SC03 - Summary
29 Feb 2012



Code summary page



  • Exposure to cold surfaces and materials 
  • Asphyxiation
  • Explosion of pressure systems
  • Embrittlement of materials 

Roles Affected

  • All staff, tenants and contractors
  • Persons working in the area


Many of the safety precautions observed for compressed gases also apply to cryogenic liquids with the addition of extremely low temperatures and vapourisation of the cryogens.  Probably the most insidious risk is from asphyxiation since most of the cryogens used are colourless, odourless, and heavier than air and where 1 litre of liquid cryogen can produce hundreds of litres of gas.

Many of the large experimental facilities operated by the STFC involve the use of cryogenic materials and therefore can affect many people in the vicinity. A key component of reducing the risks posed by cryogenic materials is through the documented risk assessment process and the requirement for well maintained oxygen depletion systems where they are required. Example calculations for both sudden release and normal evaporation of a cryogen are provided as an aid to determining reduction in oxygen levels. The requirement for good ventilation should also not be overlooked. Adequate information, instruction and training as to the hazards associated with cryogenic materials must be given to those working with such materials and those in the vicinity of such hazards. Documented emergency procedures must be in place in the event of a cryogenic liquid spillage.

Although there is no specific safety legislation relating to cryogenic materials many of the risks are addressed through other COSHH, PUWER, DSEAR, Confined Space Regulations and the Pressure Systems (Safety) Regulations

Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,COO)