Friday, February 16, 2018

Minnesota LTAP: Work-Zone Traffic Control Seminar

The personalities of today’s motor vehicle drivers are always a challenge. More traffic congestion, larger vehicles, distracted drivers, and potential lack of driving experience can all be challenges to work-zones.
 
You cannot physically drive each vehicle through your work-zone for the public, but you can give them the absolute best warning of work-zones possible. To do this you need to understand work-zones, speed reduction areas, employee safety, and what to plan for before a roadway job starts.
 
This is a course to cover basic traffic control procedures, work zone set-up, work zone traffic control signage, and to cover the 2018 Minnesota Field Manual for Work-Zone Traffic Control. It is also a great opportunity to ask question about your specific work zones, and individual areas that you may have questions on!    
 
http://www.mnltap.umn.edu/training/topic/traffic/workzone/index.html
 
 
Dates & Locations
The workshop is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the specified locations on the dates listed below.
·         February 22, 2018—Kahler Apache Hotel, 1517 16th Street SW, Rochester, MN
 
·         February 27, 2018—City Center Hotel, 101 Main Street, Mankato, MN
 
·         March 1, 2018—Holiday Inn, 75 South 37th Avenue, St. Cloud, MN
 
·         March 6, 2018—Radisson Hotel, 2540 Cleveland Avenue N, Roseville, MN
 
·         March 14, 2018—DoubleTree Hotel, 2200 Freeway Boulevard, Brooklyn Center, MN
 
·         March 28, 2018—Radisson Hotel, 505 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN
 
·         April 4, 2018—Holiday Inn, 20800 Kenrick Avenue, Lakeville, MN

 
 

By: Troy Walsh


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Required Workplace Postings (Repost)


Editor’s note: This blog was originally posted in April 2015, however we thought it important to repost as we’ve had several members reach out to us after receiving calls and/or mailings from companies wanting them to purchase this signage that they can get for free.
 
Get what you need…but don’t get scammed!

Ever get a phone call from a company trying to sell you workplace posters?  Hold on…it might be a scam.  “Required postings” scams have exploded in number over the last few years and have been reported by cities and other employers from coast to coast.  One sign it’s a scam is if the person on the other end tells you that there have been changes to regulations and that “you must purchase the latest OSHA posters” or else you’ll be “out of compliance.”  Often these scammers will attempt to sound like they represent a government agency.  They may send “official looking” announcements or even threatening notices warning of fines or penalties if you don’t purchase the “updated” postings.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  These companies don’t represent OSHA or any other government agency.  They are private businesses, trying to make a quick buck through misrepresentation and deceit. 

The fact is Minnesota law does require employers to post state-mandated posters; however, these posters are available for FREE from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).  Although there have been some design changes to the State’s posters, the regulations described in the posters have not changed, so employers do not need to replace their current poster set.  You do not have to pay anything to be in compliance with Minnesota’s required postings. These required postings include Safety and Health on the job, Minimum Wage, Age Discrimination, Unemployment, and Workers’ Compensation, and must be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace (Note:  in addition to the state posting requirements, some U.S. Government agencies require postings, such as the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission).

You can request your FREE posters (available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali) by phone, email, snail mail, or electronically via DLI’s website by visiting the web address below.  You can even print your posters directly from DLI’s website.  From the printer to the bulletin board!  For more information visit:  Order free, mandatory workplace posters online.

So if you receive a call or letter and suspect a scam, get a name and address, do some fact-checking, and then, if necessary report the incident to your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  That way, we’ll all be doing our part to “keep ‘em honest.”
 

By Joe Ingebrand



Friday, February 2, 2018

Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall!

Did you know that Slip, Trip, and Falls are continuously one of the most reported occupational injuries? They are the League’s second most reported cause of injury among our members, and can result in injuries ranging from strains and sprains from landing in an awkward position to dislocations and fractures from landing on a hard surface such as ice or concrete. Today we’re going to focus primarily on the slip and fall hazards presented by snow and ice.

