British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

December 19, 2008 19:09 ET

BC Safety Authority Issues Safety Order to All BC Ski Lift Operators

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2008) - The BC Safety Authority (BCSA) has sent out a Safety Order instructing all ski lift operators in the province to check for any ice or water inside their lifts' towers.

The Safety Order comes as a result of the recent incident in Whistler Blackcomb wherein one of the towers of the Excalibur gondola broke in half due to damage caused by ice inside the tower.

Greg Paddon, BCSA Provincial Safety Manager for Passenger Ropeways and Amusement Rides stated that "the safety of our skiers and all those who want to enjoy the lifts are our main concern."

The BCSA is an independent organization that oversees safety in the province for the following industry sectors: amusement rides, passenger ropeways, boilers, pressure vessels, refrigeration systems, electrical equipment and systems, elevating devices, gas appliances and systems and railways.

Ski lift operators are being asked to inspect several parts of their towers including bases, tubes, cross arms and splices.

All towers covered by the order must be inspected within four days after receipt. Operators are expected to report back to the BCSA by December 31, 2008.

Safety Orders are legally binding instruments issued by Provincial Safety Managers to prevent, avoid or reduce the risk of personal injury or damage to property.

"If a tower or any of its parts have ice or water, the operator should immediately consult the manufacturer on what needs to be done," said Paddon. "But if there has been ice damage, then that lift must be shut down and can only be brought back to service after the proper repairs and inspections are carried out."

Paddon is confident that BC ski operators will comply with the order. "The industry is very safety conscious. Many of them have probably inspected their facilities right after the incident."

Meanwhile, BCSA safety officers continue to conduct investigations on the Excalibur gondola incident.

"We need to get to the root cause of this isolated incident and we can only do that after all the facts and details are gathered."

The Safety Order for Passenger Ropeway Towers can be accessed through the BCSA website at www.safetyauthority.ca.

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