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Research Freezers and Refrigerators

If the laboratory or work area handles flammable (volatile) materials, any refrigerators or freezers introduced into the space must be spark-proof or intrinsically safe.

Sufficient numbers of fridges and freezers must be considered as part of the storage requirements for the users.

Where freezers need to operate at -20degC and below, air conditioning or air handling to remove excess heated air above the units may be required to prevent the laboratory getting too hot. Where -80degC freezers are required, a separate freezer room is warranted.

During the planning stage of a laboratory, the principal investigator must identify how they will deal with a loss of power, as if there is a need for liquid nitrogen to be stored, then the risks associated with the storage of liquid nitrogen will also need to be considered. Ideally freezers should be connected into the central power supply so that if there is a loss of power, the back up supply should ensure that the freezers remain in operation. Buildings linked to the Building Management System (BMS) will alert the Estates Department such that any additional back up generator can be brought into use, should the power be lossed for a significant time.

Areas not linked to the BMS will need a separate emergency plan. Freezers and refridgerators left closed should retain temperature for a significant period if not opened during periods of power outage. The critical time post power outage when samples will be lost, or when hazards may arise if the loss of power continues should be determined at the point of installation such that any emergency plan can take into consideration the 'what to do if.... scenarios'.