Thursday, May 25, 2017

Happy Public Works Week!

Thank you for keeping our streets paved, our water clean and running, and for the million other things you do to keep our cities functioning. The League of Minnesota Cities thanks you for what you do every day, and for doing it safety.



By: League of Minnesota Cities


Friday, May 12, 2017

OSHA New Crystalline Silica Rule

OSHA is issuing two standards to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica—one for construction, and the other for general industry and maritime. City employees would likely fall under the construction standard when engaged in activities related to streets, sidewalks, sewer, etc.
Exposure can occur during common construction tasks such as using masonry saws, grinders, drills, jackhammers, handheld powered chipping tools, milling, and using heavy equipment for demolition or certain other tasks.
What does the standard require?

Two Options:

I. Employers can either use a control method laid out in Table 1* of the construction standard.
II. They can measure workers’ exposure to silica and independently decide which dust controls work best to limit exposures to the PEL in their workplaces.

Regardless of which exposure control method is used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:
  • Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur.
  • Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.
  • Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
  • Offer medical exams—including chest X-rays and lung function tests—every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.
  • Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
  • Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

*Table 1 (Example) Specific Exposure Control Method for using a hand held concrete saw equipped with a continuous water feed to control dust, outside and less than four hour, no respiratory protection needed. If over four hours outdoors or in enclosed areas, respiratory protection needed.

                                                      (Wet method- dust control system)             

                                           (Dry method- employee likely exposed to Silica)

OSHA Fact Sheet Crystalline Silica Rule:

By Joe Ingebrand, Senior Loss Control Consultant


Friday, April 7, 2017

Don’t Blow Your Top! Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspection

On a recent Safety and Loss Control Visit to a member city I was asked the question: “Who is supposed to do inspections on our air compressor, and what is the criteria for which vessels need inspecting?”

Well, I told my contact that if you have your boiler coverage through LMCIT that is a service we provide. LMCIT works with representatives from FM Global who provides this service to our members.  FM Global completes over 1000, what are known as Jurisdictional Inspections for LMCIT, each year. Certain boiler and pressure vessels require regular inspections to ensure compliance with local regulations. This includes construction, installation, and operating codes and standards. The State of MN allows insurance carriers to perform these inspections. A representative from FM Global works with each LMCIT member in the property program to review operating conditions, maintenance and operating procedures, adequacy of safety devices to protect the equipment, and repairs and/or alterations to restore equipment conditions. The result is jurisdictional equipment that is both compliant and resilient.

What’s the Criteria for Inspection? The criteria listed below will help you determine if an inspection should be taking place.
Your boiler does not have to be inspected if it is:
  1. Located on a farm, or under federal control
  2. Located in a residence purposes for not more than 5 families
  3. A hot water heating boiler with a heat input not exceeding 750,000 Btu/Hr
  4. A railroad boiler used for transportation purposes
  5. A manually fired boiler for model locomotives, tractors. Boats or antique vehicles providing the inside diameter does not exceed 12 inches, and the grate area does not exceed 2 square feet.
Your hot water heater does not have to be inspected if it:
  1. Has a capacity of 120 gallons or less
  2. Has a heat input of 500,000 btu/hr or less
  3. Operates at a pressure of 160 psi of less
  4. Operates at a temperature of 210 F or less
Your pressure vessel does not have to be inspected if:
  1. It is an air tank less than 5 cubic feet in volume (37.5 gallons) and a safety valve set at 100 psi.
  2. It is an air tank installed on a right of way railroad.
  3. It has an inside diameter of less than 6 inches, and a length not exceeding 36 inches.
  4. It is a vessel containing water at a pressure not exceeding 300psi and temperature not exceeding 210 F
  5. It has a maximum working pressure of 15 psi.
  6. It contains liquefied petroleum gasses, or located in a petroleum refinery
  7. It is an air tank installed on a passenger bus, truck or trailer
  8. Is located on a farm
  9. It is a laundry or dry cleaning presser under 5 cubic feet (37.5 gallons)

All information for pressure, volume, and capacity will be located on the nameplate of the object.

If your boiler, hot water heater, or pressure vessel is not excluded, and should be getting inspected, please contact: or your LMCIT Underwriter.

By: Joe Ingebrand, CSP, Senior Loss Control Consultant

Friday, March 17, 2017

March is Ladder Safety Month!

Are you putting your best foot forward? March 2017 is the first-ever National Ladder Safety Month! In the United States, more than 164,000 people are treated from ladder injuries in the emergency room and more than 300 die from falls from ladders. National Ladder Safety Month is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety, at home and at work.

