This guidance on personal safety and coldrooms comes from the World Health Organisation.
You can see the relevant PDF here. It is written specifically for vaccine cold rooms but in reality the procedures are virtually the same for any coldroom.
1.Tell a colleague what you are doing. Do not enter a cold room or freezer
room on your own without informing a colleague first. If you become trapped
in the room you may suffer from hypothermia and die.
2. Check the lock. Before you enter, check that you have the key and that the
door was locked by the last user. Keep the key with you so that you cannot be
locked in the room by mistake.
3. Check the door. Before anyone enters a cold room or freezer room,
check that the door can be opened from the inside.
Additional notes on safety checks on the door.
Test the action of the internal safety release handle. Does it work properly?
If not, call the maintenance technician.
· A freezer room should have an electrically heated door seal. If the door seal
heater is not working the door may freeze shut. If the door is difficult to open
and there is ice around the door seal, the heater may not be working. Call the
· A freezer room should be fitted with a pressure release vent. Every time you
enter the room you let in a certain amount of warm air. When this cools it
contracts and negative pressure begins to build up inside the room. The pressure
release vent then opens and allows enough outside air to enter and rebalance
the pressure. However, if the pressure release vent is blocked, the negative
pressure remains, and the door becomes very difficult to open. If the door is
difficult to open, check the release vent to see if it is iced up. Remove the ice if
you can. If you cannot do this, call the maintenance technician.
4. Cold rooms. Do not work for any length of time in a cold room unless you are
wearing warm clothing. Never remain inside on your own for more than a few
minutes, otherwise your body will become chilled and your reactions will
5. Freezer rooms. Never enter a freezer room without wearing protective
clothing, including gloves. Never remain inside on your own for more than a
few minutes, otherwise your body will become chilled and your reactions will
6. Dry ice. Internationally shipped vaccines may be packed in dry ice. Dry ice
changes into carbon dioxide gas when it evaporates (sublimes). If carbon
dioxide accumulates in a confined space it can cause suffocation. If you receive
large quantities of vaccine in international shipping containers, do not place
the containers in a small cold room or freezer room until the dry ice has been
7. Check the people. When you enter a cold store with more than two or three
colleagues, count the people before they go in and count them again when
they come out. Make sure no one is left behind.
8. Lock the door when you leave. Lock the door and put the key in a safe place.
Are there warm jackets? Are there warm trousers? Are there warm gloves?
Are there enough sets for the people who work in the store? Do they fit the
people who work in the store? If the answer to any of these questions is “No”,
obtain more clothing.
· Are the clothes kept in a safe place where they are not likely to be lost,
stolen or damaged? If they are not kept in such a place, arrange for the provision
of a suitable safe storage place.