In case of refrigeration, most of the accidents are not due to the refrigerant itself. There are some accidents more directly connected to refrigeration per se, which include pressure explosions and refrigerant vapour explosions, asphyxiation risks (from virtually all refrigerants), and specific hazards of refrigerant decomposition products Refrigeration preserves food and provides comfort.
However, it is not totally accident-proof. Myriads of accidents have been reported during the use of refrigeration and running of the refrigeration equipment and some of them were fatal. The refrigeration industry is relatively safe, and most of the hazards are common to many work situations, rather than specific to refrigeration.
Most of the accidents are not due to the refrigerant itself. Most accidents in the refrigeration industry are attributable to mechanical or general causes and include accidents to eyes, electrocution, erection and dismantling of equipment and structures.
- There are some accidents more directly connected to refrigeration, which include pressure explosions and refrigerant vapour explosions, asphyxiation risks (from virtually all refrigerants), and specific hazards of refrigerant decomposition products.
- Refrigeration is generally not lethal, and with common sense and proper care, it should never be lethal.
Hazards generally associated with refrigeration Asphyxiation accidents Due to leaking refrigerants: i. In 1991, a 24-year-old male assistant manager for a shopping mall ice skating rink was asphyxiated inside a compressor room while attempting to shut off a refrigerant gas (R-22) leak.
A total of 3,200 pounds of refrigerant had leaked out of the refrigeration system. The medical examiner listed the cause of death as asphyxiation by oxygen displacement with refrigerant (R-22). ii. A junior officer in a ship became unconscious while asleep because of leaking refrigerant vapour from the AC Blower Room which got drawn into the Evaporator Blower and was carried along with the cold air into the accommodation spaces.
His cabin was the closest to the Blower Room. iii. A reefer mechanic became unconscious immediately after entering AC Blower Room as the room was having dangerously low oxygen content due to leaking refrigerant vapour from the reefer machinery. iv. In 1989, an ammonia release in a frozen pizza plant led to the evacuation of nearly all of the 6,500 residents of the town where the plant was located.
- The release started when an end cap of a 16-inch suction line of the ammonia refrigeration system was knocked off.
- Up to 45,000 pounds of ammonia was released, forming a cloud 24 city blocks long.
- About 50 area residents were taken to hospitals, where they were treated with oxygen and released, while dozens of others were treated with oxygen at evacuation centers.
Due to release of gases from refrigerated products Cold Rooms, Reefer Containers, Refrigerated Cargo holds on ships are to be treated like enclosed spaces. Fruit cargoes, continue with the respiration process throughout their passage time on board, consuming oxygen in the refrigerated space and liberating carbon-di-oxide.
- To make up for the consumed oxygen, voyage instructions include periodic ventilation of the cargo spaces.
- On reefer containers, air vents are kept partially open either continuously or periodically throughput the voyage to allow the fruit cargo to breathe.
- There is a category of reefer spaces and containers, which maintain Controlled Atmospheres within the refrigerated spaces.
The space is filled up with nitrogen, which is supplemented by the carbon di oxide gas which is liberated due to respiration of the fruit cargo. Special Personal safety Precautions have been outlined to be followed before exposing technicians to these spaces.
- These spaces are to be treated as Enclosed Spaces.
- Case: The dead body of a stowaway was found inside the cargo hold of a reefer vessel when the hatch covers were opened for cargo discharge at the discharge port.
- The ship was carrying bananas inside the hatch.
- The stowaway was overcome by the carbon di oxide and other gases liberated by the bananas and lost his life.
Poisoning – Toxicity and personal exposure All substances are poisonous in sufficient amounts. Toxic effects have been observed for such common substances as water, table salt, oxygen, and carbon dioxide in extreme quantities. The difference between those regarded as safe and those viewed as toxic is the quantity or concentration needed to cause harm and, in some cases, the duration or repetition of exposures.
Substances that pose high risks with small quantities, even with short exposures, are regarded as highly toxic. Those for which practical exposures cause no harm are viewed as safer. Case: On the 11th of November 1998, there was a leak of refrigerant gas from an air conditioning system in use in a factory in Grimsby, a large town on the East Coast of England.
Approximately 120kg of R22 had leaked from a small hole in the high pressure pipeline. R22 is heavier than air and so a cloud sank to floor level where air currents pushed it from the site of the leak and into a different part of the factory. Eventually, the cloud reached a part of the factory where a large industrial fish fryer was in use.
- The fryer was heated by gas burners.
- The R22 came into contact with the naked flame of the burners causing thermal decomposition.
- Thirteen employees were exposed to the thermal decomposition products which may have included phosgene.
- Even though extraction ventilation was in use and so the employees were probably exposed to only low levels of irritant and toxic gases which were still sufficient to produce ill health effects.
Some employees required several weeks of medical treatment although, fortunately, none appear to have suffered lasting damage to their health. Fire hazardsFlammability Combustion/Decomposition Flammable refrigerants present an immediate danger when released into the air.
- The refrigerant can combine with air at atmospheric pressure and ignite, causing a flame and possibly an explosion to occur.
- Because of the obvious hazards, the use of flammable refrigerants is restricted to controlled environments that have monitors, proper ventilation, explosion-proof equipment and generally few people near the equipment (refineries, storage warehouses, breweries, etc.).