There are five major causes for ladder fall incidents:
  1. Incorrect extension ladder setup angle — In approximately 40% of cases, the leading cause of ladder-related injuries is a ladder sliding out at the base due to an incorrect setup angle. Ladder users tend to set extension ladders at shallower angles than the optimal desired angle (75 degrees).
  2. Inappropriate ladder selection — Selection of a ladder with the proper duty-rating is also important to avoid structural failure. However, many ladder users lack knowledge of proper ladder selection.
  3. Insufficient ladder inspection — You can reduce the likelihood of ladder structural failure by practicing regular inspection and maintenance.
  4. Improper ladder use — Activities such as overreaching, carrying objects, applying excessive force, slips, and missteps are also frequent causes of ladder-related fall injuries.
  5. Lack of access to ladder safety tools and information — Small companies that account for up to 80% of all construction companies, and individual ladder users, such as homeowners, do not typically receive the required training for safe use of portable ladders. Such ladder users are difficult to reach, often do not have access to safety information, and generally lack the resources to develop or follow an effective ladder safety program.
Picture taken from the OSHA Quick Card on
Portable Ladder Safety

Yes, there is an app for that!

Download NIOSH's free, award-winning Ladder Safety app from the Apple Store or Google Play to improve extension and step ladder safety with user-friendly guides and interactive tools to prevent ladder-related fall injuries and deaths.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on new OSHA requirements for fixed ladders. OSHA has revised its Walking-Working Surfaces & Fall Prevention requirements in 2017, creating new definitions, rules, and responsibilities for employers.

Submitted by: Julie Jelen, Loss Control Consultant

Friday, February 24, 2017

MNOSHA's top 10 most common citations in 2016

How is your city doing? Are you keeping your employees safe with proper training? Reviewing your safety policies annually and actually following them? Each year Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Compliance publishes its lists of the most frequently cited workplace safety and health standards for the construction industry, general industry, and all industries combined.

MNOSHA top 10 for 2016
  1. Hazard communication (296 citations)
  2. Fall protection in construction (285 citations)
  3. Employee right-to-know training (276 citations)
  4. A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) program (170 citations)
  5. Machinery and machine guarding -- general requirements (154 citations)
  6. The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) (150 citations)
  7. Respiratory protection (145 citations)
  8. Electrical wiring methods, components and equipment in general industry (92 citations)
  9. Powered industrial trucks (86 citations)
  10. General requirements for scaffolds (84 citations)
Fact sheets with charts of the top 10 most-frequently cited standards for the construction industry and general industry are available at

As a reminder, if you need additional training and compliance assistance, the League of Minnesota Cities offers Regional Safety Groups (RSGs) as well as web-based FirstNet Safety Training.


By: Julie Jelen, Loss Control Consultant

Friday, February 17, 2017

Another Success - A MN/OSHA Grant Story!

The City of Victoria recently applied for a OSHA Safety Grant to help with employee safety and to minimize employee risk when installing posts and trees. The City reviewed how they were installing sign posts and wanted to minimize the cost of renting an air compressor while also reducing the manual pounding of posts. The City of Victoria was awarded a Gas Post Pounder through the Minnesota OSHA Safety Grant for about $2500.

The City also applied for another tool on their OSHA Grant application. Victoria had been digging post holes and installing basketball hoops by manually digging them out; they also needed a safer way to install trees in their parks. After renting an auger attachment and continuously seeing the employee benefits they added it to their grant application and it was approved as well. The recent auger acquisition is waiting for the spring months to be put to work. The Auger Attachment was purchased for about $1800.

By: Troy Walsh

Friday, January 27, 2017

Are your seasonal workers properly trained?

Seasonal workers, whether winter or summer, are required to be trained. Seasonal employees need to receive the same level of safety training as other workers. Make sure they:

§  are briefed on overall safety training in addition to being given site-specific training

§  aren’t made to do only tasks that are especially dangerous

§  are given the correct PPE for each job, as well as training on how and when to use it

Minnesota OSHA requires that all employees are trained annually on Employee Right-to-Know, which includes hazardous substances, harmful physical agents, and infectious agents that are present in the workplace. The city is also responsible in making sure each employee understands the city’s Emergency Action Plan and AWAIR policy (A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction program). This can be done at the New Employee Orientation and/or annually reviewed.  For a full list on training requirements, contact your LMCIT Loss Control Consultant.

In addition to those OSHA required training mentioned above, some jobs have other hazards that require training specific to the tasks the employee performs.   This could include specific training on equipment, such as forklifts or PPE.  The city is responsible for making sure the employee understands the training and retains all training records.

How can we get this training?

If you are part of the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) Regional Safety Group (RSG), your RSG Coordinator can help to ensure compliance and proper training is being met. Other top training programs, such as Minnesota Municipal Utility Association’s (MMUA) Safety Training program, will also ensure employees are trained with accurate recordkeeping.

Another great option is LMCIT’s FirstNet Safety Training.  FirstNet Safety Training is an affordable and convenient web-based training for all employees.  This tool provides access to more than 45 online training courses covering a wide variety of safety topics that can provide basic training for new employees, as well as refresher training for experienced and seasonal employees. FirstNet Safety Training will also help you track participation and learning outcomes.  To view a full list of courses, visit the FirstNet Safety Training Courses page. Keep in mind, each city has their own unique hazards and can’t solely rely on online training programs. For more information on FirstNet Safety Training or joining a RSG, contact Kristen LeRoy, LMCIT Program Manager (651) 281-1268 or (800) 925-1122.

By: Julie Jelen, Loss Control Consultant