HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Welcome to an on-line health and safety training package intended for staff and students working within UofE buildings on the Little France campus Information contained within these pages is intended for use by University of Edinburgh staff and students only. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS This on-line training package is
intended mainly for laboratorybased workers, but is not a substitute for more detailed training which may be organised by laboratory managers. Last updated: April, 2018 HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Please take time to view the following material, and direct any urgent questions to your H&S Advisor, Laboratory Manager, or the Little France Buildings H&S Manager (the contact details for whom are shown
on the penultimate page of this presentation). Thank you HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS A risk assessment should always be undertaken to underpin safety related to work with pathogens and genetically modified micro-organisms, etc. The risk assessment should take into account the nature of the potential hazards not only in terms of the work involved, and the potential for harm likely to be
associated with the substances to be handled, but also the techniques to be carried out (including storage of substances etc in fridges and freezers). HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Regardless of the purpose to which a fridge or freezer is to be put, there are certain safety-related features that are more or less applicable to all laboratory equipment, and which you should design into your work plan. The following guidance is based on measures described more fully in the Safety
Manual for University buildings on the Little France/Bioquarter campus, which you will find at: https://www.ed.ac.uk/medicine-vet-medicine/staff-and-currentstudents/cmvm-health-and-safety/little-france/manual HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Laboratory refrigerators and freezers exist in several different forms, including: General purpose refrigerators (typically 4oC) General purpose freezers (typically -20oC) Ultra-low temperature freezers (typically -80oC) Cryogenic (typically -150oC) freezers linked
to liquid nitrogen Controlled rate freezers Cold Rooms (typically 4oC) HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Dry ice (solid CO2) is occasionally used to keep samples etc chilled during short-distance transport. Care should be taken to avoid skin
contact with dry ice and exposure to the oxygen-depleted environment that may be created as dry ice sublimates and increases in volume by a factor of 550x. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Liquid nitrogen too is sometimes used in transport operations, as well
as in cryogenic freezers. The safety implications of work involving liquid nitrogen are set out in a separate training presentation that is accessible from the same pathway you took to reach this one. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Characteristics usually sought in a laboratory fridge/freezer include: Good regulation and consistency of temperature, humidity, etc; and Fast recovery times after the lid or
door is opened and closed. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Check, before every use, that the fridge/freezer is in a good state of repair and operating within normal/ expected parameters.
Conform to manufacturers guidance and maintenance schedules, etc. Do not use the fridge/freezer if you have any doubts about its performance. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS
Do not retain materials that are no longer required. Dispose of these promptly, correctly and safely. Make it a regular and routine practice to clean door seals, etc. Deal immediately with spillages. Do not use fridges and freezers to store even small quantities of flammable solvents etc unless these are clearly certified as sparkproof. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS
The effectiveness and efficiency of a fridge/freezer may be seriously compromised by allowing frost to build-up, with the potential to compromise seals, reduce available storage space, and increase the energy costs of operating the equipment. A plan should be put in place to regularly defrost and clean each and every fridge and freezer that you use. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE
FRIDGES & FREEZERS Sample vessels sometimes become separated from storage boxes etc (sometimes unidentifiably) and fall loose to the base of the fridge/freezer. Sample vessels are sometimes spotted also on the floor in the vicinity of freezers, etc. It is good practice to check for that
occasionally, and have a plan to properly and safely dispose of such items. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS It is good practice also to have a searchable database of the contents of fridges and freezers, and to retain items
for no longer than strictly necessary. Such databases may also specify a routine programme for defrosting of equipment. It is sensible to have an emergency stand-by fridge/freezer available for use if equipment unexpectedly fails, or to use when defrosting equipment. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS
While fridges and freezers are not in in themselves particularly highrisk items of laboratory equipment, there may be hazards associated with electricity, which is why they must be included in periodic electrical safety checks. Equipment that fails safety tests must be taken off-line as soon as possible. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS While using fridges and freezers, care should be taken to ensure that lids and
doors are not opened for any longer than necessary, not only to protect the contents, but also to limit the energy costs of keeping these sufficiently cooled. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Thought should be given to the most suitable location for fridges and freezers, ensuring that these are not
placed in confined spaces where heatexchanges may be compromised or filters may become blocked with debris. Checks should be made, routinely and periodically, to confirm that filters etc are not blocked. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS The cleanliness of communal rooms, such as freezer farms, is occasionally
less than it ought to be, with gloves etc being discarded elsewhere other than in waste bins. Even where cleaning rotas are in place, ensure that you leave the freezer farm in the state that youd wish to find it in. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Consider also the materials being placed
into fridges and freezers. If these contain hazardous substances, perhaps including infectious agents, and containment is breached, the substance may well have contaminated the inside of the fridge/freezer and may then spread out into the surrounding environment. Users should prepare a spill management and disinfection plan before commencing work. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Regarding Cold Rooms: Condensation often forms within
these, providing opportunities for colonisation by moulds, etc. Reduce that risk by repackaging materials from cardboard boxes, etc. For much the same reason, take extra precautions when using electrical equipment inside Cold Rooms. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS
Ensure when working within a Cold Room that you will still be aware of fire alarms, etc. As most of our Cold Rooms are shared facilities, do not work on the assumption that anyone other than you is responsible for tidying up after you have completed work, and do not allow waste to accumulate inside the room. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Finally, just a reminder Laboratory fridges, freezers and Cold
Rooms are most emphatically not for storage of food and beverages (even for short periods of time). By the same token, of course, fridges and freezers intended for the storage of foodstuffs should not be used for storage of laboratory chemicals and biological materials, etc. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Problems and Questions Refer all other enquiries to your H&S Advisor, Laboratory Manager or the Little France
Buildings H&S Manager as soon as possible. HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS Lindsay Murray Health & Safety Manager, The University of Edinburgh, College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine (Little France/Bioquarter Campus) Room SU225, Chancellors Building Ext: 26390 [email protected]
HEALTH & SAFETY @ LITTLE FRANCE FRIDGES & FREEZERS You have now completed this on-line training package summarising the correct use and potential limitations of laboratory fridges and freezers. Please also attend any additional training that may be organised by your laboratory manager. Thank you
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