Estonia: Cooling gear at Health Board's cold store was not compliant with requirements

  • 2021-08-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The refrigeration equipment in the cold store of the Estonian Health Board was not compliant with valid requirements and should not even have been sold at the time of installation, Kaur Kajak, director-general of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA), said at a press briefing Wednesday. 

Kajak said that the malfunction at the Health Board's cold stores was caused by hot weather, as well as by very complex circumstances caused by construction and design errors. He noted that valid norms were significantly violated in both the design and planning stages of the cold store. At the same time, the facility continued to work as a cold store until the malfunction. 

Kajak noted that the accident could have been prevented if the temperatures in the cold storage facility had been monitored regularly. 

Katrin Kiisk, deputy director-general of the State Agency of Medicines, said that the temperatures in the rooms were not checked every day. She pointed out that even though this was a  requirement arising from law, the Health Board did not comply with it and had not appointed a person responsible for temperature.  

State Secretary Taimar Peterkop said the rise in temperature in the cold store was detected by the monitoring systems, but due to shortfalls in procedural rules, the information did not reach the addressees.

The director-general of the TTJA said that the cooling units of the cold store did not meet valid requirements and should not have been sold and installed at the time of their installation.

Kajak said that the cold store had a floor heating system, which was installed to heat the room during cold weather if necessary. However, during the heatwave, the underfloor heating was working and the temperature at the floor was 16-18 degrees Celsius.

"The cold store's cooling unit stopped working, but the underfloor heating and ventilation continued to work. The room quickly warmed up," said Kajak. He emphasized that equipment stopping working is a foreseeable risk and that in the event of such a breakdown, the entire  system of the building and the entire building must support that the temperature in the cold store does not rise. However, the cooling equipment of the cold store was not connected to the building's automation system," he said.

Kajak also pointed out that three years ago, deviations were discovered during the maintenance of the cooling equipment and it became clear that the equipment was working at its final limit.

"No conclusions were drawn," Kajak said.

According to Kajak, officials from the TTJA also visited, after the malfunction at the cold store of the Health Board, the cold store for medicines of private company Magnum for comparison. He pointed out that where the Health Board's cold store was built as a regular warehouse, where underfloor heating was also used, the cold stores of the private company were built based on the room in room principle, the storage premises were unheated and temperature sensors were in several different places.