Friday, February 5, 2016

MN LTAP: Work-Zone Traffic Control Seminars

Improving safety while working next to vehicle traffic requires specific attention. The objectives regarding temporary traffic control zones are first to create a safe work zone for city workers, and second to safely direct traffic.

This seminar provides an overview of basic traffic control procedures for work zones. The latest in traffic control devices and safety devices are presented, including several unique approaches to traffic control and methods for reducing risk and liability.


The workshop is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at the specified locations on the dates listed below.

• February 18, 2016—City Center Hotel, 101 Main Street, Mankato, MN
• February 23, 2016—Ramada Inn, 1517 16th St. SW, Rochester, MN
• February 25, 2016—Holiday Inn, 75 S. 37th Ave., St. Cloud, MN
• March 3, 2016—DoubleTree Hotel, 2200 Freeway Blvd., Brooklyn Center, MN
• March 10, 2016—Holiday Inn, 20800 Kenrick Ave., Lakeville, MN
• March 29, 2016—Radisson Hotel, 505 West Superior St., Duluth, MN

Friday, January 29, 2016

Don't Let the Cold Slow You Down

It’s still winter here in Minnesota, and you know what that means – it’s cold! Although it’s been a relatively mild winter so far by Minnesota standards, we always need to be mindful of the yearly dangers the cold brings. Chief among these is Freeze damage which can wreak havoc on your water lines and equipment if you aren’t careful.

FM Global has created this quick “Myth Destroyers” video and associated checklist, as well as a few additional resources to help you prevent the cold from slowing you down:

Myth Destroyers: (Video)

Freeze-Up Checklist:

Other Useful FM Global Freeze related Links:


By: LMC Loss Control

Friday, January 22, 2016

Use of Personal Heaters in the Office

During the cooler times we find ourselves in these days the office can feel a bit chillier than normal. With these cooler temps, we tend to see an increase in the use of personal heaters under desks. This in itself can be of some comfort to those trying to cope with the slightly cooler than normal draft, breeze, or wind coming through the cracks and open doors around the office. The issue with the personal heaters is that most are brought from home or purchased at local consumer retail stores. These units are UL listed and marked “For consumer use only” and not intended for commercial use such as in the office.

There are a few hazards associated with consumer use heaters:

1.       These are not commercial grade units and as such can increase the fire hazards in the city buildings.  

2.       The heaters tend to remain plugged in at night and unattended during off hours.

3.       There are typically multiple heaters plugged in a single circuit which can, and often does, over load the circuit, causing the electrical wires to overheat and may lead to a fire.

4.       Some heaters that are brought in are older units of dubious origin and could have damage or wear. This leads to an increased chance for fire due to electrical shorts and overheating.

There are solutions to these issues, short of an all-out ban on their use, which could cause larger problems among the tropical island seekers in the office. There are low voltage commercial panel heaters designed for use in offices and cubicles. There are also commercial grade heaters available for purchase, which would be a more appropriate choice for use in city office properties. Establishing a policy regarding the use and care of heaters, including a policy to unplug heaters while not in use, can reduce the associated hazards tied to the non-commercial grade and consumer grade heaters brought from home which could have damaged heating elements or electrical cords, or have a dust bunny nest – each  could contribute to the fire hazards.

Local office supply distributors can be a good source for commercial grade heaters. With any heater you want to check to make sure it is not “for consumer use only”.

OK now close your eyes and imagine you are sitting on a beach. The warm breeze is blowing off the ocean. As the waves lap at the shore the warm sun is slowly washing away all of those winter chills……

Stay warm and stay safe Minnesota.

By: Paul Gladen

Friday, January 15, 2016

Summer is Coming

So far we have had a mild winter, and that leaves tons of room for building and equipment maintenance when you’re not plowing snow. What kind of quick tricks or simple fixes can you do to make the summer maintenance season simpler and/or easier?


Adding trash grabbers to your riding mowers, so employees don’t have to get on/off equipment multiple times. Not only will this help reduce the potential of a fall, it will hopefully increase productivity with shorter stops. The City of Pipestone installed Trash Grabbers with Clamp Mounts so every mower can pick up trash while mowing.