Cases: (1) In a 1992 incident at a meat packing plant, a forklift struck and ruptured a pipe carrying ammonia for refrigeration. Workers were evacuated when the leak was detected. A short time later, an explosion occurred that caused extensive damage, including large holes in two sides of the building.
- The forklift was believed to be the source of ignition.
- In this incident, physical barriers would have provided mechanical protection to the refrigeration system and prevented a release.
- 2) On Sunday 24th October 1999 an explosion took place in the machine room of chiller of a refrigeration plant.
- At the time, 14 people were working in close vicinity of the compressor, where the explosion occurred and seven people were hospitalised for smoke inhalation.
Two possible explanations for the explosion emerged. (i) Air entered the compressor and a high-temperature-high-pressure mist comprising of HFC134a, oil and air ignited resulting in the explosion. (ii) A second possibility is that the pressurised HFC134a and oil mist escaped past the red-hot journal bearing metal of the damaged compressor and mixed with the surrounding air.
- Under these conditions, the mixture ignited causing an explosion.
- Frost bite Direct exposure of body tissues to refrigerant can cause frostbite.
- Liquid refrigerant suddenly released from high pressure to atmospheric pressure will flash and boil to vapour.
- Naturally, the temperature of the refrigerant will drop quickly to the boiling point, and the refrigerant will quickly absorb heat from whatever it is touching.
If the refrigerant is touching skin, it absorbs body heat from that area and causes local overcooling. This can cause frostbite. Frostbite occurs when tissues freeze. This condition happens when you are exposed to temperatures below the freezing point of skin.
Frostbite damages skin by freezing water inside the skin cells, which can expand and burst the cell walls. To treat frostbite cover the exposed area with warm (not hot) water or a wet compress. The skin must recover slowly or more damage can occur. Do not rub the affected area to try to warm it as it may inflict more damage.
Protective clothing, gloves and eye protection are effective at preventing frostbite by keeping liquid refrigerant away from the skin. Overpressure: Rupture of tank or system Cylinders or systems without pressure relief devices could break if the refrigerant pressure inside were to exceed the strength of the cylinder or system component.
This type of failure can be quite hazardous if the refrigerant is at a high pressure or solid material is blown loose. Containment failures are caused by one of two things: The refrigerant pressure has increased above the pressure rating of the cylinder or system, or something has happened to the cylinder or system so that it will no longer hold normal refrigerant pressure.
Elevated refrigerant pressure can be caused by exposure to heat. Refrigerants with pressures similar to R-12 will develop more than 500 psia at temperatures above 200° F. Refrigerants with pressures similar to R-502 will achieve the same pressures at about 150° F.
- Hydrostatic pressure also can develop quickly in a confined volume that has been completely filled with liquid refrigerant, for example liquid-full hoses between shut valves or an overfilled recovery cylinder.
- Refrigerant tubing, hoses, system components and some refrigerant cylinders surely would fail at some elevated pressure without certain safety provisions.
Various pressure relief devices are used to lower the pressure back to safe limits by releasing some or all of the refrigerant. Injuries from flying objects This is applicable to not only refrigeration equipment, but also to any other presurized equipment.
A chief engineer while working on a cargo reefer compressor in a ship got his heart pierced and died instantly. While attempting to check the operation of a valve on the refrigerant discharge line, the valve spindle came loose and flew off under great pressure. Unfortunately, the chief engineer was in the straight line flight path of the flying spindle.
Trip/Slip/Fall injuries Accidents at work involving trips, slips and falls (TSFs) happen very frequently and the resulting costs are high, both for employers and employees. The risk of getting seriously injured in a TSF accident is 1.4 times higher than for all other types of accidents.
- In the meat industry, it is four times more likely to be seriously injured from a TSF accident than from all other types of accidents.The study of the friction coefficients of the floor surfaces indicated particularly low values in the refrigeration rooms.
- Similarly, a study of the footwear worn during the accidents showed that these often remained in use long after their recommended life cycle.
Hypothermia (Loss of Body Heat) Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and body functions, which is defined as 35.0 °C (95.0 °F). Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F) through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation.
If exposed to cold and the internal mechanisms are unable to replenish the heat that is being lost a drop in core temperature occurs. As body temperature decreases characteristic symptoms occur such as shivering and mental confusion.1. Persons can become trapped inside freezers, cold stores or similar cold areas if the exit door cannot be opened from the inside.
The following precautions can be adopted to prevent this. a) Doors in cold areas should be openable from the inside under all conditions. It may be necessary to fit local strip heaters to ensure that the door hinges, slides and securing devices are free-moving at all times.
B) Doors should open outwards, be unobstructed and illuminated on the inside. c) Instructions for the door release device should be clearly shown inside the cold area d) An audible alarm actuator should be provided inside the cold area and the alarm itself should be so located that it will attract the maximum attention.
e) Before persons are allowed to enter a cold area they should be instructed in the use of the means of escape and warning devices, or should be accompanied by someone who has been instructed.2. Additionally, there are various ways of ensuring that someone locked within a cold area can escape.
- A) A hatch may be fitted into the door retained by an easily removable fastening, such as a bolt or bar, which is accessible only from the inside.
- These hatches are sometimes fitted into the wall of the cold area, however there is a danger of the hatch becoming obstructed by goods.
- Inspectors finding the wall type hatch should advise the employer to ensure that both sides are kept clear of obstruction and that the area around it is clearly marked.
b) An alternative method of allowing easy exit from a locked cold area is to ensure that the strike plate located on the door surround can be easily released from the inside. c) Another method, commonly used, consists of a specially designed latch with a door opening lever, which can be locked.
