Managing liquid nitrogen and dry ice risks
Liquid nitrogen and dry ice (the solid form of carbon dioxide) are classified as dangerous goods under the Australian Dangerous Goods Code, but are widely used in the hospitality industry in safe and responsible ways to freeze foods for food preparation. However, liquid nitrogen and dry ice are also used to prepare cocktails in some licensed venues across Queensland.
Risks of using liquid nitrogen and dry ice in cocktails
The practice of using liquid nitrogen and dry ice in cocktails is risky. Risks include the following:
- In an environment where alcohol is being drunk, there is a greater risk of the substances being accidentally ingested by a customer with potentially tragic outcomes.
- There are also occupational health and safety risks for workers using liquid nitrogen and dry ice as, in addition to the extreme cold of the substances, they can be asphyxiation hazards if released into a confined space.
Risks further increase when these potentially dangerous substances are introduced into what can be a demanding work environment, and used by staff with varying degrees of experience.
Guidelines for the safe use of liquid nitrogen and dry ice
To minimise the chance of an accident in Queensland, we encourage licensees to develop or adopt guidelines about the safe use of liquid nitrogen and dry ice when preparing drinks.
The guidelines should:
- identify the serious injuries that can result from misuse of the products
- require staff to be properly trained in the safe use and handling of liquid nitrogen and dry ice.
Appropriate safety procedures should be in place to protect staff and customers when preparing and consuming foods and drinks using liquid nitrogen and dry ice.
Licensees may want to consider stopping the use of liquid nitrogen and dry ice in cocktails if the risks to staff and patrons cannot be properly managed.
Contact Workplace Health and Safety Queensland on 1300 362 128 for any queries about the use of liquid nitrogen and dry ice in a workplace.
- Read the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to learn about licensee obligations to ensure the health and safety of their workers and other people.
- Read the Liquor Act 1992 to learn about licensee obligations to provide a safe environment.
- Read the Food Act 2006 for information about food safety offences.
- Read more about patron and staff safety at licensed premises.
- Last reviewed: 22 Jun 2017
- Last updated: 27 Jun 2017