Skip to main content

Health and Safety Directorate

Cryogenic Liquids and Solids

Cryogenic liquids (such as liquid nitrogen) and solids (such as solid carbon dioxide, ‘dry / card ice’) are widely used throughout QMUL laboratories and related areas and are proven valuable tools for academic research and teaching.
These substances have hazardous properties (i) they are extremely cold liquids or solids (ii) and evaporate or sublimate during increases in temperature to produce large volumes of gas which deplete oxygen levels in an inadequately ventilated space.
If handled, stored, transported or disposed of unsafely these substances can cause injury (cold burns, frostbite, hypothermia), ill health (via physical trauma) and in a worse-case scenario, fatalities (asphyxiation in an inadequately ventilated area).
It is important that all who handle these substances are aware of the hazardous properties, be trained and know how to handle these substances safely without causing harm to themselves and others.

QMUL Documents:  


The Policy defines the safe management and working requirements for cryogenic liquids and solids in the context of QMUL’s activities; identifies the roles and responsibilities for Heads / Managers / Supervisors of Schools / Institutes / Directorates conducting the work and for QMUL staff, students and others who may be affected by the work, and notes the key legal and compliance requirements specified in the relevant health and safety legislation and supporting guidance.

Guidance and additional resources on practical measures (including installation of cryogenic facilities, safe working procedures including personal and facility protection, dealing with accidents and emergencies, inspections, training, supervision and competency) for QMUL and resources for the risk assessment of work involving cryogenic liquids and solids are provided.

Liquid nitrogen – Laboratory Safety Procedure: 

Storage and use of liquid nitrogen dewars_Risk Assessment Template

Liquid Nitrogen Poster January 2017 [PPT 369KB]  

Industry / Sector Guidance documents:

British Compressed Gas Association (BCGA) Publications


For QMUL health and safety advisory assistance for cryogenic liquids and solids, contact the H&S Manager / Advisor for your Faculty / PS or the subject lead at

All H&S staff can be contacted via the help desk at

For operational assistance (facility and equipment) with cryogenic liquids and solids at QMUL, contact

Josh Garnham – On site BOC Customer Manager for QMUL
Phone 020 8981 1567 or Mobile 07468 719406

For emergency assistance (if person/s injured or harmed) in cryogenic facilities:

Phone QMUL Emergency Number 0207 882 3333 

Ask for immediate response by the Fire Brigade and Medical Assistance.

State location of facility

Do not re-enter facility until safe to do so.

Report incident.




Return to top