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WorksafeBC issues over 1000 ammonia orders

CANADA: Inspections of 181 ammonia refrigeration plants, carried out by British Columbia’s health and safety agency, WorksafeBC, led to over 1,000 compliance orders.

In the first of three phases of inspections, WorksafeBC officers visited 223 sites between November 20 and December 31, 2017. The inspections focused on ice rinks and recreational facilities that use ammonia as a refrigerant. The focus of the inspections was risk assessment, exposure control plans, and work procedures, as well as emergency response and evacuation plans for ammonia exposure.

Of the sites inspected, 181 were using ammonia refrigeration systems. As a result of the inspections, officers issued 1,134 orders. Three compliance agreements were also created, and one stop use order was issued.

The three most commonly cited orders related to monitoring and alarm systems, pressure relief alarm systems and exposure control plans.

Phase two of the inspection initiative, now in progress, is focusing on contractors conducting installations, maintenance, and other activities on ammonia systems.

Phase three, scheduled for later this year, will include workplaces other than recreational facilities and ice rinks that may be storing large quantities of ammonia on site.

In October last year three people died following an ammonia leak at the Memorial Ice Rink in Fernie.

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