Living in a colder climate like we do, the snow and ice can significantly increase the risk of slip and fall injuries. Employees often need to walk on icy walkways to perform tasks such as checking a water meter, moving a garbage bin, or delivering a notification to a resident. Not all walkways are controlled by the city and probably would not have been treated for snow and ice removal the same way a city trail or sidewalk would have been, so what can a city do to protect its employees from these dangerous injuries? One thing we have seen many of our members use to reduce the risk with great success is provide employees performing these types of duties ice tread attachments for their boots such as those pictured below. You should still be cautious when walking on potentially icy surfaces, but these can provide some much-needed traction and reduce the odds of a slip.

Another common place where we see snow and ice related slip and falls is pathways into and out of buildings. We regularly see incidents where employees slip on ice and are injured walking from the parking lot into the building. It is an employer’s responsibility to provide employees with a safe, hazard free, pathway into and out of the workplace, so care should be taken to ensure that the parking lots and sidewalks in front of city buildings are plowed and de-iced.

Entryways inside of buildings can also become slick and wet as snow is tracked in, creating a separate slip and fall hazard. To protect from this, make sure excess water is mopped up whenever possible, and consider putting up a “wet floor” sign as warning. Lastly consider putting down mats where people can wipe their feet, but make sure that are laid flat and secured so as to not create a new tripping hazard.

Other things you can do in your shop to prevent the risk of slips, trips, and falls is to use fall protection when working from heights, and using good housekeeping around your shop. Good housekeeping includes things like promptly cleaning up spills and ensuring that all tools and equipment are put away in a safe location, leaving walkways clear. We will discuss housekeeping further in a future blog.

Be safe and watch where you step!

 

By: Cody Tuttle

 

Friday, January 26, 2018

2018 Road Salt Symposium


Where: Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Avenue North, Plymouth MN 55447 (NOTE NEW LOCATION)
When: Thursday, February 8, 2018 (8:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m.)
Register and More Information Here:  https://freshwater.org/2018-road-salt-symposium/
Cost: $135
 
What is it?
The Annual Road Salt Symposium is an opportunity to learn about alternative chemical, non-chemical, and mechanical solutions that exist to help keep the roads clear of ice, and our waterways clean of the chlorides that can impair them as a result of road salt. Wise use of road salt creates a win-win situation that protects the environment, reduces community expense, and ensures safe roads.
 
Topics Covered:
  • Salting our freshwater lakes
  • Innovations in application: reducing chloride use
  • Environmental Leadership Awards
  • Emerging issues in application: where are we headed?
  • Local chloride initiatives


Who Should Attend:
Public Works directors, supervisors, and staff responsible for plowing and de-icing operations.


Credits:



By: LMCIT Loss Control



 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Maybe Snowbirds have the right idea…

We just made it through a December where we saw some colder than average temperatures, with some northern parts of the state seeing record lows. As January, our typically coldest month, is just getting started we thought it might be a good idea to remind you of some of our previous cold weather blogs related to Frozen Water Lines as this may be an issue some of you may see this winter.

Lastly, I also wanted to remind you of a couple other previous blogs to help you stay warm and safe this winter:
·         Baby, it’s Cold out There!
·         Winter Safety Tips

Now remember, stay warm, be safe, and GO VIKINGS!

 

By: Cody Tuttle



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Fixed Ladders – New Walking-Working Surfaces OSHA Requirements

Say goodbye to cages and wells.  Kind of.  Over the next 20 years (based on whether a ladder is existing, is being repaired or replaced, or is a new installation), fixed ladders that are over 24’ in length will need to be equipped with ladder safety devices or personal fall arrest systems.  Cages and wells will no longer be acceptable as they have not proven to prevent falls.

If you’ve ever climbed in a caged ladder, it’s likely that at some point during your ascent you thought, “How is this round metal cage supposed to protect me from violently crashing to the ground?”  Well, it looks like you weren’t the only one.  In fact, it was widely recognized that ladder cages did nothing in terms of worker safety and fall prevention. So, as of the release of the new Walking/Working Surface standard, ladder cages are being phased out. 

