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Survey report: evaluation of ice resurfacing equipment and ventilation in an indoor ice arena at Lehigh Valley Ice Arena, Whitehall, Pennsylvania.

Hammond DR; Gressel MG
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, EPHB 156-69, 2003 Mar; :1-22
On October 17-18, 2002, in response to a request for technical assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, engineers from the Engineering Control Technology Branch, Division of Applied Research and Technology, conducted an investigation of health complaints at an ice rink in Whitehall Pennsylvania. The complaints, documented in a National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) report, were centered on carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from the ice resurfacing equipment. The NCEH report, which will include epidemiological data, has not been finalized at the time of this writing. This report focuses on the assessments of the building ventilation systems and some limited evaluations of the ice resurfacing equipment. This study was conducted in conjunction with the efforts of NCEH epidemiologists and Pennsylvania Department of Health industrial hygienists. On Sunday, September 29, 2002, following a college hockey game, a number of players reported a variety of health effects. Several individuals required hospitalization. The symptoms, while varied, were consistent with exposure to carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Once the effects were reported to the facility management, subsequent activities at the facility were canceled for the day and the malfunctioning ice resurfacing equipment was immediately removed from any operations. According to ice rink personnel, because of the concern about carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, one of the ice resurfacing machines was inspected by a Zamboni company representative and third party service technician on October 2, 2002. The inspection found that this machine, a propane-fired Zamboni model, was not properly operating on all four cylinders. Eight days prior to the incident, the machine had been serviced by the same third party service company, with an adjustment of the valves. On October 4, 2002, industrial hygienists from the Pennsylvania Department of Health along with a team from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, conducted air sampling in the arena during the resurfacing of the ice. For this test, a second ice resurfacing machine (also propane powered) was operated. Direct reading instrumentation was used to measure carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. On October 7, 2002, these tests were repeated with the first ice resurfacing machine, the one used on the day of the incident. From the limited evaluation of the ice resurfacing equipment and building ventilation system, NIOSH engineers determined that it was likely that people inside of the ice arena were overexposed to carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. The final NCEH report will present the epidemiological study documenting the specific health affects of the exposed group. The overexposures were likely a result of ice resurfacing equipment that was malfunctioning in combination with the specific design of the HVAC system serving the locker rooms and the lack of outside air supply to the rink in general.
Nitrogen-dioxides; Nitrogen-oxides; Machine-operation; Emission-sources; Poison-gases; Air-sampling; Ventilation-systems; Environmental-exposure; Equipment-operators; Exhaust-gases; Exhaust-ventilation; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Region-3; Propanes; Equipment-reliability; Air-quality-control; Air-quality-measurement; Control-technology; Maintenance-workers; Fuels; Athletes
630-08-0; 10102-43-9; 10102-44-0
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Field Studies; Control Technology
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division