Thursday, September 27, 2018

Stretch for Safety

In our last blog we showed you a video from the City of Maplewood that discussed some of the things that the city has done to improve employee safety. As part of their wellness program Maplewood has also created a video to walk you through some stretches that can help reduce muscle soreness and your risk of injury.

Stretching has been shown to greatly reduce the occurrence of sprain and strain injuries by lengthening the muscles making them less prone to trauma and tears. This means you are less likely to suffer an injury if you accidently overextend your muscles while performing a task, or if you were to slip on ice and fall into an awkward position. Your body would be better prepared to absorb the shock and protect itself.

Another benefit of stretching is that it helps muscles and tendons recover from job fatigue more quickly by reducing muscle tension and soreness. Anecdotally, individuals who take part in a stretching program report being less sore at the end of the work day.
And lastly, stretching can also help you warm-up your muscles and prepare them for work. Muscles that haven’t been appropriately prepared for a strenuous activity have an increased risk of injury.
So give stretching a chance, your body will thank you for it!

By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Safety Takes Center Stage

How does your City promote safety within the community and/or with staff? The City of Maplewood has developed a safety video highlighting some tools & equipment certain departments have acquired to simplify the job and make staff and the public safer.

The Public Safety Departments are working on physical and mental training. They are working to reduce not only muscle and soft tissue injuries, but also training to deal with difficult situations on the job. Physical and mental training is only part of the solution, embracing new equipment and safer tools are also helping Maplewood reduce staff injuries.

The Public Works staff have upgraded the way they shovel and apply asphalt. Sometimes getting your hands dirty and shoveling asphalt is still what needs to be done, but can we make the job easier on staff? Sometimes additional warning lights can provide a better warning to the passing public, and adding some mechanical advantage to the asphalt trailer can make it easier for staff!

When looking on how to make the workplace safer, ask the staff what are your concerns and what potential injury could you have on-the-job? This could give you a guide on what to improve and make the job safer and easier!

Check out Maplewood’s YouTube video Safer Workers Stronger City:

By: Troy Walsh, Loss Control Consultant 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

You Know What Ticks Me Off?


Dealing with these blood sucking critters is sadly a reality for those of us that work outdoors. Ticks can attach to you when you are walking through or working in forested areas, brush, and high grass. They can carry a variety of diseases that they are able to transmit to you or your pets.

So, what can you do to prevent a tick bite? The best protection is to avoid high grass and wooded areas, but unfortunately this obviously isn’t always an option when on the job. The next best thing you can do is treat your clothing or buy clothing which is pre-treated with a tick repellant that is an EPA-registered insect repellant that is rated against tick bites (remember to only apply in a well-ventilated area if you are treating your own clothing).

Once back indoors
Of course, even using a repellant does not guarantee that a tick will not find its way onto you or your clothes, so here are some other steps that you should take after coming back indoors:
·       Check your clothing for ticks and remove any that are found (How to remove and dispose of ticks).
·       Shower soon after being outdoors – this can help wash off any unattached ticks, and has been shown to reduce the risk of getting Lyme disease and potentially other tickborne diseases.
·       Washing cloths may or may not kill ticks.  Many can survive cool water wash cycles.  Placing clothing in a dryer for 10 - 15 minutes at high heat, typically will kill most tick species.  Most ticks require moisture to survive. 
·       Check your body thoroughly with the help of a hand-held or full-length mirror. Ticks typically must feed on the host body for upwards to 24 hours in order to transmit a disease so removing them quickly is crucial. The most common areas for a bite are:
o   Under the arms
o   In and around the ears
o   Inside belly button
o   Back of the knees
o   In and around the hair
o   Between the legs
o   Around the waist

Recognize the symptoms of a tickborne disease
While preventative steps will greatly reduce the possible risk of transmitting a tickborne illness there is still no guarantee. That is why it can be just as important to recognize the symptoms. Fortunately, many tickborne diseases share similar signs and symptoms:
·         Fever/chills
·         Headaches
·         Fatigue
·         Joint or muscle aches and pains
·         Rashes

If you know you have been bitten, or start feeling any of the symptoms you should see your doctor immediately.

Other Resources:

By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bleacher Safety Act - Fact Sheet and Reporting Update

Did you know that all Bleachers in MN that are over 55” in height, or have guardrails over 30 inches in height are required to be inspected and certified as in compliance with the Bleacher Safety Act? If not don’t worry, we outlined the requirements in a previous blog which you can read here. You can also read about it in Section VII-J of our Park and Recreation Loss Control Memo.

So why are we talking about it again?

In their push to make information more accessible the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) recently created and released a Fact Sheet outlining the requirements for bleacher safety.
Additionally, there has been a change in the reporting regarding the periodic inspections/re-certification that are required to be performed every 5 years. You no longer need to submit these forms to DLI, but rather retain them for your records and make them available upon request.

