Friday, December 2, 2016

Part-Time Snow Plow Drivers

Smaller Cities have a limited budget. This means limited employees for certain operations which can be difficult when it comes to snow plowing season. The streets need to be plowed and the limited staff have difficulty keeping up with the snowfall.

Did you know there is an exemption to a CDL Rule for municipalities during snow operations? State Statute 171.02 subd 5 (Exemption for backup snowplow drivers) allows for part-time snow plow drivers who can plow, salt, or sand without a MN Commercial CDL License. Please be aware that hauling snow does not fall under this exemption, and the operator must have a CDL to haul snow.

Subd. 5.Exemption for certain backup snowplow drivers.

Pursuant to the waiver authorization set forth in Public Law 104-59, section 345, subsection (a), paragraph (5), a person who operates a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of removing snow or ice from a roadway by plowing, salting, or sanding is not required to hold a commercial driver's license if the person:

(1)    is an employee of a local unit of government with a population of 3,000 or less;

(2)    is operating within the boundaries of the local unit of government;

(3)    holds a valid class D driver's license; and

(4)    except in the event of a lawful strike, is temporarily replacing the employee who normally operates the vehicle but either is unable to operate the vehicle or is in need of additional assistance due to a snow emergency as determined by the local unit of government.

A few things you should know:
1)      Recommend following up with your City's Insurance Agent to confirm that the Part-Time employees will be covered with how your City Policy is currently written.

2)      Recommend developing a Part-Time Employee Job Description that includes "Backup" Snowplow Operators. This should include desired applicants to have a CDL, but not required for Backup Operations.

3)      Medical Health Cards are also not required for Local Governments subdivisions of the State. It is a Best Practice to have a DOT Health Card, but it is not required for city CDL use.

By: Troy Walsh

Friday, November 18, 2016

New OSHA Incident Reporting Rule and Post-Incident Drug Testing

Some of you may remember a Blog we posted in June regarding the new Federal OSHA incident reporting rule. Minnesota OSHA has yet to determine if or when it will be adopting the new recordkeeping rule, however we wanted to keep you informed of some changes taking place with the federal rule.

Federal OSHA has delayed enforcement of the new recordkeeping rule until Dec 1st as there has been some confusion regarding  post-incident drug testing of employees that was incorporated into it. The Federal rule offers employees protection against “retaliatory drug testing” from employers as a result of an employee reporting an incident. The wording of the rule however left some confused as to whether post-incident testing was allowed at all now. Federal OSHA’s latest guidance clarifies that it still allows employers to implement post-incident drug testing when there is “an objectively reasonable basis for testing”, or if the testing is unrelated to incident reporting.

Again we want to clarify that these changes will not currently affect Minnesota Cities as MN OSHA has not released its version of the new rule as of yet, but wanted to keep you updated as we had previously informed you of the federal rule change.

For more information, as well as some tips on how to properly implement a post-incident drug testing program you can visit this blog:

By: Cody Tuttle

Friday, November 4, 2016

Exposure and blood borne pathogens in the workplace

Exposures to blood-borne pathogens (BBP) in construction have continued to increase in recent years, and OSHA issued It’s Blood borne Pathogen Standard 29CFR 1910.1030 to protect workers from diseases associated with these infectious microorganisms. These can include but are not limited to:
  • Hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C (HCV)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
One of the most effective ways to protect employees in the event of an incident leading to exposure, is to have a Blood Borne Pathogen Kit. These kits include essentials such as:
  • Personal Protective Apparel
  • Spill Clean-Up Provisions in Compliance with OSHA Standard 1090.1030
  • Weatherproof Outer Shell to Properly Protect Contents

OSHA definition of occupational exposure:
 “Reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other
potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.”
What to do if someone has a significant exposure to infected b (HIV/Hep) and the protocols for administering anti-viral?
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that Post Exposure Prophylaxis or PEP is a way to prevent HIV infection after a possible recent occupational exposure. It involves taking HIV medications as soon as possible within 3 days after a single high risk event to stop HIV from making copies of itself and spreading throughout human body. The sooner, the better; every hour counts.
What to do if workers exposed to the blood?
  • Report all exposures promptly to ensure that you receive appropriate follow up care.
  • Flush splashes to nose, mouth, or skin with water.
  • Wash needlesticks and cuts with soap and water.
  • Irrigate eyes with clean water, saline, or sterile wash.
Prevention of Exposure.
  • Employers must establish and educate workers about an exposure control program
  • Determination and use of engineering controls, which includes containers and self-sheathing needles for safely disposing blood-borne pathogen hazards from the workplace.
  • Observation of work practice controls.
  • Provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Make sure the company you work for is prepared in the event of an emergency. For more information on blood-borne pathogens, see OSHA's website at:

Friday, October 14, 2016

When are employers required to provide hearing exams?

