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The purpose of the freezer safety program is to put into place work practices and procedures that will protect employees who may be exposed to cold temperatures from working in refrigerator or freezer delivery storage areas.

  • Staff can be trapped inside refrigerators or freezers if the door accidentally closes behind them. Trapped workers can be exposed to very cold temperatures and suffer from hypothermia. 
  • Condensation inside refrigerators or freezers can cause floors to become wet and slippery, leading to potential slips and falls.

Employer Responsibilities

  • Provide a panic bar or other means of exit on the inside of walk-in freezers to prevent trapping workers inside.  Frequently inspect and ensure the panic bar or interior release mechanism is working properly.
  • Provide and ensure employee use of appropriate personal protective equipment. 
  • Keep places of employment clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.
  • Keep floors clean and dry.
  • Follow child labor laws that do not permit workers younger than 16 to perform freezer or meat cooler work.

Employee Responsibilities

  • Check cold-storage areas periodically and at closing time to make sure no one is trapped inside.
  • Wear warm clothing when entering or spending time in a cold-storage area. 
  • Wear personal protective equipment for unpacking and sorting meat and other food products in freezers (such as hats, gloves, and rubber-soled non-slip shoes). 
  • Keep floors free from slip hazards like spills or clutter, use non-slip matting for potentially slippery surfaces.