Friday, November 20, 2015

Toddler Swings

Fall is in full force, and winter is on its way. While you are no doubt busy closing shop at your local playgrounds and parks in preparation for winter, it may be a good time to start considering upgrades to your playground equipment for next year. One piece of equipment you might want to consider replacing is your bucket swing.

The Problem

Bucket swings themselves are a nice safe alternative swing for toddlers who yet lack the muscle stability to use a regular swing without serious risk of falling while being pushed. The problem arises, however, when older children (and occasionally teens) who are too big for it attempt to get into the swing which, by design, requires assistance getting in and out of. The older child then finds their legs stuck in the swing’s tiny leg openings which were meant to prevent toddlers from falling.

While this may sound like some outlier problem, several fire departments in cities and towns across the state found themselves cutting children out of these toddler swings this past year.

The Solution

When looking for an alternative to your bucket swing, it is important to keep in mind how important it is to still have the support and safety that one provides, just without the ability to confine and trap the legs. One alternative to consider is a swing with a removable guard, so that even if a child finds themselves stuck, freeing them is as simple as undoing the child proof latch. Another option (pictured below) is a form of bucket swing that is still guarded around all sides, yet less constricting around the legs with a single bar separating the legs to prevent a younger child from slipping through. As always, be sure to consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines for playground safety, or contact you LMCIT loss control consultant, before purchasing any new playground equipment.

By: Cody Tuttle

Friday, November 13, 2015

Reaching for the Stars and Installing Decorations!

   Cities have increased the Flags, Banners, and Flower Pots that help decorate our downtowns, add seasonal colors, and help celebrate holidays. With this increase of decorations, we increase the number of possible injuries for our maintenance employees. When climbing a ladder 10-20 times while installing decorations; are we always making sure the ladder is secure and on a flat surface? How about a bucket truck? Are we following all the regulations for fall protection, harnesses, and climbing in & out of the bucket each time? What else do we already have that we could utilize for installing these decorations with safety in mind and reducing the repetitive motions?

   The city of Cleveland, MN has a wide variety of decorations for their downtown and surrounding areas that they change several times a year. Their Public Works Department designed Steps and a Platform they install on their loader to minimize the hazard of ladders and the expense of a bucket truck. The loader operator is now able to load the decorations on the platform, drive to the location, park, leave the operator’s seat, climb the steps, secure himself with fall protection, and install the decorations. The steps and platform are removable for winter plowing operations and can be reinstalled when needed!
   Evaluating operations and finding a way to reduce injuries is critical in daily operations.







By: Troy Walsh


Friday, November 6, 2015

MN OSHA Safety Grant Update

(New) Application is On-Line Only

For years, LMCIT Loss Control has been encouraging cities to utilize a MN OSHA Safety grant to defray costs associated with making safety improvement, and that won’t change. What has changed is the requirement to complete and submit the grant application on-line.

Numerous cities in MN have received the grant, which is a match grant up to $10,000, saving cities thousands of dollars.  Items include: manhole cover lifting devices, truck tailgate lift, confined space entry equipment, fall protection equipment, personnel protective equipment, and the list goes on…..

Lastly, if you have already received a grant, but it’s been two years, you are now eligible to apply again. And since the grants are reviewed every two months, you don’t have to wait long to find out the results.

Program overview and criteria:
Online presentation.
Information you need to complete the application.
On-line application.

As always, if you need help or have questions, in addition to OSHA Consultation, you can always contact your LMCIT Loss Control Consultant.

By: Joe Ingebrand

Monday, November 2, 2015

MN Bleacher Safety Law

When was the last time you inspected your bleachers?  The law requires recertification every 5 years.
Around the year 2000, in addition to “Y2K disaster” looming on the horizon, the MN legislature passed a law to improve bleacher safety.  The law defined the types, specification, and application of bleacher guardrails and other openings. Shortly after that, most cities made improvements and inspected their bleachers as required, but that was 15 years ago!

Bleachers Effected

In places of public accommodation using bleacher seating, all bleachers or bleacher open spaces over 55 inches above grade or the floor below, and all bleacher guardrails if any part of the guardrail is over 30 inches above grade or the floor below must conform to the following safety requirements:


The open space between bleacher footboards, seats, and guardrails must not exceed four inches, unless approved safety nets are installed. Guardrails must have vertical perimeter guardrails with no more than four-inch rail spacing between vertical rails or other approved guardrails that reduce the ability for a person to climb the railings. Chain link fencing can be added to existing guard railing systems, or used in place of vertical supports, to meet this requirement.


The open space between bleacher footboards, seats, and guardrails must not exceed four inches, unless approved safety nets are installed, except that retractable bleachers already in place as of January 1, 2001, which can have open spaces less than 9”.


The certification shall be prepared by a qualified and certified building official or state licensed design professional and shall certify that the bleachers have been inspected and are in compliance with the requirements of this section and are structurally sound. For bleachers owned by a school district or nonpublic school, the person the district or nonpublic school designates to be responsible for buildings and grounds may make the certification.


Bleacher footboards and guardrails must be re-inspected at least every five years and a structural inspection must be made at least every ten years. Inspections may be completed in the same manner as provided in subdivision 4. This section does not preclude a municipal authority from establishing additional re-inspections under the State Building Code.

by Joe Ingebrand

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Snow Plow Policy

Does your snow plow policy need a Fall tune-up?

   A snow plow policy can help the city plan for the use of its resources, establishes priorities for work, and provides an explanation as to how and when snowplowing will be completed. It can also be used to inform the public about parking rules, damaged mail boxes, and specific routes. Lastly, it can support a defense of statutory discretionary immunity, allowing LMCIT to defend the city in the event of a liability claim associated with this activity.

Snowplowing and Ice Control Policy Components:

1. Introduction
2. When Will the City Start Snow or Ice Control Operations?
3. How Snow will be plowed
4. Snow Removal
5. Priorities and Schedule of Streets to be plowed
6. Work Schedule for Snowplow Operators
7. Traffic Regulations
8. Weather Conditions
9. Use of Sand, Salt, and Other Chemicals
10. Sidewalks
11. Mailboxes
12. Complaint Procedure
13. Deviation from Policy
14. Review and Modification of Policy
(LMCIT Model Snow Plow Policy)

By Joe Ingebrand

Thursday, September 17, 2015

There’s An App For That! (Inspection Edition)

While in the field recently, one of our Loss Control Consultants came across an amazingly efficient way to track different inspections throughout the City.  The CityReporter App gives you access to a multitude of varied inspection checklists at the tip of your fingers on your tablet or smart phone.

The CityReporter App reduces the inspection paperwork and filing by automatically storing the inspection checklists, photos, and notes into a file in the cloud that can be accessed later by City personnel.  After the number of times during workshops that it has been mentioned that you need to document your inspections, there is finally an easy way to do this.
The CityReporter App has a wide range of inspection checklists preformatted and available for use.  If the App does not have a checklist suited to your specific needs, CityReporter gives you the capability to create a customized inspection form.  The pre-made checklists include parks, roads, facilities, pools, new construction, fire and sport fields, to name a few.
The CityReporter App was developed with the assistance and advice of a number of municipal risk managers, playground inspectors, the director of the International Playground Safety Institute, road maintenance companies, building industry experts, fire officials and a host of other professionals.  This App makes it easy to keep up with the various inspections that the City’s should be performing on a regular basis and takes the paperwork out of the mix.
Currently in Minnesota, there are only a few cities using the App, however this number is expected to increase as word gets out on the ease of the inspection checklists.  Check out their website at CityReporter App for more information, a free demonstration and detailed information on the CityReporter Application.

By Tara A. Bursey