The OSHA Hearing Conservation Program requires employers to monitor hearing for all employees whose noise exposure levels over 8 working hours average out to be at or above 85 decibels. 

OSHA rule on hearing loss:

• The occupational safety and health administration issued a final rule on July 1, 2002 that revised the criteria for recording work-related hearing loss.
• Beginning Jan. 1, 2003, employers will be required to record work-related hearing loss cases when an employee's hearing test shows a marked decrease in overall hearing. For more information please see the links at the bottom of this article.

Why it may be beneficial to provide hearing exams for employees?

• The employee would be able to communicate effectively with managers, supervisors, and co-workers without any hearing difficulties.
• Awareness that hearing impaired workers may have special needs to protect their hearing
• To prevent hearing loss.
• Referral for further evaluation as appropriate.
• The earlier you know about hearing loss, the sooner you can get medical help.
• Exposure to dangerous noise levels can cause permanent hearing loss and other health problems.
• Improve productivities.
• For the purpose of employee safety and effectiveness.
• Decrease the accident rate in work place.

The results of not testing hearing loss:

• Decreased Wellness
• Poor monitoring function
• Increase hearing loss
• Workers compensation

For more information click one of this links and you should be able to get all the information you needed.

By: Liz Tadsse, Loss Control Representative

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Minnesota LTAP Sign Maintenance/Management and Sign Retroreflectivity Training

Minnesota LTAP is putting on this training on sign management. It will include a brief overview of sign retroreflectivity assessment and management methods, as well as guidance for developing a sign inventory and understanding how much of an impact a sign post can withstand. For more information or to register go to the MNLTAP website(



The workshop is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (registration begins at 8:30 a.m.) at the specified location on each of the dates listed below.

• October 11, 2016 — Alexandria, MN
• October 18, 2016 — Brainerd, MN
• October 25, 2016 — Rochester, MN


• Register online
• Register by mail or fax: Download the registration form (864 KB PDF)
• Registration contact: College of Continuing Education,, 612-625-2900
• Cost:
  • $60 – Township and tribal representatives
  • $70 – City, county, state, and federal representatives
  • $150 – All others



• How federal sign retroreflectivity regulations apply to you
• Various methods to meet these regulations
• Crashworthiness of sign posts
• Conducting various assessment and management methods on your own signs with confidence
• How to decide which method is best suited for you and your agency

By: LMCIT Loss Control

Monday, September 12, 2016

Free Webinar—Partnering for Successful Downtown Street Reconstruction Projects

You see it in your work every day: the infrastructure in our cities is aging. From streets to water and sewer to utilities, these services are crucial to residents—but maintenance and repairs can be very complex and expensive. So what is a city to do?

We have some ideas for practices and tools that can help you successfully complete these important upgrades! Join us for a free online briefing from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28. You’ll hear firsthand how one Minnesota community recently formed effective partnerships (with MnDOT and others) to complete a downtown street reconstruction project.

They will share the benefits of this project to their community, as well as the lessons they learned. You’ll also hear about options to finance these kind of upgrades and determine whether a study could help pinpoint your city’s specific needs.

To learn more and register for this free webinar, visit


By: League of Minnesota Cities

Friday, September 9, 2016

Minnesota LTAP Fall Maintenance Expo

The Fall Maintenance Expo is a two day event for city, county, and state maintenance employees and supervisors focused on fall and winter transportation maintenance issues. The Event includes vendors and presenters showing new equipment and sharing useful information, as well as the annual snowplow “Roadeo”.

The Expo costs $25 and is at the St. Cloud Public Works Facility on October 5-6. Attendees are eligible for 1.0 elective credit for the Roads Scholar Program.

For more information, or to register go to the LTAP website

Or the Fall Maintenance Expo Website:

By: LMCIT Loss Control