Have you ever had an idea how to make your job easier or, to
develop and build something to make tasks simpler?Do you like tinkering and found something to
improve road work? There is a program from Minnesota Local Road Research Board
called the OPERA Program, and it could help fund these ideas! OPERA funds
projects up to $10,000 through an annual request-for-proposal process.
Visit the Minnesota LTAP Link below to learn more about the
The League of Minnesota Cities Spring Loss Controls
Workshops are officially complete! We thank each of your for working us into your
busy schedule to attend.These workshops
are always as much of a chance for us to learn as they are for you, and this
year one of our more popular presentations was shared by our friends at the
Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) who taught us all about their trace wire specifications.
MRWA’s trace wire specification has been nationally praised
and has even been used by companies such as Google in their utility projects.
Here is a link to this specification for all of you that were unable to attend a
workshop and for those of you that did but didn’t get the link.
Each year about this time we in loss control get the
question as to whether or not a 17 year old can operate a mower.The answer to this question is yes; however,
there are other restrictions related to youth employment cities should be aware
·15, 16 and 17 year olds can work as lifeguards
in pools, but only with uninterrupted adult supervision.
·16 and 17 year olds can work as lifeguards at
lakes and rivers, but only with uninterrupted adult supervision.
·Youth ages 16 to 18 are restricted from driving
certain power-drive machinery. (They can
operate riding/push mowers and weed whips.)
·Minors cannot operate motor vehicle on streets
as part of their normal job. (There is an exception for incidental and
occasional driving by licensed drivers.)
·No individual under the age of 18 can serve,
dispense, or handle intoxicating liquors that are consumed on premises.
·Minors are prohibited from working in rooms
where liquor is served or consumed. (There is an except for the job of busing
dishes and providing musical entertainment.)
·Minors cannot work where hazardous material
additional questions on this issue please contact your loss control consultant
or LMC HR Department: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year we had a number of Air Quality Advisories in the state due to a number of wildfires in Canada and the wind shifting the smoke to our areas. This year we are seeing much of the same type of issue in many parts of the state. As such, we thought it would be beneficial to re-publish the information on Air Quality Advisories that we shared last year. Please take a moment to review the information and remember to stay informed on the air quality issues that may impact you or your workers.
We have all noticed the haze and gloomy air in the past week hanging around. This haze was caused by over 180 fires blazing in British Columbia, Canada.
There are over 2 million acres of wildfires raging across Canada and into Alaska currently with no real end in sight. The smoke from these fires has risen to over 20,000 feet which then allows the jet stream to act as a highway, transporting the smoke across the country.
The state that has felt the largest impact is Minnesota, however there have been health advisories issued across the Western and Midwestern parts of the United States. The reason that Minnesota is so heavily impacted is due to the East/Southeast direction of wind movement, which has put us directly in the line of “fire”, so to speak.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a statewide Air Advisory on Monday, which indicated that the northern two-thirds of the state should take extra precautions due to the reduced air quality from the smoke infiltration. What does this mean?
Exposure to the high level of fine particles has previously been linked with respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. There is a risk of exacerbation with pre-existing health conditions, which can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue.
The level of fine particulate in the air on Monday was unhealthy for anyone.
Those individuals that are sensitive to fine particles (pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory disease, elderly, children, and individuals who are under heavy or extended exertion are advised to postpone or reduce vigorous activity and reduce exposure to air pollution (heavy duty vehicle exhaust, wood fires, candles)
Those in the at risk or higher risk groups should check the Air Quality Index prior to vigorous activity being resumed.
As many of our Public Works and Parks Departments work the majority of their days outside participating in activities that require extended or heavy exertion, these employees are considered an “at risk population”. As such, the MPCA does recommend limiting or avoiding those activities until the risk is reduced.
With the summer months coming, public works watch the water
levels closely to ensure there is enough in the system for everyone. This also
includes ensuring there is an adequate supply in case of a fire.
When the summer heat comes, we want our yards to look green
and beautiful. Does your community have an ordinance on watering restrictions?
If you do, how do you notify your community of these watering restrictions?
Some communities add the ordinance to their web-site or attach it to water
bills, send out fliers, or post signs in developments with specific information
The City of Edina has a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on
Watering Restrictions. Their PSA includes days allowed to water, offense
warnings & fines, how to test your yard for water needs, best time of day
to water, and cost savings for proper watering!
Imagine a criminal breaking into your home, but instead of
taking anything, they change the locks and tell you to pay them or they will
not give you the new keys. This is what Ransomware does, though instead of your
home, it is all of the files on your computer. Files you need to access in
order to do your job. These criminals plan on using that need for their own
Here is an article from The
Washington Post that demonstrates just how bad this type of malware can be for
What it is?
Ransomware is a type of malware that uses encryption to restrict
access either by locking files or by inhibiting entry into the system altogether.
Once the system is encrypted, it is very difficult, or impossible, to gain
access again on your own. The malware operators then require payment before
they unlock the system (which they may not do even if they are paid).
The pop up message requesting payment may be disguised as a
fake warning pretending to be from a law enforcement agency locking your system
claiming that it has been used for illegal purposes, or even Microsoft stating
the version of windows you are running is pirated. Do not be fooled by this,
call an IT professional and the police immediately. Do not turn any infected
systems off either, doing so may actually make the IT pro’s job more difficult.
What you can do to protect yourself?
The typical method malware, such
as ransomware, gets on your system is through some form of download.It may be hidden in something you download,
so be sure to only download files or programs from trusted sites.
Another method used to infect
your computer is phishing emails. These are spam emails used to trick you into
clicking a link that will take you to a fraudulent site that will download the
malware to your system. Make sure you’re using some form of anti-virus software
that includes email checking. The best practice is to delete any emails from
sources you don’t know. Never click any links in emails unless they are from a
trusted source. Also be wary of emails that appear to be from trusted sources
that contain just links or a simple phrase such as, “check out this video!” or
“this site is so great!” The trusted source may have gotten a virus, and that
virus is sending those emails, or the email may contain a spoofed address.
It may be impossible to recover your files once they have
been encrypted by ransomware; however, if you have your data backed up, you can
limit the how much information you lose.
Cities should be backing up their systems, at least weekly
(nightly is better!), and storing backups in a place safely offline and away
from any computers that may become infected. Consider using a rotating backup
schedule, allowing for multiple backups to be retained.If you do use such a schedule please consult
with your city’s Responsible Authority to ensure your backup schedule meets
your city’s records retention schedule.
What should you do if you get it?
Despite your best efforts, you may still find yourself the
victim of ransomware. Should this be the case, call the police, an IT
professional (if you have one in house), and LMCIT right away, as mitigation may
be covered under your Property/Casualty insurance.Whatever you do, Do Not Pay the Ransom,
there is no guarantee they will actually remove the ransomware should you pay
Computers and the internet are a great resource, please
remember to use them safely.