Now, don’t panic if you’ve got a facility full of these. OSHA has various dates for compliance to allow for a gradual transition and to ease the financial burden on property owners/employers who find themselves needing to make a change.  For now, existing ladder cages are grandfathered in, but that will change eventually.

The first compliance date comes late next year and is the deadline for when employers must ensure that all fixed ladders have some type of safety system.  The deadline, November 19, 2018, still allows employers to select wells as their fall protection option as long as the ladder already existed. Technically, that means that a newly installed ladder between now and then could still have a cage installed because it will have been “existing” on November 19, 2018.  Of course, to make things easier going forward, employers could simply opt to install a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system, as well, or as their main fall protection solution.


On that same date, all new fixed ladders (as well as any replacement ladders or ladder sections) will be required to be installed with either a ladder safety system or a personal fall arrest system.  No new installations will be allowed with cages or wells.

For the most part, that takes care of the near-future deadlines.  But, OSHA is phasing wells and cages out altogether, so while you may try squeezing new installations in before the deadline, keep in mind that in 20 years’ time (November 18, 2036 to be exact) all fixed ladders greater than 24’ in length will be required to have fall arrest systems or ladder safety systems. This means that your existing ladders with cages and wells will need to be retrofitted because there will no longer be any grandfathering allowed.  This is quite a way down the road, but there’s no sense in waiting 19.5 years and scrambling at the last minute to change everything in your facility.  

So, as mentioned above, this leaves you with a choice between two remaining acceptable solutions: ladder safety systems and personal fall arrest.  Most people are familiar with personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) – a harness, lanyard, and suitable anchor point.  The requirements here are no different than the requirements elsewhere: fall clearance, freefall distance, proper inspection and maintenance of equipment, anchor point capacities and training in the equipment’s use must all be taken into account just as if you were using this equipment to keep somebody from falling off the edge of a building.  Ladder safety systems, though, may be a little bit less familiar. 


While ladder safety systems still require a harness, ladder safety systems are rails or cables that run the length of the ladder vertically.  An employee “ties-off” by hooking the D-Ring of his or her harness to the trolley or rope grab and proceeds to climb.  Certain systems will require some manual action by the user while others will simply allow them to climb, locking into place only in the event of a fall.  Keep in mind that employees will need to be able to transition from the ladder to the level to which they are climbing without exposing themselves to a fall, so the ladder safety device may need to extend farther than the ladder. 

Whichever method you choose – PFAS or Ladder Safety System – employees will be safer when climbing your fixed ladders than they were while relying on a cage or well.  Make sure you train them so they can properly use the equipment and are safe.  Improperly worn/used fall protection equipment may be offering nothing more than a false sense of security.  And false senses of security make people take unnecessary risks that could lead to disaster.  Make sure to review your facility and start taking the necessary precautions now.

For more information regarding the new Walking-Working Surfaces Rule please see our previous blog post: MN OSHA Adopts Walking-Working Surfaces Federal Regulations.
 

By: Julie Jelen

 


Friday, October 6, 2017

MN OSHA Adopts Walking-Working Surfaces Federal Regulations

Minnesota has adopted the final rule from federal OSHA about walking-working surfaces and personal fall-protection systems. The new rule updates and clarifies standards, and adds training and inspection requirements. MN OSHA's final rule became effective Sept. 19, 2017.

Falls from heights and on the same level (a working surface) are among the leading causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. From 2012 through 2016, Minnesota OSHA Compliance investigated 26 fatalities and 78 serious injuries due to falls.

Some requirements in the new rule have compliance dates after the effective date including:

  • Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards and the use of fall protection equipment (6 months),
  • Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (1 year),
  • Installing personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures (2 years),
  • Ensuring existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (2 years), and
  • Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (20 years).


For more information on the changes, visit the OSHA Fact Sheet.

Up next…some more information about fixed ladder safety and compliance.

 

By: Julie Jelen