While not a common occurrence, getting trapped in a walk-in freezer is a dangerous situation that can lead to a serious work-related injury.
Walk-in freezers are a staple in many businesses. They keep food cold and fresh, making them an essential piece of equipment for any company that sells or prepares food. However, these large refrigerators come with their own set of hazards that can be dangerous if not properly understood. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common hazards associated with walk-in freezers. We hope that by understanding these dangers, you can work safely in and around these important pieces of equipment.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
One of the most common hazards associated with walk-in freezers is slips, trips, and falls. The combination of a cold, wet floor and a large piece of equipment can create a dangerous situation for anyone who is not paying close attention. Therefore, it is important to always wear proper footwear when working in or around a walk-in freezer. In addition, be sure to keep the floor clean and free of any potential trip hazards.
Another hazard associated with walk-in freezers is the cold temperatures. These large refrigerators are often set between 0°F and -20°F . This can cause frostbite or hypothermia if you are not properly dressed for the conditions.
Frostbite is dangerous and can lead to amputation if not treated quickly. Hypothermia can be just as dangerous and can even be fatal. Therefore, it is important to dress in layers when working in a walk-in freezer and to take breaks often to warm up.
One of the scariest things that can happen to someone in the workplace is getting stuck inside a walk-in freer in subzero conditions with the safety latch not working. Although this doesn’t happen very often, there have been incidences of people dying in walk-in freezer accidents. It normally happens when the worker is alone and unable to call someone for help when a safety mechanism fails.
Unfortunately, in spite of all the safety measures, malfunctions and accidents happen. Notification systems such as alarms and bells may go unheard and safety latches can fail. The problem with more advanced and comprehensive safety systems is that they are quite expensive, and many small businesses might not be able to afford them. So, the best way to prevent these types of situations is to inform someone that you are entering the walk-in freezer and that they should check on you at the end of the work shift. Keep your cell phone handy when you go inside the freezer so that you can summon help if required.
That’s right; those huge doors on walk-in freezers can pose a hazard if they are not properly secured. If the door is not latched correctly, it could swing open and hit someone. In addition, if the door is not sealed properly, cold air can leak out and create a slip hazard. So be sure to check that the door is properly secured before entering or leaving the freezer.
Compressed Air Lines
Another potential hazard in a walk-in freezer is the compressed air-lines. These lines are used to keep the freezer cold and can be very dangerous if they are not properly secured. If the lines are not fastened down, they could come loose and swing around, potentially hitting someone. Be sure to check that the lines are secure before entering the freezer.
As with any piece of equipment, there are always potential electrical hazards associated with walk-in freezers. Be sure to check that all electrical cords and plugs are in good condition and that they are not frayed or damaged. In addition, be sure to keep all electrical cords away from water to avoid the risk of electrocution.
Another hazard to be aware of is the potential for fire. Be sure to check that all heat-producing appliances are turned off before entering the freezer. In addition, be sure to keep flammable materials away from the freezer to avoid the risk of fire.
Compensation for a Work Accident
Be sure to keep the hazards we have discussed in mind when working in and around walk-in freezers. By understanding the risks, you can work safely and avoid potential injury.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a work accident, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann to discuss you claim. We explain the workers comp process to clients and can get involved at any state: initial application, resubmitting claims to insurance companies, or appealing a case to an administrative law judge or a higher court. Mr. Hoffmann has a broad knowledge of all types of work injuries and what your claim for disability or permanent injury is likely worth.
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