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

Friday, September 2, 2016

Falls to a Lower Level

Slips, trips, and falls are consistently one of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top rated causes of workplace injury across the country. Recently MN OSHA’s Brian Zaidman published an article in the July Issue of their Safety Lines Newsletter (page 7) outlining the statistics for “falls to a lower level”.

Due to the nature of the reporting, the numbers being used are from 2014, but they show that falls to a lower level are on the rise. That means it’s time to review best practices for working from heights with everyone in your shop. Maybe list all the tasks you perform that would require someone to work from an elevated height. Some of the key safety requirements to remember when it comes to fall protection are:

·       Fall protection is required for all heights at or above 4ft from the ground. This doesn’t seem very high, but if you fall the wrong way from this height, it is still enough to break a bone or cause a serious injury.

·       Fall Protection is required when working around unprotected edges of open sided floor,  platforms, and runways greater than 4 feet above the floor or lower level.

·       Fall protection is required along the side of dangerous hazards such as vats, tanks, and dangerous equipment or similar hazard regardless of height where a worker could fall in to the hazard.


Another interesting breakdown from the article is the occupational groups with the highest estimated rate of injury from falls to a lower level. As you can see in Figure 3 from the article, the highest rates belong to workers who are performing: construction and extraction; transportation and material moving; and installation, maintenance and repair. These are all things where public works’ employees may find themselves involved, so be extra cautious and make sure you are being safe while working from heights.

If you have any questions regarding working from heights, or need assistance in finding a way to do so safely, feel free to give your Loss Control Consultant a call - they will be happy to help!

By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative


Friday, August 26, 2016

Preventing Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)

Recreational water facilities (pools, spas, splash pads, etc.) in several cities in the southern part of the state, as well as some in northern Iowa, have recently been closed following the discovery of Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto), a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has put together some information on things the public can do to prevent the spread of Crypto, as well as other RWIs:

Tips for all swimmers:
·         Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
·         Wash hands with soap and water after going to the restroom.
·         Shower before you get in the water.
·         Don’t swallow the water.
Additional Tips for parents with young children:
·         Take children on frequent bathroom breaks when swimming – waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s already too late!
·         Change diapers in changing rooms, not poolside or on the beach. Wash your hands and the child’s hands after changing diapers.

MDH has also put together a quick fact sheet for recreational water employees and what they can do to prevent contamination of Crypto and other RWIs:

If you discover the presence of Crypto, or any other RWI, at your facility, close it and contact the Minnesota Department of Health immediately. Patron complaints of illness may also be reported to the MDH Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-366-3455, and MDH will contact the appropriate health department for follow-up.

By: LMCIT Loss Control



Friday, August 19, 2016

Free Introductory OSHA Recordkeeping Training

Reporting of workplace incidents can be a timely and confusing procedure. When OSHA performs a site visit, it is something they are sure to cite if you haven’t been keeping it up to date. That’s why MN OSHA is offering a free class on October 21st – to help show you the basics. 


If you are unable to attend, MN OSHA has plans to post the training as a webinar in January 2017. 

Keep in mind that OSHA reporting is different from Workers’ Compensation claims.  There are three different forms you will want to be familiar with: OSHA 300, OSHA 300A, and OSHA 301.

·         OSHA 300 – Is a running log of all work related injuries or illnesses.
·         OSHA 300A – Is a summary of work related injuries and illnesses for the previous year and must be posted in a location visible to all employees. This form must be filled out and posted even if no recordable incidents have occurred.
·         OSHA 301 – Is the actual report for each recordable incident that occurs and should be the first form filled out following an incident.

OSHA has also put together this info packet to help guide you through these forms:

 Here are some fillable PDFs of the forms:

Remember to be diligent with your OSHA recordkeeping, it’s not just paperwork, it’s a legal requirement.

By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative



Friday, August 12, 2016

Chainsaw Safety

Minnesota has seen quite a few heavy storms and tornado warnings (that weren’t always just warnings) in recent weeks. That means we’ve also seen a lot of strong winds tearing down trees as well. Between the need to clean up and the unfortunate fact fall and winter are on their way, it’s probably a good time to freshen up on your chainsaw safety. Luckily our friends over at Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) have got you covered with their new four-part chainsaw safety videos (Note: they are on the bottom half of the linked page, the five shorter videos at the top of the page are also worth a watch though). The trainings last between 30-60 minutes, are very informative, and are well worth your time if you plan to be using a chainsaw this year.

By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative

Friday, July 8, 2016

Beach Safety

In Minnesota, “going to the lake” is a long-standing tradition in the summertime. Many cities have developed public water accesses into a formal swimming beaches. These areas are often a favorite spot for residents looking to take a swim. When a city owns and/or operates a swimming beach, risk management techniques need to be implemented to keep swimmers safe and minimize liability to the city.

The decision to employ lifeguards is up to the city. City liability is not automatically reduced if lifeguards are present, nor does the presence of lifeguards reduce the city’s liability insurance premium. However, if lifeguards are present and fail to enforce rules like no diving, the city’s liability may increase.

If lifeguards are employed by the city at a beach, they must be 16 or older (in contrast, the minimum age for a pool lifeguard is 15). In addition, lifeguards who are younger than 18 must be continually supervised by a lifeguard who is 18 years of age or older. Safety equipment available when a lifeguard is on duty should include the following: 

  • Sun umbrella
  • First aid kit
  • Communication (phone or radio)
  • Ring buoys or rescue tubes
  • Rescue boat
Some cities choose to use a beach volunteer or hire a beach attendant to supervise the beach area and report problems. Cities using a “beach attendant” still should post a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign.
Park personnel should inspect the beach area on a regular basis during the open season.  As with every inspection, documentation is essential to ensure that there is a record of the inspection taking place. Documenting such inspections can benefit the city by illustrating that reasonable care was exercised in maintaining the beach.  Hidden hazards may naturally exist and vandals or weather conditions may create additional hazards that need to be addressed.
Obstructions, drop-offs, and trip hazards can be marked with a warning sign and/or eliminated.   It is important to inspect these areas in the off-season as well to identify hazardous conditions that may become snow-covered and create a hidden hazard.  Docks, lifeguard stands and other temporary features need to be stored in the off-season safely away from snowmobile trails, sledding hills, or other recreation activities.  Also, if you have permanent docks in place, make certain that the dock is well marked in the winter to avoid any accidents with snowmobile traffic on the lakes.
More information on beaches/docks and water safety can be found in our Parks and Recreation Loss Control Guide at:

By: Joe Ingebrand, Senior Loss Control Consultant