- The latch is secured to the door and its corresponding strike plate is secured to the door surround as is normal.
- A push rod extends from the latch release mechanism, passes through the door and terminates in a mushroom head extending some 2 to 3 inches into the cold area.
- The only difference between this latch and the conventional type is a special release mechanism inside the latch housing.
If the door is locked for security reasons (either by means of a padlock or by a cylinder lock, which prevents the raising of the opening lever) it can still be opened from the inside by pushing on the mushroom headed rod which acts on the special latch bolt release mechanism.3.
- Where power operated doors are used they should be openable from the inside even if the power supply is interrupted.
- Refrigerant hazards • Freon cannot be seen or smelt! • Freon is heavier than air so it will settle and remain at the bottom of the compartments.
- Freon is extremely harmful if it comes into contact with the eyes.
• Freon is suffocating because it displaces air. • If you inhale high concentrations of Freon, it attacks the nerve system. • When Freon comes into contact with hot surfaces and starts to burn, it can give off poisonous gases. • Freons, if released into the air, may cause depletion of the Ozone Layer, which contributes to the greenhouse effect.
- Refrigerants are not to be released into the atmosphere.
- They must be drawn into the condenser/receiver or into a separate cylinder.
- Most refrigerants mix with oil so oil drained from a refrigeration system must be clearly labelled and disposed of separately.
- Refrigerants must not be mixed.
- If you start feeling faint or dizzy as you enter a compartment – don’t think twice – evacuate! If a refrigerant leak occurs • Evacuate compartment immediately.
• Sound alarm and get crew in an up-wind position. • If leak is in engine room shut down machinery. • Turn vessel into wind if still possible. • Do not enter compartment without ventilating the compartment. • Ventilate compartment. Remember Freon sinks to the bottom of the compartment and is very hard to remove.
Try to force airflow down into the bottom of the compartment to force the Freon upwards. Maintenance points • Refrigerant pipes are lagged and constantly damp. This means that pipe coatings and surface can deteriorate relatively quickly. Check pipes regularly and make sure the coating is maintained. • Inspect Blower Rooms regularly and keep them clean and dry.
Often, they are neglected areas. It is a great idea to fit an exhaust fan for the blower room and start the same and wait for a few minutes before entering. • When entering compressor rooms, start the exhaust fan and wait for a few minutes before entering.
- Where flexible hoses are used, only use refrigerant tolerant hoses.
- Try to avoid using flexible hoses wherever possible.
- Maintain fittings such as valves and gauges in good order.
- Mark pipes to show what type of refrigerant they have in them.
- Refrigerants are supplied in metal cylinders, which will corrode in the salt environment.
Make sure these are left in dry storage (preferably ashore). • When working on compressor crankcase, for draining/changing oil, ensure the crankcase is totally depressurised. Retain a firm grip on the drain plugs and other connections so that they do not fly off uncontrollably.
Safe handling of refrigerants • Ensure that personnel who handle refrigerants are properly trained in their safe use and handling, and have reviewed the MSDS for the refrigerant used. • Wear safety goggles and gloves at all times when handling refrigerants or servicing a refrigeration system. • Wear the proper respiratory protection while working with refrigerants.
Check the MSDS for the proper level of protection required. • Proper ventilation or respiratory protection is required for any work on equipment in an enclosed area where a leak is suspected. • Always ventilate or test the atmosphere of an enclosed area before beginning work.
- Many refrigerants which may be undetectable by human senses are heavier than air and will replace the oxygen in an enclosed area causing loss of consciousness.
- Inhaling refrigerants can cause sudden death.
- Intentional inhalation of refrigerants to produce intoxication can cause the heart to cease functioning properly and may be fatal.
• Be certain that the Refrigerant Recovery Cylinder being used is the Refillable Type and has the capacity to contain the refrigerant to be added to its contents. • Refrigerant cylinders should never be filled over 80% of their capacity (liquid expansion may cause the cylinder to burst).
- Label the cylinder with the contents using the appropriate colour code • Check the I.C.C.
- Cylinder stamp to ensure the cylinder is safe.
- Always check the refrigerant number before charging to avoid mixing refrigerants.
- Always check for the correct operating pressure of the refrigerant used.
- Use gauges to monitor the system pressure.
• Always charge refrigerant into the low side of the system to avoid damaging the compressor, or causing the system to rupture. • R-717 and R-764 are very irritating to the eyes and lungs. Avoid exposure to these refrigerants. • R-717 is slightly flammable and mixed with the proper proportions of air may form an explosive mixture.
- Fluorocarbon refrigerants should be treated as toxic gases.
- In high concentrations, these vapours have an anesthetic effect, causing stumbling, shortness of breath, irregular or missing pulse, tremors, convulsions, and even death.
- Ammonia is a respiratory irritant in small concentrations and is a life threatening hazard at 5,000 parts per million (ppm).
• Ammonia is also flammable at a concentration of 150,000-270,000 ppm. • Always stand to one side when operating an ammonia valve. Ammonia can burn and damage the eyes, or cause loss of consciousness. Ammonia leaks may be detected by their smell, or with a sulphur candle or sulphur spray vapour.
- Refrigerant oil in a hermetic compressor is often very acidic causing severe burns.
