Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ice Arenas - Air Quality Rules

As of May 20, 2013, all ice arenas are subject to new air quality rules.  The rule changes are concerning air quality in the arenas, the measuring of that quality and employee training related to these measures.  The rules are applicable to all arenas, including those without internal combustion engine-powered equipment being operated indoors. 

Acceptable Air Quality
When the building is open to the public, the air quality conditions must be within the acceptable range and be maintained throughout the arena building.  This means that from the time the arenas doors open to the public to the time the doors close, the new air quality standards must be met.  This standard applies even when the arena is open with no attendance.  The acceptable air quality limits have been reduced to: one hour average concentrations of <20 ppm CO and <0.3 ppm NO2.

Certification and Training
All ice arenas must apply for certification annually.  You will receive an application and renewal notice from MDH (Minnesota Department of Health).  The new standard requires that at least one trained person must be available in the arena building when the arena is open to the public.   There must be annual refresher training specifically tailored to the facility and the trainee’s duties provided for all responsible persons. 

Measurement of Air Quality
Measurements of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels need to be taken at least twice per week when fuel-powered ice resurfacers are used.
  • One of the two sets of required measurements for resurfacers must be on Saturday or Sunday.
  • Air quality measurements must be taken at least once per week following maximum use of fuel-burning edgers.
  • If edging when arena is open to the public, testing is required 20 minutes after completion of edging.
  • If edging when arena is closed to the public, testing can be done any time prior to opening the building to the public.

Air Testing Equipment
Electronic air monitoring devices are permitted without special approval providing that they meet criteria stated in rule.
  • Air monitoring devices must be used, stored and calibrated according to manufacturer specifications.

When CO and/or NO2 Levels are High
When measurements of CO exceed 20 ppm or NO2 exceed 0.3 ppm, you must:
  • immediately increase the ventilation rate, and
  • suspend internal combustion engine
  • use until acceptable air quality conditions are measured throughout the building.

When unacceptable levels of CO or NO2 are measured, follow-up testing must be performed and documented as follows:
  • every 20 minutes until acceptable air quality is measured,
  • 20 minutes after the next five uses of ice maintenance equipment, and
  • at least once per day for the next three days.

 By Paul Gladen


Monday, January 19, 2015

Complacency is The Prelude to Disaster

There are many things that we do regularly and have done for years that become automatic. Driving is a prime example. We all drive to work or bring our kids to school driving the same route every day. Yet how many of us can recall every detail of that drive on any one occasion? Our minds are being occupied by the day to day minutia that creeps in to our thoughts on a regular basis. These are not trivial things but things that are important to our everyday life and family. What time was Billy’s or Suzie’s soccer game? What time was that meeting scheduled for at work? Whose birthday is it today?

When we embark on tasks that we have done over and over again those circuits or pathways in our conscience are not full and part of the task is being done by the unconscious part of our minds allowing space for other thoughts to creep in. This habituation and complacency is what can lead to injury not necessarily through carelessness but from tuning out what is going on merely from the fact that we have done it so often.

Every one of us, me included, have things that we say “I could do that in my sleep”. Repetition is what leads to complacency and habituation in many ways in the tasks we do, things we see, and safety shortcuts we might take due to inconvenience, lack of PPE, time crunches, etc. The habit of having done something one way, either correctly or not, for a period of time it becomes habituated in to our daily lives.

Some research done states it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to create a habit or to where doing a task becomes automatic. I would guess, that the frequency of the task being done would play in to the time it takes to reform the habit.

This plays to any of the tasks we do. Any task we do can benefit with retraining or revisiting the fundamentals in order to bring it back to the conscience part of our mind. Safety training can be at times repetitious and seem to be more of a bother than not but it is important in that it can bring things to light that have been pushed to the back to the dust bins of our mind and are overlooked due to compliancy and habit.

Safety training keeps us focused on what is important in the tasks we do on a daily basis. Many of the tasks we do can and are hazardous and complacency can lead to dire results, accidents and injuries.  Revisit the tasks that need to be done, think about their hazards, the safety precautions, procedures, and personal protective equipment that apply to those tasks and bring them back to the front of our minds. Remember Accidents cost money. Working safe is free.
By Paul Gladen