aspects in the design, construction and installation of refrigerating appliances and systems' (1989)

2. Precautions against locking in to include:

  • Only authorised and fully instructed people allowed in
  • 'No unauthorised entry' signage
  • At least 1 emergency exit, adequately signed and unobstructed
  • A trapped-person alarm, mains operated with battery back-up, suitably marked and located
  • Emergency lighting (battery operated)
  • Maintenance and testing of devices provided
  • Working practices to include thorough check before locking

3. Refrigerant Release

General precautions include:-

  • Proper maintenance and operation by trained and competent person(s)
  • For plants exceeding 25kW, to have a written scheme for the periodic examination, by a competent person, of protective devices, pressure vessels and pipelines, and parts of pipework in which a defect may give rise to danger (See Pressure Systems element of this manual)
  • Written emergency procedure, communicated to all appropriate staff