Facility Forum - Winter 2017 - 38
REFRIGERATION & ICE
Ice Arena Registered
Refrigeration Plant Safety Bulletin
An Industry Specific Plan to Collectively Move Forward
he investigation into
the Fernie, B.C., refrigeration plant room
tragedy continues to
unfold with the cause
yet to be identified.
Recreation Facilities Association (ORFA)
members have been quick to reach out to
the Association for guidance on how best
to prepare for questions from community
leaders, user groups and other stakeholders on the efforts currently in place to
reduce a refrigeration incident and to
reconfirm they are being proactive in current refrigeration operational activities.
Members who have attended ORFA
training and adopted and/or implemented the regulatory and operational
best practices for safe refrigeration operations will already be well positioned
to effectively respond. In follow-up to
an ORFA news release entitled "Are
Ontario's Ice Rinks Safe?" (see page 36),
the following additional information is
being sharing with media, related agencies or other interested parties on the
topic. The information accumulates
industry best practice as, together, we
reassure all who work and play in our
arenas that we have and will continue
to be diligent toward our duty of care
for both the worker and general public.
Users and workers in Ontario's
1 recreation facilities should feel
confident that there is a very strong network of checks and balances in place to
ensure refrigeration safety. Key partners
in safe refrigeration operations include,
but are not limited to, agencies such as
the Technical Standards and Safety
Authority (TSSA), Ministry of Labour
(MOL), Electrical Safety Authority (ESA),
Ministry of Environment (MOE), Boiler
Inspectors, Refrigeration Contractors,
the ORFA and the professional staff who
manage and operate these important
community assets. Each of these partners are not only focused on their obligations and responsibilities - they are real
life participants in worker and public
safety as they, their friends and families
are also users of our buildings.
The ORFA Basic Arena Refrigera-
2 tion training course is considered
a minimum requirement for all facility staff
granted privilege by the "plant owner"
under the "Operating Engineers Regulation"
(OER) to enter a registered refrigeration
plant room. This training has been industry
leading for over 60 years.
Refer to: www.orfa.com/page-1861921
The ORFA remains committed to
3 worker and user safety. Recently,
the Association recognized the regulated
roles and responsibilities of the "owner"
to develop and implement effective ice
arena plant room maintenance documents, provide ongoing, internal, workplace specific plant operator training,
and to work in partnership with the
selected refrigeration contractor. To
assist both the owner and arena plant
operator in meeting these expectations,
the ORFA created the Certified Arena
Refrigeration Plant Technician (CARPT)
professional designation and recommended that every "unattended guarded
plant" have one such individual on staff.
Further, the CARPT is recommended as
ongoing professional development for all
TSSA Refrigeration Operator Class "B"
operators whose certificate is 5-years or
older and who work specifically in the
ice arena industry.
Refer to: www.orfa.com/page-1862126
38 | WINTER 2017 | ONTARIO RECREATION FACILITIES ASSOCIATION
The call by some to ban ammonia
due to its hazardous characteristics may be unrealistic. Ammonia is an
inexpensive, environmentally friendly
substance that has performed efficiently
in the refrigeration cycle since 1915. Since
its introduction, all partners in refrigeration safety have worked to put mechanisms byway of operational regulator
compliance obligations, ongoing inspection and a series of alarms and fail-safe
devices to ensure safe operations -
regardless of refrigerant types. Switching
existing ice arena equipment to an alternative refrigerant is not a simple process.
Pending the age and design of the current
infrastructure, the change costs would be
in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It is also important to note that the switch
does not eliminate risk as all refrigerant
plants are under extreme pressures with
any large escape of a chemical substance
having the potential for significant human
and environmental impact.
The commitment by manufactur5 ers, suppliers and installers to provide refrigeration systems that are
designed with safe guards that significantly reduce risk is ongoing. Regardless
if the system is state-of-the-art or older
technology, the ongoing safe operation
rests with the refrigeration plant owner
and operators. ORFA members are
encouraged to remind owners of the plant
of the importance in the investment of
ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
Refrigeration safety must include a business plan that indicates general upkeep
and maintenance, as well as investment
in life-cycle replacement of key components of the system and safety devices.
The loss of a certified refrigeration
6 mechanic in the Fernie, B.C.,