Pro-Cold Room Storage and Use

procedure cold room storage use modified Mon Oct 03 2022 16:02:18 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

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University of Louisville



Cold Room Storage and Use



DEHS-Industrial Hygiene-3


This procedure applies to the University Community (administrators, faculty, staff, students).


Cold rooms within research buildings are often shared by multiple researchers. Each lab must take responsibility in maintaining the room to ensure clean and safe research environments, and prevent various health and safety issues. Recommended tasks are identified for cold room users, as well as steps to follow for cold room that are no longer in use or have been abandoned.


For Cold Rooms currently in use, cold room USERS should perform the following tasks:

  1. Annual – A uniform clean-up of each cold room by all departments who use the space is required annually.
  2. Monthly - An inventory of the cold room and removal of items which are no longer needed, have expired, or which are harboring mold is required monthly.
  3. Each laboratory will be responsible for ensuring that nothing being stored is harboring mold. COLD ROOM USERS WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MOLD REMOVAL COSTS.
  4. Keep the cold room door firmly shut.
  5. Organize the cold room by using metal or plastic shelving storage units, in lieu of wooden shelves or other porous materials.
  6. Label shelves, containers and other items to identify the contents and establish ownership.
  7. DO NOT store items in cardboard boxes, as they may harbor mold. Move items to securely closed plastic or metal containers. If you must store paper products (e.g., Kim wipes, paper towels), do so in closed air-tight plastic containers.
  8. DO NOT store hazardous chemicals, including but not limited to, volatile flammable solvents, highly toxic chemicals, (e.g. carcinogens, regulated chemicals), volatile acids, asphyxiant gases, and compressed gases such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen in cold rooms.
  9. DO NOT store food or beverages in cold rooms.
  10. Do not store equipment in cold rooms, except when necessary for keeping samples cold.
  11. In general and when using equipment, be sure to promptly clean and remove any residual or spilled liquids or chemicals (e.g. buffers, media).
  12. Keep electrical cords to a minimum and do not allow cords to come in contact with water or other liquids. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) should be installed on the electrical outlets in cold rooms since they can be damp environments. Older cold rooms may not have GFCI’s, so verify they are in place before plugging in equipment.
  13. Keep all surfaces clean and wipe down surfaces on a routine basis or at least annually.
    • Use a wet clean up method (e.g. damp cloth with 10% bleach).
    • Be sure to dry surfaces after cleaning to ensure moisture is removed.
  14. Promptly report water leaks, temperature issues or other cold room maintenance issues to Physical Plant on HSC Campus 502-852-5695 or Belknap Campus 502-852-6241 or Shelby Campus 502-852-6241.
  15. Dispose of waste into proper waste streams outside of cold rooms.

For Cold Rooms abandoned or no longer in use:

  1. Follow the laboratory close-out procedures and complete the lab close-out notification form located at the link below for the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS) to facilitate your Cold Room closeout: Lab Closeout Form.
  2. Contact Physical Plant after DEHS completes your Cold Room close-out to remove the room from service or to install dehumidifiers and lock the cold room.

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations


Environmental Health & Safety
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292


Revision Date(s):June 26, 2015

Reviewed Date(s): August 10, 2022

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