- Avoid skin contact with this oil.
- Liquid refrigerant on the skin may freeze the skin surface causing frostbite.
- If contact with the skin occurs, wash immediately with water, treat any damaged skin area for frostbite, and seek medical treatment.
• Never cut or drill into an absorption refrigeration mechanism. The high pressure ammonia solutions are dangerous and may cause blindness if the solution contacts your eyes. • Ensure that all liquid refrigerant is removed and the pressure is at 0 psi before disassembling a system.
Do not smoke, braze, or weld when refrigerant vapours are present. Vapours decompose to phosgene acid vapours and other products when exposed to an open flame or hot surface. • When soldering, brazing, or welding on refrigeration lines, the lines should be continuously purged with low pressure carbon dioxide or nitrogen.
• Following work, the lines should be pressure tested with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. • If refrigerant makes contact with the eyes, immediately wash with mineral oil as this absorbs the refrigerant. Then wash your eyes with a prepared boric acid solution.
- If the refrigerant is ammonia, wash with water for at least 15 minutes.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Purged refrigerants must not be released into the atmosphere.
- Federal law governs their disposal, and they must be collected and disposed of properly.
- Do not allow temperatures where refrigerant cylinders are stored to reach 125 degrees F.
Temperatures can easily exceed 125 degrees F in your vehicle during hot weather. • Inspect refrigerant cylinders regularly. Do not use the cylinders if they show signs of rust, distortion, denting, or corrosion. Store cylinders secured and upright in an area where they will not be knocked over or damaged.
• Beware of valve spindles and other components which can fly off because of high pressures. Enough fatal accidents have been reported which have occurred because of personnel coming in direct line of loose flying off parts fitted on pressurised equipments. Special Note: Always check MSDS before handling any refrigerant and follow all safety requirements.
Exposure to large concentrations of fluorocarbon refrigerants can be fatal. In high concentrations, these vapours have an anesthetic effect, causing stumbling, shortness of breath, irregular or missing pulse, tremors, convulsions, and even death. Take care and be safe.
Personal Safety Precautions when working in Refrigerated Spaces a. Keep refrigerated spaces dry and free of water and condensate accumulation due to choked drains. Moisture inside refrigerated spaces will reduce the efficiency of refrigeration by accumulating on the evaporator coils as frost. It will also make the floor slippery and can cause accidents due to slips, trips and falls.b.
Take all personal safety precautions not to inhale any refrigerant vapours, which could have possibly leaked out into the chamber, which can also cause chemical poisoning of the human system. Refrigerant vapour under high temperature can liberate phosgene gas, which is highly poisonous.c.
- Always vent refrigerated spaces for sufficient duration before personnel entry.d.
- When working in refrigerated spaces with frozen cargoes, wear protective warm clothing.e.
- When working in refrigerated spaces with chilled cargoes, especially fruits, beware of accumulated pockets of carbon-di-oxide and ethylene, which could cause an oxygen deficient atmosphere.
This is particularly applicable for controlled, regulated and modified atmospheres.f. It is safer always for at least two persons to enter and work in refrigerated spaces at a time. It’s very important that all personnel should be aware of the push button alarms, nearest escape routes, lighting arrangements and emergency exits (their opening methods) from refrigerated spaces.
- 0.1 What are the hazards of refrigeration system?
- 0.2 How do you handle refrigerant?
- 0.3 Is refrigerant flammable?
- 1 What are three precautions necessary to observe while using a refrigerator?
- 1.1 Why must special safety precautions be taken when working with refrigerants?
- 1.2 Is fridge a health hazard?
- 1.3 What 3 safety precautions should be practiced when working with low pressure refrigerants?
- 1.4 Why is good ventilation important when working around refrigeration?
- 2 What is the exposure limit for refrigerant?
- 3 Is fridge gas toxic?
- 4 What will be the best preventive maintenance to avoid any problems on refrigeration?
What are the hazards of refrigeration system?
The risks associated with the use of refrigerants in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment can include toxicity, flammability, asphyxiation, and physical hazards. Although refrigerants can pose one or more of these risks, system design, engineering controls, and other techniques mitigate this risk for the use of refrigerant in various types of equipment.
How do you handle refrigerant?
General rules to follow are: Minimize the amount of refrigerant released. Proper recovery procedures, including clearing hoses, will keep the refrigerant in the containers instead of potentially exposing it to people. Never intentionally release refrigerant in a confined space.
Is refrigerant flammable?
What are Some Lessons Learned for the Fire Service? – Refrigerants pose a hazard regardless of their flammability class, and firefighters should assume that refrigerants are present and flammable in a fire. Leaked refrigerant evaporates quickly, and it is difficult to see any vapor at all or hear a hissing sound.
Therefore, it is best to ventilate the space as quickly and efficiently as possible once the fire is put out. Spraying water on both A1 and A2L refrigerants can form hydrofluoric acid which is hazardous when inhaled or exposed to skin. Firefighters should wear full PPE with respiratory protection through all phases of response.
Our firefighters can save the day while “lower flammability” A2L refrigerants save the planet from global warming. For more information on the tests conducted by AHRI, the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, and members of the fire service, please see Report 8028 and online training for firefighters,
What are three precautions necessary to observe while using a refrigerator?
Safe refrigerator tips –
- Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in pans so juices don’t drip onto other foods.
- Check refrigerator temperature often, daily or at least once a week
- Refrigerate prepared food and leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.
