Section: Safety and Security
Policy Number: 7-14
Policy Name: Purchase and Safe Use of Refrigeration Units
Date: April 15, 1975
Revisions: October 1, 1981; June 5, 1989; January 9, 2006

  1. PURPOSE

    To outline the University's policy regulating the purchase and use of refrigeration units utilized in laboratory, research or other risk areas. The purchase of refrigeration units used exclusively for the refrigeration of items intended for human consumption are not included in this policy.

  2. POLICY

    1. Definitions

      1. Domestic Refrigeration Unit - Ordinary stock refrigeration equipment, such as refrigerators, freezers, ice machine, storage cases, coolers, etc.

      2. Laboratory - Safe Refrigeration Unit - A unit in which the refrigeration compartment(s) is vapor tight and excludes all lights, switches, heating units, thermostats, and other internal ignition sources.

      3. Explosion-Proof Refrigeration Unit - A unit which is designed for use within environments requiring control of all ignition sources, both internal and external.

      4. Flammable Liquid - Any liquid having a flash point below 100 F. (37.8 C) and having a vapor pressure not exceeding 40 pounds per square inch absolute (2068.6 mm Hg) at 100 F. (37.8 C) .

      5. Combustible Liquid - Any liquid having a flash point at or above 100 F. (37.8 C.)but below 200 F(93.3C), except any mixture having components with flash points of 200 F(93.3C) or higher, the total volume of which make up ninety-nine (99) percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.

    2. Purchase

      Individuals purchasing a refrigeration unit on a Procurement Card must follow the procedures for obtaining approval from EnvironmentalHealth and Safety prior to purchase on the procurement card. All refrigeration units shall meet, as a minimum, the laboratory-safe classification when the unit is intended for the refrigeration of any flammable or combustible liquid.

      Procurement Services shall consult with Environmental Health and Safety regarding refrigeration equipment to be used in laboratory settings.

    3. Use;

      1. All domestic refrigeration units, used within laboratory, research, or other risk areas, shall be permanently placarded on each compartment door with red lettering at least 1/2 inch in height, "Caution - Flammable and/or Combustible Liquids Prohibited."

      2. Each container placed in any refrigeration unit shall be dated and labeled to indicate hazard class and contents.

      3. Flammable and/or combustible liquids shall be stored in secondary containment.

      4. The face of each refrigeration unit shall be posted with the name, office telephone and home telephone number of the person(s) responsible for the unit.

      5. Flammable and/or combustible liquids shall not be placed in domestic refrigeration units.

      6. Domestic and laboratory-safe refrigeration units shall not be used in environments where flammable and/or combustible vapors may be present.

      7. Items intended for human consumption shall not be placed in any refrigeration unit that is used, or has been used, for the refrigeration of any chemical included in the NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances, radioactive material, etiological agents, carcinogens, drugs, other hazardous or toxic substances, or any other item not intended for human consumption.

      8. Refrigeration units used for the refrigeration of items intended for human consumption shall not be located in laboratory, research, or other risk areas.

Submitted by: Department of Environmental Health and Safety