By: Cody Tuttle

Friday, June 15, 2018

NEW OSHA Reporting Rule - Starting July 1st, 2018

MNOSHA has adopted the federal rule requiring annual reporting of injury and illness data. All high-hazard Minnesota industries with 20 or more employees, including municipalities, are now required to electronically submit their data to federal OSHA by July 1, 2018. When counting employees, include all that are compensated such as seasonal, part-time, temporary, or volunteers.

If you have 20 to 249 employees, you are required annually to submit OSHA 300A Summary forms electronically. This is the same form that’s posted in your city/utility offices from February 1 through April 30.

If you have 250 or more employees, you are required annually to submit OSHA recordkeeping forms (Forms 300, 300A, and 301) electronically.

So, how do I do this?

First, be sure to check who the person is in your organization responsible for OSHA/injury records. They will more than likely be the person to set up the account and input annually.

Have a copy of your city/utility 2017 300A Summary in front of you (and 300 & 301 completed forms if you have 250 or more employees).

You’ll be inputting the data in the Injury Tracking Application (ITA)

  • Click on create an account, fill in your name, title, phone, email, and create a username.
  • You will be sent a link to change password to one of your choosing.
  • Use the “Manual Data Entry” choice to create an establishment.
  • Use NAICS code of 921190, “Other General Government Support”.
  • Select “General Public Administration”.
  • Click the “Yes – Local Government” button, and choose the total employee count.
  • After completing establishment details, continue to enter 300A Summary data.
  • Submit to OSHA when complete.

For 2018 the reporting date is July 1 but in 2019 and beyond, the date moves to March 2 of the year after the calendar year covered by the form(s).

Your League Loss Control Consultant is available for assistance, or visit MNOSHA Compliance for more information and free training resources to help improve recordkeeping -

By: Julie Jelen, Loss Control Consultant

Friday, June 8, 2018

Be Accessible

As I am sure many of you are aware, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility has become more of a focus at all levels of government over the past several years. Many of you may have even had the state, or your county, redo some of your sidewalks to make them ADA compliant while performing street projects on their roads that run through your city.

We all strive to ensure our facilities are ADA accessible not just because some federal grants may be contingent on it, or even just because it’s the law, we do it because it is the right thing to do for our communities. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans have a disability, so we want to make sure that our parks, playgrounds, streets, and public buildings are all accessible so that we are not unconsciously excluding that 20% of our populations.

It is because of this that the League has spent the past year compiling resources to assist our members in ensuring that their city facilities are ADA accessible.  We developed a training, which many of you may have participated in at our 2018 Spring Loss Control Workshops, and also have begun rolling out a Loss Control Survey, where your LMCIT Loss Control Consultant will come to the city and help you find areas where you can improve accessibility for your residents. If you have an upcoming project ranging from restriping a parking lot to designing a new playground please feel free to reach out to your Loss Control Consultant and we would be more than happy to send you the relevant information you are looking for, or even stop by your city to discuss in more detail. The resources we can share with you also include self-checklists for the most common ADA issues we have seen in parks and municipal liquor stores (two areas where LMCIT has seen several ADA claims arising recently).

Another resource for ADA guidance that you may be interested in is the US Access Board’s new YouTube Channel. The channel’s videos have informational animations that can assist you in visualizing how to be compliant in your own facilities. The Access Board also has their Online Accessibility Guide to help you understand some of the ADA’s core concepts.

Lastly, be sure to check out this article about ADA from the March-April 2017 edition of Minnesota Cities Magazine.

By: Cody Tuttle

Friday, June 1, 2018

Who Foots the Bill for Safety Shoes?

A question we often get asked in loss control is whether or not the employer needs to pay for some of the employee’s footwear.  The answer to this question is Yes in Minnesota.  This includes ALL employees regardless of full time or seasonal/temporary employment. Current interpretation of this requirement is that the employer is responsible for providing at least the minimum cost of PPE that is of a type necessary for the job being performed. If employees want more expensive PPE, the employer has the option to pay the entire cost or have the employee pay the difference between the minimum type necessary to provide the protection and the option the employee is selecting.  

Where there may be some confusion is with the differences in the Federal and Minnesota OSH Acts requirements pertaining to PPE. Federal rule states that where equipment is personal in nature and may be used by workers off the job, the matter of who pays for the PPE may be left to labor-management negotiations. Under the Federal rule, examples of PPE that is personal in nature and often used away from the worksite includes non-specialty safety glasses and safety shoes. However, shoes or outerwear subject to contamination by carcinogens or other toxic or hazardous substances which cannot be safely worn off-site must be paid for by the employer. This federal interpretation does not apply in Minnesota. Minnesota Statutes182.655 subd. 10(a) requires employers to pay for all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), including safety shoes.

Since we’re talking about safety footwear, it’s also important to note they must meet ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) minimum compression and impact performance standards in ASTM F2413-17 (Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear) or provide equivalent protection.  All ASTM approved footwear has a protective toe and offers impact and compression protection, but that doesn’t mean that the type and amount of protection is the same.  Safety footwear protects in different ways, so it is important to check the product’s labeling or consult the manufacturer to make sure the footwear will protect the user from the hazards they face.

By: Julie Jelen, Loss Control Consultant