Service NL
October 4, 2018

Ice Rinks Inspected to Ensure Health and Safety of Patrons

It is the time of year when people of the province are returning to ice rink activities. To help mitigate potential risks associated with refrigeration equipment, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has standards in place, including inspections, alarms, maintenance requirements and staff training.

Ammonia is commonly used in mechanical refrigeration systems, including those found in ice rinks. These systems are required to be installed, operated and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Compressed Gas Regulations and the Mechanical Refrigeration Code. These systems are inspected periodically by Service NL and must have current and valid inspection certificates.

The Occupational Health and Safety Division also conducts regular inspections at ice rinks to promote health and safety. These inspections happen on an annual basis, but may also occur at additional times throughout the year, as needed, to meet the requirements of the legislation or in response to complaints. All workplaces are also required to perform their own regular inspections under Section 18 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

There are a number of practices that arena users, arena employees and municipal governments that operate arenas can do to minimize risk, which can be found in the backgrounder below.

“This is an exciting time of year for both children and adults who enjoy participating in arena activities such ice hockey, figure skating, recreational skating or curling. Our government places great emphasis on safety and regularly inspects these facilities for any potential risks for both users and employees.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL

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Media contact
Krista Dalton
Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492


Standards to minimize ammonia risks

Arena users

  • In case of an ammonia leak or emergency, facilities must have a working alarm that workers and arena users can see and hear. The alarm includes a monitor that constantly tracks ammonia levels and responds if concentrations reach a certain preset level.
  • Users must accept the responsibility to safely leave the facility as required under the National Fire Code of Canada when a building emergency alarm is activated.
  • Arena users should know where fire exits are and evacuate as soon as an alarm is heard.

Arena employees

  • Arena employees must understand all written preventative maintenance procedures and emergency response procedures.
  • They must understand the health hazards of ammonia and have up to date Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training.
  • Employees must also have access to (and understand how to use) adequate personal protective equipment (e.g. respirators).

Municipal governments that operate arenas

  • It is the arena operator’s responsibility to train staff, as well as provide all necessary financial resources to safely operate the equipment to meet all regulatory compliance obligations.
  • In consultation with equipment manufacturers or suppliers, owners must ensure that all equipment is inspected regularly and replaced when necessary.
  • They must also ensure everyone who works on the ammonia system has ready access to and understands the written preventive maintenance and emergency procedures that they have developed for this type of work.
  • Arena operators are encouraged to update and practice emergency drills with staff.
  • Operators must include plans for testing and replacing, where required, all safety equipment, such as monitors and alarm systems, detection equipment, radios, eyewash stations, respiratory and skin protection equipment, and first aid kits.
  • They must also establish a system to ensure the continued well-being of workers who enter an ammonia enclosure on their own (working alone policy).

2018 10 04                              10:25 a.m.