- Divide leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator. Cover when food is cooled.
- Don’t overload the refrigerator. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.
Why must special safety precautions be taken when working with refrigerants?
Technician Protection – Chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons are heavier than air and will replace air in a confined space. This situation can lead to possible asphyxiation for anyone working in the space. Oxygen starvation is the leading cause of death in accidents involving a refrigerant.
Technicians must take extreme care to avoid direct ingestion of refrigerant vapors. If a spill occurs, they will need to put on a self-contained breathing apparatus or evacuate the area until it has been properly ventilated. Also, careless handling of cylinders can result in sudden releases of refrigerant, which can cause frostbite, skin damage or blindness.
To avoid these circumstances, workers should wear safety glasses with side shields or a full-face shield, safety shoes, hard hat, long pants, gloves and a long-sleeved shirt. Workers can prevent accidents around hoses and extension cords by using proper barriers and signs.
ensuring that all power is disconnected and disabled to any equipment requiring recovery locking out disconnects with approved lockout devices opening valves slowly and knowing in advance if liquid vapor will be released not plugging pressure-relief devices never applying direct heat to a closed system that contains refrigerant.
Finally, installing refrigerant vapor sensors, an adjoining alarm system, ventilation piping leading from the purge units to the outside air, and ventilation exhaust fans can increase the safety of a system. Mark Harbin is manager of the compliance services division, Environmental Support Solutions,,
What is the most hazardous refrigerant?
Refrigerants, Flammable & Toxic – There has never been a more complicated and confusing time surrounding refrigerants than what we are in right now. We are seeing flammable HC (hydrocarbon) refrigerants with increasing regularity, and EPA rules that just changed appear to be changing again,
Has high latent heat of vaporization (it moves a lot of heat per lb when it boils)Boils and condenses at temperatures we can easily manipulate with compression (the pressures work)Mixes with the oil appropriately so that the oil can do the job of lubricating the compressor and returnDoesn’t blow stuff up or catch on fireDoesn’t poison peopleDoesn’t hurt the environment
That pretty much sums it up. Because we have seen increased environmental regulations over the last 25 years, there has been a push to find good refrigerants, even if it means going into the flammable and toxic spectrum. Thankfully, refrigerants are well marked. So long as we pay attention and follow best practices, there shouldn’t be any issues. The markings are pretty simple:
Class A refrigerants have low toxicity Class B refrigerants have high toxicity Class 1 refrigerants have low flammability Class 2L refrigerants are only “mildly” flammable Class 2 refrigerants are low flammability but higher than 2L Class 3 refrigerants are highly flammable
The most common toxic refrigerant is ammonia, and you would generally only find it in old appliances or large industrial applications. Propane (R290) is a flammable refrigerant and is becoming quite popular in small self-contained refrigeration units like vending machines and reach-in coolers.
These propane units will be very clearly marked and should be handled with extreme caution, especially when electrical sparks or open flames are or could be present. True Refrigeration has some good training materials on R290, such as this video. As refrigerants become more toxic and flammable, it becomes more important to evacuate the system properly to get oxygen out of the system and make sure the systems are free of leaks.
How to Evacuate an AC system, Full Vacuum Procedure – YouTube HVAC School 289K subscribers How to Evacuate an AC system, Full Vacuum Procedure HVAC School Watch later Share Copy link Info Shopping Tap to unmute If playback doesn’t begin shortly, try restarting your device.
Is fridge a health hazard?
Why Maintaining Your Fridge Is Important – Proper fridge cleaning and maintenance is vitally important, though is often overlooked and viewed as “too hard”. However, what you don’t see in your fridge could actually be contaminating your food and making you sick.
Did you know that dirty fridges can act as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli? A study done on the average frost-free home fridge found that salad drawers alone contained an average of 7,850 bacteria units per square centimetre. To put this into perspective, the recommended amount of bacteria units per square centimetre for safe food preparation is between 0 and 10.
Proper cleaning should be performed regularly to avoid bacterial growth of this size. There’s more to keeping your fridge maintained than just setting the temperature control. One of the easiest ways to keep your fridge at the correct temperature is to make sure the doors are closed properly.
- Fridge and freezer doors that are accidentally left open can cause food to enter the temperature danger zone (between 5 °C and 60 °C), which allows harmful bacteria to grow.
- This also allows moisture to enter the fridge which rapidly speeds up the development of anaerobic bacteria.
- Over time, door seals may also deteriorate, which can result in temperature instability and higher energy bills.
So, make sure you replace your seals before this starts to happen.
Is refrigerant harmful to humans?
Outlook (Prognosis) – How well a person does depends on the severity of the poisoning and how quickly medical help was received. Severe lung damage may occur. Survival past 72 hours usually means the person will have a complete recovery. Sniffing Freon is extremely dangerous and can lead to long-term brain damage and sudden death.
What 3 safety precautions should be practiced when working with low pressure refrigerants?
SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS Use personal protective equipment including safety glasses with side shields, gloves, and safety shoes when filling and handling recovery containers. Use a hard hat if required for the work area. Avoid skin contact with liquid refrigerant because it can cause frostbite.
Why is good ventilation important when working around refrigeration?
Use proper ventilation. – Good ventilation is essential whenever HVAC technicians handle refrigerants on the job. Even modern refrigerants have the potential to injure or kill when inhaled. The higher the levels of concentration, the greater the danger.
