ALERT - Reminder to Inspect Ice Resurfacers 

TORONTO, October 15, 2020

A recent highly publicized ice resurfacer incident on social media and shared by various media outlets across the U.S. and Canada is a reminder of the potential risks and hazards associated with this kind of equipment.  It further demonstrates the need to have qualified, competent operators in the care and control for both worker and public safety. Although under investigation, the liquid observed being released in the video is consistent with leaking hydraulic fluid and a potential line failure. Hydraulic fluid is under high pressure and if a heat source becomes present during a leak, the end result is an extremely flammable and dangerous incident. Video

Other similar incidents have occurred in the past and typically resulted in official reports pointing to the lack of operator pre-use inspection and/or poor maintenance practices. As more information becomes available in this case, the ORFA will continue to monitor and share information with members.

In the interim, the ORFA reminds owners and operators of ice resurfacers to:

  • Train all operators to conduct pre-use comprehensive circle checks.  Checks that includes: awareness of wear, damage, or movement of any portion of the hydraulic system;
  • Create and maintain detailed logbook records of inspections and findings;
In the event that conditions identified above are observed, equipment should be locked out of service until repairs can be made by a qualified manufacturer approved technician.

Operators should also be trained to respond to all types of emergency situations. Specific to this type of event, actions might include:

  • Immediately shutting the unit off to stop the flow of fluid from the pump to reduce the fuel to the fire;
  • Activate the onboard extinguisher as required under the Fire Code;
  • If safe, shut off the fossil fuel supply to the engine;
  • Begin facility evacuation procedures (sound facility alarm, dial 911 and remove all users and workers) until such time that local fire officials give the “all clear”.

Post incident considerations might include:

  • Complete ice depth readings and log recordings at all surface damaged areas to confirm the ice surface is safe to resume use;
  • Return the unit to the manufacturer for repairs.
    The ORFA recommends the online Safe Ice Resurfacer Operator (SIRO) course for anyone wishing a basic introduction to the known risks and hazards associated with operating a mechanical piece of heavy equipment. The information presented is key to ensuring every new operator starts their career with a strong foundation of industry and manufacturer best practices. The training platform includes web based presentation that is supported by manufacturer equipment related operational safety materials and medias.