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Cold Storage Hazards

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When you’re dealing with cold storage, there can be hazards involved. Some of these can result in goods being lost so it’s in your best interests to be aware of them and monitor your cold storage for potential issues. So let’s have a look at the most common hazards and how you can minimise them.

Packaging is key. Always check any goods you store are properly packaged. Look out for holes in the packaging and make sure the right film wrap is used whether you’re involved in cold storage haulage or warehousing.

How you store goods is really important too. Incorrect storage could mean your products will freeze when they’re not meant to. If this happens, check your evaporator coils are set at the right temperature or positioned correctly. Pallets of goods need to be stacked so the air can flow evenly around them, and remember to leave a bit of a space between them and the walls. If they’re stored too close to the walls, freezing might occur.

Humidity can also be a big problem in cold storage. You’ll know if you’re suffering from this as some of your goods will shrivel. The good news is it’s relatively simple to solve, and installing a few more evaporator coils should do it. Sometimes wooden storage crates are to blame for shrivelling too, as they can suck the moisture from the air and whatever’s stored in them. If this happens, change the container and thoroughly dry the products before you store them. Occasionally, certain agricultural products are more likely to shrivel than others so it’s worth doing a bit of homework about the best way to store these.

Another serious problem is condensation. This will occur on either the outside or inside of the packaging. It can be caused by warm air hitting the packaging which you can sort out by simply moving them somewhere else. And don’t forget to check products near to where you’re experiencing condensation as it could be water dripping from them – or evaporator coils – on to the goods that’s causing the problem. If this is the case, move the goods and make sure you’ve got somewhere for the excess water to drain from the floor.

The research was carried out on the following:

To identify health problems among workers performing cleaning, maintenance and machine operation tasks inside cold storage rooms with temperatures between -15 degrees C and -35 degrees C in a freeze drying rooms.

24 workers working inside the cold stores participated in the study. A questionnaire about cold-related health problems and the standardized Nordic questionnaire assessing muscle complaints were completed by all exposed workers. A physical examination was performed on each worker too.


The most relevant cold-related health problem was episodic finger symptoms (50%), followed by respiratory symptoms (21%), peripheral circulation symptoms (20%), and repeated pain in the musculoskeletal system (12%). Two subjects had a previous diagnosis of Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP). The prevalence of musculoskeletal complains in the neck and low back was 21% in each.


The prevalence found for various complaints among the freeze drying workers implies that the cold conditions inside cold stores may present a real risk of cold-related health problems and, due to lowered concentration level, for injuries, too. Greater efforts should be made to minimize the cold exposure by designing automation processes to prevent continuous exposure to cold during freeze drying process if it is possible. And improving the cold-protective clothing and guaranteeing its appropriate use will reduce health risks.


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