What is the exposure limit for refrigerant?
NIOSH: The recommended airborne exposure limit (REL) is 1,000 ppm averaged over a 10-hour workshift and 1,250 ppm, not to be exceeded during any 15-minute work period.
Is fridge gas toxic?
Refrigerant, or Freon, poisoning can occur if a person inhales or consumes the chemicals from cooling appliances. Symptoms can include headache, coughing, and nausea. Accidental refrigerant poisoning is rare but can occur when a person works directly with cooling chemicals.
Poisoning is more common in people who use the substance as a recreational drug. Mild exposure to Freon in a well-ventilated area is usually not serious, including having a small amount on the skin or having a localized leak in the home. However, if a person notices symptoms of refrigerant poisoning, they should contact their doctor or emergency service immediately.
In this article, learn about the symptoms of refrigerant poisoning, as well as how to treat and prevent it happening. Refrigerant poisoning happens when a person inhales chemicals used in cooling appliances. Certain appliances, such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and freezers, contain chemicals called fluorinated hydrocarbons.
- People often refer to these chemicals as Freon, which is a leading brand name.
- Freon is a dangerous substance.
- This almost odorless and tasteless gas can cause severe symptoms if a person inhales too much at once.
- Because refrigerants cut off the oxygen supply, some people use the gas to get high.
- This is very dangerous, as breathing in refrigerants in high concentrations or large amounts can lead to death.
If a person suspects they have inhaled refrigerants accidentally, they should contact the emergency services immediately. Symptoms of refrigerant poisoning vary based on exposure. If exposure happens accidentally due to a leaking appliance in a well-ventilated area, poisoning is not likely to occur.
headache irritation of eyes, ears, and throatdizziness frostbite if exposed to quickly expanding gas or liquid coolantvomitingchemical burn on the skinnauseacoughing
Severe refrigerant poisoning can cause symptoms, including:
vomiting bloodbreathing difficultiesloss of consciousnessbleeding or fluid buildup in the lungsseizurefeeling of the food pipe burningirregular heartbeatconfusion coma or sudden death
The most common cause of refrigerant poisoning is substance abuse. Refrigerants are easy to obtain because of their low cost and use in many appliances. A person may use a rag, a small container, bag, or an appliance soaked with refrigerant chemicals to get high.
Freon is one of several common inhalants used by teens and adults with the aim of getting a high from the fumes. Inhaled substances usually have short-lasting effects, so it is not uncommon for a person to inhale several deep breaths in a row to extend the high. Taking multiple breaths also substantially increases the chance of causing refrigerant poisoning.
Health, Safety, and Environmental Hazards in Confined Spaces – Safety Training
Though not as common, it is possible to get refrigerant poisoning from accidental exposure. This is most likely to occur if a person works in a facility that uses refrigerants. Accidental exposure may also occur from working on products that contain the chemicals.
- It is not likely that a person will develop poisoning from a leaking home appliance, assuming it is in a well-ventilated area.
- It is vital to call the emergency service or Poison Control in the United States, which runs a 24-hour telephone guidance service for poisoning emergencies, if a person is showing signs of refrigerant poisoning.
If possible, a bystander should help a person move to a well-ventilated area or outdoors where they can get fresh air while waiting for the ambulance. In the emergency room, doctors will monitor a person’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, Direct treatment will attempt to fix any internal or external damage from the poisoning.
medication to treat symptoms or internal damageoxygen through a breathing tuberemoval or treatment of any burned skinremoval of liquid from the stomach, using a tube if ingested
There are currently no drugs available to treat the poisoning directly. Also, doctors do not have a formal way to diagnose the condition, but they will administer treatment if they expect or can confirm exposure to refrigerants. Preventing refrigerant poisoning focuses on stopping or preventing drug abuse.
sudden weight losswatery eyesseeming to be drunkslurred speechloss of coordinationbreath or clothing that smells of chemicalshidden signs of abuse, such as chemical-soaked rags or empty spray cansexcitabilitystains on a person’s face, hands, or clothing
Being educated about the dangers of refrigerant poisoning can also help stop people from inhaling coolant chemicals for the first time. Even one-time use of coolant chemicals can cause death. Other complications that may occur due to inhaling coolant chemicals include:
depression damage to the lungs, nerves, brain, or other vital organsweight lossloss of strength or coordinationirritability psychosis irregular and rapid heartbeat
If a person suspects someone they know is abusing refrigerants, they can call the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Alternatively, they may also visit www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov for more information.
- Behavioral health facilities can help treat a person’s addiction and help identify and treat any other underlying health problems, such as anxiety or depression.
- To help prevent accidental poisoning, a person or company working with refrigerants can take steps to make their workplace safer.
- People working with refrigerants should only do so in a well-ventilated area.
They should also take precautionary measures to avoid exposure to the skin. It is important for people working with refrigerants to following all guidelines and procedures. They should receive training on how to safely handle chemicals before using them.
Deliberately inhaling refrigerants is very dangerous. It is possible for someone to die even if it is their first time using the substance. Damage to the lungs or brain can be irreversible. If a person seeks medical attention immediately after accidental exposure, they have a better chance of recovering.
A person using refrigerants for recreational purposes can seek help from a doctor or drug abuse specialist.
Is refrigerant a gas or vapor?
