Fernie Memorial Arena. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

City of Fernie responds to WorkSafeBC report

CAO Norm McInnis says City vows to make safety a culture they embody

The City of Fernie has released a statement in response to yesterday’s WorkSafeBC report regarding the fatal ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena.

Look back: WorkSafeBC releases damning report into Fernie arena tragedy

City of Fernie CAO Norm McInnis stated that the City of Fernie still feels the loss of three valuable men, and that they know how essential it is to take worker safety seriously.

“Based on the findings of this and the TSBC (Technical Safety BC) report, we now all have the benefit of hindsight,” said McInnis.

“We now know that mixing coolants, as led to the incident, creates a hazard – something no one in the industry knew before.”

McInnis said the City, “continues to reflect on the learnings of this terrible accident” and that it compels them to think about how to improve.

“While we can’t change what happened, we can do more to look holistically at all aspects of how our city functions in a way to make safety not just a goal we meet but a culture we embody. We want to particularly look at how we improve documentation and internal communications – two areas we agree with WorkSafeBC that could benefit from improvement,” said McInnis.

The CAO said the City of Fernie can commit to doing everything in its power to help other municipalities learn from this.

“We have seen a number of arenas close due to similar coolant containment issues, including in our area and we want to ensure it never happens again,” he said.

“Although we don’t see that the report points out anything specific we could have done to prevent this tragedy, administration and Council will take time to review the report and orders in details to learn from it.”

According to the release, the City has hired a contractor and a new refrigeration system for the Arena, which is being installed in time for the 2018/19 season.

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