Walk-in coolers are must-have pieces of equipment for a variety of businesses, but very cold temperatures and locking doors can pose potential safety hazards for employees. Following common sense precautions, providing proper safety equipment and teaching your employees the basics about walk-in cooler safety are just some of the ways that you can prevent accidents from happening.
Here are the four most important safety practices for walk-in coolers.
Follow all OSHA requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict requirements when it comes to walk-in cooler safety, which are intended to keep employees safe from death or injury. One of the main things to keep in mind is that OSHA prohibits workers under the age of 16 from working in a walk-in cooler or freezer. Business owners must comply with this rule, or they may be criminally liable should an accident occur.
Provide safety equipment
Modern walk-in coolers are typically equipped with a functional safety release latch that works to prevent accidental entrapment. As a business owner or property manager, it’s your duty to perform regular checks to ensure that the latch is working exactly as it should.
Remember that entrapment isn’t the only danger when it comes to walk-in coolers. It’s wise to lay down rubber anti-slip floor pads to prevent falls. Also, leave a step stool in the cooler or just outside the door so that employees can easily grab items that may be out of their normal reach. This prevents them from using milk crates, boxes or other unstable items as makeshift stepping stools.
Train all employees
It’s best to set out some rules and regulations for employees as they use walk-in coolers during daily operations. Always have an employee let another employee know when they’ll be in the walk-in cooler, and implement a buddy system when possible. Encourage employees to perform a quick check of the unit at the end of every shift to ensure that no one is trapped inside.
Keep the cooler and nearby areas clean and dry
Slips and falls can easily occur in a moist, damp environment like a walk-in cooler if you don’t keep the space clean, dry and clear from obstructions. Make sure to clean up spills immediately, and keep walkways free from tripping hazards. Always be on the lookout for ice, since buildup can cause puddles, and regularly scrape away ice to prevent this potential slipping hazard.
While following these guidelines yourself is important, training your employees in these steps is even more crucial. Teach them how to responsibly care for the area in and around the walk-in cooler and to remove obstructions and spills as soon as they’re noticed.
Following the safety practices for walk-in coolers listed above will help you and your employees avoid potentially dangerous accidents when using this important piece of equipment. Investing in regularly-scheduled maintenance also plays an important role in the proper function of your cooler and keeps your employees safe, too. Contact the experts at BLM Refrigeration Heating & Air Conditioning for routine maintenance and to learn more about proper safety steps for using a walk-in cooler.
Categorised in: Refrigeration Services
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