What Are the Evaporator and Condenser Coils? – The evaporator coil sits inside your home and is a series of metal tubes that have fins attached to them. At this stage, the refrigerant is a high-pressurized liquid. Once the refrigerant goes over the evaporator coil, it gets converted to a gas.
The gas then absorbs the heat inside your home, travels through the evaporator coil, and gets converted to a low-pressure gas. The refrigerant goes through tubing to the outside compressor unit, where it then compresses the low-pressure gas into a high-pressure hot gas that goes into the condenser. The gas flows through the condenser coil, where a fan cools the gas and releases the heat outdoors.
Because the refrigerant is in a constant loop, when it returns through the condenser and compressor, it converts again from a hot gas to a cool liquid. The air ducts then deliver the cool air into your home. Be sure to keep your air filters clean for good airflow,
Which refrigerants is explosive?
Refrigerant Flammability – There are four classes of flammability: 1, 2L, 2, or 3.
Class 1 is for refrigerants that, when tested, show no flame propagation at 140°F (60°C) and 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa). Class 2 is for refrigerants that, when tested, exhibit flame propagation at 140°F (60°C) and 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa), has a heat of combustion less than 19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 British thermal units BTU/lb), and have a lower flammability limit (LFL) greater than 0.10 kg/m3. Class 3 is for refrigerants that, when tested, exhibit flame propagation at 140°F (60°C) and 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa) and that either has a heat of combustion of 19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 BTU/lb) or greater or an LFL of 0.10 kg/m3 or lower.
1. R32 refrigerant R32, also known as difluoromethane and carbon difluoride, is colorless, odorless, and has a safety level of A2. A Freon substitute with excellent thermodynamic properties, R32 has a low boiling point, low vapor pressure, a large refrigeration coefficient, no ozone depletion, a small greenhouse effect coefficient, and is flammable and explosive.
The combustion limit in the air is 15%~31% and will burn and explode when it meets open flame. R32 has a lower viscosity coefficient and higher thermal conductivity. Although R32 has many advantages, R32 is a flammable and explosive refrigerant, and air conditioning installation and maintenance is already dangerous work, now add the uncertainty of R32, safety issues have to be considered.
Installation and welding of R32 refrigeration equipment should be vacuumed.2. R290 refrigerant A new environmentally friendly refrigerant, R290 (propane), is mainly used in central air conditioners, heat pump air conditioners, domestic air conditioners, and other small refrigeration equipment.
A new environmentally friendly refrigerant, R290 (propane), is mainly used in central air conditioners, heat pump air conditioners, domestic air conditioners, and other mini cooling systems. Since R290 is a hydrocarbon refrigerant with an ODP value of 0 and a GWP value of less than 20, it has obvious environmental advantages over common refrigerants.
R22 has an ozone layer destruction of 0.055 and a global warming factor of 1700 R404a has 0 damage to the ozone layer and a global warming coefficient of 4540 R410a has 0 damage to the ozone layer and a global warming factor of 2340 R134a with 0 damage to the ozone layer and a global warming factor of 1600 R290 has an ozone layer depletion of 0 and a global warming factor of 3
Additionally, R290 refrigerant has a high latent heat of evaporation, excellent fluidity, and high efficiency. However, Due to its flammable and explosive properties, the filling volume is limited and the safety level is A3. When using R290 refrigerant grade, it should be evacuated and open flames are forbidden because air (oxygen) mixed with R290 can form explosive mixtures, which are at risk of igniting upon contact with a heat source or open flame.3.
R600a refrigerant R600a isobutane, a new type of hydrocarbon refrigerant with excellent performance, is made from natural ingredients, is non-toxic, has no greenhouse effect and no damage to the ozone layer, and is eco-friendly. Among its characteristics are high latent heat of evaporation, strong cooling capacity, good fluidity, low delivery pressure, low power consumption, and slow return of load temperature.
Compatible with various compressor lubricants. Under its own pressure, it is a colorless transparent liquid and colorless transparent gas. R600a is mainly used to replace R12 refrigerant, and now it is mostly used in household refrigerator equipment. R600a refrigerant has an explosive limit volume of 1.9%~8.4%, safety level A3.
When mixed with air, it can form explosive mixtures, and it produces combustion and explosive reactions when it meets heat sources and opens fire, and it reacts violently with oxidizers; its vapor is heavier than air and can spread over a considerable distance at lower levels, and it will catch fire and reignite when it meets fire sources.4.
R717 (ammonia) refrigerant The last refrigerant we will discuss is R717 (ammonia). In comparison with the above three types of refrigerators, ammonia is the most dangerous; it is classified as a toxic medium, level 2. If people are exposed to ammonia vapor for half an hour when its concentration reaches 0.5*0.6% by volume, they can become poisoned.
As a result of the nature of ammonia, it is necessary to regulate the operation and maintenance of ammonia systems, we should pay more attention. Ammonia is a medium-temperature refrigerant, pure ammonia has no adverse effect on lubricating oil, but when there is moisture, it will reduce the lubricating effect of refrigeration oil, copper, and copper alloy are not used for piping and valve parts in the ammonia refrigeration system.
As a refrigerant, ammonia has the following advantages: easy obtaining, low cost, moderate pressure, large unit refrigeration capacity, high exothermic coefficient, almost insoluble in oil, low resistance to flow, easy to detect when leaking, no destruction of the ozone layer, no greenhouse effect.
- Its disadvantages are: irritating odor, toxic, can burn and explode, and have a corrosive effect on copper and copper alloy.
