Rink operator fined $ 50,000
Kenneth Charles Jensen, who operated the Winter Wonderland rink, was convicted Thursday by the Wodonga Magistrates’ Court for failing to ensure, as far as possible, that the workplace and the means to enter it and to get out were safe and harmless to health.
Jensen was also ordered to pay costs of $ 3,752.
On June 9, 2019, the ice rink had to be cleaned after some customers and visitors developed headaches and became nauseous.
The court heard that two children, one of whom had lost consciousness twice, needed oxygen treatment in the hospital.
A WorkSafe investigation found that carbon monoxide emissions in the exhaust fumes of an LPG-powered ice resurfacer, which was regularly used to polish the rink, exceeded recommended levels.
The court heard that the machine was faulty and had not been properly maintained or tuned to minimize carbon monoxide levels in tailpipe emissions.
There was also no monitoring of carbon monoxide levels at the rink and tests revealed that inadequate ventilation meant dangerous levels of carbon monoxide indoors were spreading throughout the building rather than disperse.
WorkSafe’s executive director of health and safety Andrew Keen said it was luck rather than good management that customers and rink visitors did not suffer more significant injuries.
“Carbon monoxide affects the body’s ability to transport oxygen to organs and can be a silent killer. Because the gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, it is extremely difficult to identify dangerous levels without proper detectors.
“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute companies or employers who do not go out of their way to protect the health and safety of their employees or customers. “
Working safely with LPG ice surface machines
- Employers should, if reasonably possible, replace LPG-powered ice resurfacers with electrical equipment. If this is not practical, employers should ensure:
- The vehicle is regularly maintained, checked and tested, and is tuned to minimize carbon monoxide emissions
- Customers are kept away from the rink during resurfacing
- All operators of LPG equipment are trained in the risks and symptoms associated with overexposure to carbon monoxide and the importance of regular maintenance and adjustment to minimize carbon monoxide emissions.
- Operators can also use an appropriate carbon monoxide monitor to warn when gas levels are unsafe or to verify equipment is operating safely. They should be trained in how to use the monitor and what to do if they detect unsafe carbon monoxide levels.