Ways to Avoid Hazards in Dismantling and Relocating Coolrooms

07 June 2019

Starting with an obvious observation, the team members who are responsible for taking apart a coolroom need to protect themselves. Granted, if this is a newer construct, it’s likely been designed to come apart easily. In other words, it’s modular. That being said, sharp edges will become exposed as the chamber breaks apart. Wear protective gloves and observe the following guidelines.

Electrically Isolate the Equipment

There are live electrical circuits humming quietly inside operational coolrooms. Even when the refrigeration equipment isn’t powered, perhaps because the thermostat isn’t active, there could be a dangerously high electrical charge nearby. Remember, this equipment requires a moderately high amount of power. Moreover, the chamber likely has lots of exposed metal parts. If an electrical shock does occur in here, it could prove fatal. Always safely isolate the circuits. Turn them off at the fuse board, pull the fuses, or lock down the circuit breakers. Even after all of those actions have been taken, a professional refrigeration technician will still want to test the circuits to make sure every live wire is safely depowered.

Relocating the Refrigeration Equipment It’s not hard to relocate the electrical wiring. In point of fact, it might just be cheaper to rewire the whole thing. If the wiring is kept, check the insulation for any abrasive scratching. If the wires are damaged, they can’t be used again. Anyway, even while taking the possibilities of wiring damage into account, this is still a straightforward procedure. For the refrigeration unit, well, things can get a mite more complicated. For starters, there’s the refrigerant to deal with when breaking down the gear. A dismantling or decommissioning process can’t begin by ripping the gear out of its ducting. No, the fluid has to be depressurized and discharged. There are refrigerant recovery protocols to observe, plus the storage/transferring equipment to purchase. Then, if this really is a decommissioning job, there might be an environmentally harmful fluorocarbon load to safely dispose of, as regulated by a nationally accredited ruling body. 

In order of personal and environmental hazards, the electrical dangers come out on top. They’re more immediate, for high electrical currents can kill instantly. Next, an environmental hazard exists as a charged refrigerant load. The fluid needs to be discharged and valves need to be sealed. The recovery procedure clearly requires the services of an expert engineer. This is no job for an amateur. Finally, mechanical dangers are easier to pinpoint. Sharp edges can cut sensitive skin while heavy walls can crush limbs. Incidentally, unforeseen hazards are always lurking. Wear a breathing mask, just in case the wall insulation contains dangerous fibres. That mask will also provide additional protection, should dangerous bacterial spores be concealed in those wall panels.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
E-mail: markconnelly@cmcoolrooms.com.au
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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