- When the volume of ammonia vapor in the air reaches 0.5-0.6% can cause an explosion.
- Therefore, the concentration of ammonia in the air of the room should not exceed 0.02mg / L.
Ammonia is flammable at room temperature, the explosion limit is 16% to 25%, the most easily ignited concentration is 17%, the maximum explosion pressure is 22.5%. Lando Chillers Lando Chillers has been manufacturing process chillers for over 15 years. Our sales and applications team is capable of assisting in a nearly endless list of system requirements to ensure proper cooling and chiller unit reliability. Make the equipment performs at its very best.
What prevents contamination hazards in a refrigerator?
Refrigeration – Correct refrigeration procedures are essential when handling food. Some simple steps to follow are:
Place raw meat, poultry, and seafood on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator in containers or sealed plastic bags. This prevents any juices from the meat dripping onto, and contaminating, other food. Always keep ready-to-eat and cooked food separate from raw food. Refrigerate eggs as soon as possible to increase their longevity. You should also keep eggs in their original container, to reduce the risk of them smashing. Ensure your fridge is the correct temperature. The law states that, in catering environments, all refrigerators must operate at 8°C or below, It is good practice to set refrigerator temperatures between 1°C and 4°C, Don’t place hot foods in the fridge, as this raises the overall temperature. Remember: fridge temperatures should always be below 8°C.
What will be the best preventive maintenance to avoid any problems on refrigeration?
Refrigeration Preventative Maintenance Checklist: Tasks you can choose to DO or DELEGATE – These are tasks that you can take on yourself if you have some experience with the techniques, as long as you’re careful to use the right cleaners, tools and cleaning methods.
- However most busy restaurant managers choose to assign these tasks to a professional, who can do the job better with the proper equipment and supplies to do the work safely and efficiently.
- Clean coils.
- Coil cleaning is critical to the efficient operation of your system and should be on every refrigeration preventative maintenance checklist.
Each month, you should inspect and clean your unit’s condenser and evaporator coils. If your coils are caked in dirt and grime, it will interfere with the transfer of heat from your system. This is yet another cause of inefficiency and your system working overtime, which will accelerate repairs.
Why must two persons be present when working with refrigerants?
With regards to work site procedures and safety precautions when dealing with refrigerants – Fresh refrigerant vapours and many other gases are heavier than air and can displace the oxygen in a closed space. Because of this, low-level ventilation should be used.
Proper ventilation must be used at all times to prevent the technician from being overcome by lack of oxygen. Should you be in a closed space and the concentration of refrigerant becomes too great, you may not notice it until it is too late. Your symptoms would be a dizzy or light headed feeling, and your lips may become numb.
If you should feel his way, move quickly to a place with fresh air. Because there are risks involved with working with refrigerant cylinders it is important that certain safety precautions be established before starting work on a refrigeration plant. If no work site procedures are in place, the following general precautions must be observed.
- Locate other personnel working in the vicinity and inform them that you are going to work on the plant so that if there is any emergency, they know that you are working in the plant room.
- Adhere to the safety policy of the plant owner.
- Adhere to the safety requirements of the particular site.
- Obtain a permit to work, if necessary.
- Assess any risks involved in working in the area, for example if a major refrigerant leak occurred, could it harm others?
- Check the level of ventilation in the plant room in order to prevent the build-up of refrigerant vapour that can cause asphyxiation.
- In the case of flammable refrigerants ensure that there are no ignition sources in the vicinity.
- Check the location of the following:
- The electrical isolator for the plant so that the plant can be switched off in case of an emergency, or for normal maintenance work.
- The emergency exits for quick exit if required.
- The positions of the fire extinguishers in case of fires.
- The nearest first aid equipment for emergency use.
- The nearest telephone to phone rescue services if required.
- The telephone numbers of the rescue services.
The above constitutes the minimum good practice as the information above will be needed should an emergency arise. Elias, it is also important to understand that there are situations that require two competent persons to be present. As explained earlier, refrigerant gases do not contain any oxygen and if refrigerant is leaking from a plant there is a danger of an excessive build-up of refrigerant vapour.
- When working in an enclosed area.
- When working in a basement.
- When working in a badly ventilated area.
In all the above situations there can be a build-up of refrigerant when there is a leak. The second person must stay outside the working area and observe the person inside all the time; if he/she sees the person is in distress he/she must remove the person from the area immediately, apply the appropriate safety procedures and obtain medical assistance – if necessary.
What is safety precautions in workshop?
Workshop rules –
Student affected by drugs or alcohol are not permitted in the workshop.Students with any health problems that may affect workplace safety (e.g. medication, epileptic fits) must report these conditions to the workshop staff.Please notify the workshop staff on your arrival.No food or drink is allowed in the workshop.Wear the correct protective equipment for the tools you are using – ask if in doubt.All chemicals (e.g. glues and paints) must be checked through Chemwatch and with workshop staff before use.Immediately notify the workshop supervisor of any faulty or broken equipment.Please ask how to use the tools safely.Make sure your work piece is fixed securely before work commences.Keep leads up off the floor.Keep clear of any person operating tools and machinery (bumping an operator or get tangled in the lead could cause serious injury to you or the operator).Do not talk to anyone operating electrical equipment and machinery.Keep your work area tidy.Clean up any spills immediately.Wash hands after using equipment and materials.