Grocery Store Leak Detection
A typical grocery store has between 20 and 50 coolers or chilled food areas and refrigerated workspaces. Each of these areas is cooled with a refrigerant system which can leak, and many of the refrigerant coils and pumps are located in unventilated or poorly ventilated spaces where an employee can be exposed without any fresh air to dilute the fumes. This creates a serious risk of asphyxiation.
Additionally, refrigerant leaks can impact the store’s bottom line in multiple ways: First, a refrigerant leak can cause valuable food to spoil – resulting in lost inventory as well as disappointed customers. Second, a refrigerant leak causes the loss of expensive refrigerant. Third, any refrigerant leak in a confined space can be a hazard to the health of a grocery store employee.
In the fast-paced grocery store environment – with quick-turning inventory, spoilage and low margins, it might be tempting to overlook a Life Safety System that protects both employees and customers. While many grocery stores have acknowledged the hazards, a Refrigerant Monitoring system is often treated as an afterthought – designed and installed by unqualified personnel, with improper sensor placements and inadequate maintenance, calibration and certification.
A Simple Sandwich Making Operation?
Food preparation is a growing business for many retail grocery outlets. The need to preserve this prepared food has opened the grocery industry to hazards more typically associated with mass production food facilities.
In one recent incident, a food worker working alone making sandwiches became ill and lost consciousness. He was discovered by a supervisor who called for help. Emergency responders were able to revive the worker and a subsequent investigation revealed a leak in the nitrogen injection equipment used to preserve the packaged sandwich. The resulting release of nitrogen lowered the level of oxygen available resulting in the employee’s loss of conciousness.
Carbon Dioxide(CO2) and Nitrogen are hazardous by their creation of an oxygen-defieicient atmosphere. Where Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen are present in a closed area (like a refrigerated food preparation or storage space), monitoring oxygen levels are a critical Life Safety function.
Life Safety Systems
Grocery store leak detection is a Life Safety System and proper operation and effectiveness of a Life Safety System is driven by a thorough understanding of the hazards, intelligent design and proper installation that reflects the characteristics of the hazards – all supported by regular calibration, maintenance and annual certification.
Ino-Tek focuses on the design and maintenance of Code-Compliant Gas Detection, Leak Detection and Life Safety systems. Our experts understand the hazards and the building and fire codes that apply – ensuring protection for customers, employees, and the store’s bottom line. Have a question about Refrigerant Monitoring or other Leak Detection systems? Contact Ino-Tek today!
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