You could also add a mounting system to the mowers that could hold weed whips. These additions are for mowers that are out all day and may find locations that need some trimming. These could be for the smaller trimming areas like sign posts, trees, or the monument on the edge of town. Maybe not for all areas, but it’s a start!


How many of you are using old 55 or 30 gallon barrels for trash cans? Simple, low cost, and usually plenty of them to use. Most of you have cut a hole in the top and  drilled a few holes in the bottom to drain the rain water, but how many of you have added handles? Adding handles could help in lifting these, especially  when you dump them. I’m sure we all have dumped a trash can or two and gotten the Trash Can Slime on our hands -  YUK!  Not only will the handles help in picking up the cans and dumping them into a dumpster or truck, it also keeps the slime off your hands…

By: Troy Walsh

Friday, January 1, 2016

Get the Most out of Your LMC Memos

Here at the League of Minnesota Cities we are continually writing info packets that will help you in your daily duties. These memos include such topics as Public Works Emergency Response, Entering Private Property for Public Works Purposes, and the Sanitary Sewer Toolkit: A Guide for Maintenance Policies and Procedures.

To search all of the memos the league has to offer, go to our website and under the “Governing and Managing” tab, click “Resource Library,” or just click this link.  Type a keyword or phrase then hit enter to search for related memos.

We have a lot of these memos, and each has a wealth of useful information.  So to help you navigate and make the most of them our LMC Research Department developed this handy infographic to help you use all of our memo’s incorporated features.

If you have a question about any memo that you are reviewing, feel free to contact our research staff at


By: Cody Tuttle

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tech Corner – Back-Up Cameras

As we work on our budgets for the upcoming years consider the newest technologies in your planning.  When looking at large purchases, consider what has changed and what options may make your job easier or less risky. 

A number of cities have implemented back-up cameras in their plows as an added feature.  According to these cities, the added technology decreases back-up accidents and pays for itself easily within one season.  The drivers are benefited with fewer blind spots and better clarity while backing. 

Plow trucks are not the only equipment that can be improved with the back-up camera technology.  Passenger vehicles, such as pick-ups, can benefit from this technology as well.  A few cities have even added this technology into their Bobcats and loaders, which are notorious for blind spots. 

While there has been a healthy dose of skepticism when discussing this technology, those that have implemented the use of back-up cameras have found it does make their jobs easier and safer. 

By: Tara A. Bursey

Friday, December 11, 2015


     We recently had a question regarding the storage of fireworks left over from the cancelation of a holiday event. This started me thinking – handling and storage of fireworks, how cities deal with fireworks displays, and  the related state and federal regulation questions. The simple answer is there are specific regulations on the use, possession, and storage of explosives which includes display fireworks used in celebrations such as the Fourth of July. Some cities contract with a licensed vendor to  handle the fireworks displays so the city doesn’t directly handle the fireworks. The city should, however, be familiar with the regulations. The information put out by the State of Minnesota and the ATF are good references to ensure the contractors are following the correct and safe procedures.

     For those cities that do organize and handle the fireworks it is important to note there are specific storage requirements which must be met. Whether it be the fire department or police department who are in charge of handling the fireworks and putting on the displays, the regulations must be adhered to for both public and employee safety. The State Fire Marshal Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has a Public Display Fireworks Operator Guidelines publication which outlines the regulations associated with the use, possession, display, and storage of fireworks. The storage of fireworks is regulated by the ATF and in the Minnesota Public Display Fireworks Operator Guidelines in Part E - Federal Requirements  it references the ATF’s Regulations for proper storage. The ATF puts out the ATF Federal Explosives and Regulations book (The Orange Book) that has regulations for the possession, handling, and storage of explosives; where display fireworks fall.  Fireworks must be stored in an ATF approved storage magazine built for the type of explosive being stored. The storage requirements of fireworks is outlined in the regulations and related tables for safe distances from storage facility to inhabited buildings and roads as listed in Subpart K – Storage.  Subpart K outlines the requirements for storage of explosives and has tables for setbacks or distances from inhabited structures, roadways, railroads, and other storage magazines. These two guides should be downloaded and used in preparation for upcoming and future planned events where display fireworks are being used.

     For your quick reference, here are  links  to the above mentioned publications put out by the State and ATF.
1. Public Display Fireworks Operator Guidelines -

2. ATF Orange Book -

By: Paul Gladen