Thursday, November 21, 2019

Winter Operations Training Videos


The Iowa DOT has released an updated series of snow and ice videos. The new series includes 13 videos and takes about 90 minutes to watch. Topics include plowing techniques, preseason prep, plow mounting, and deicing chemicals.

The old series was popular, with more than 200,000 views on the plowing techniques video alone. The new series updates those videos and uses newer technology. The free videos can be used to supplement training where needed.

Iowa DOT Winter Operations Training Series

By: LMCIT Loss Control




Monday, November 18, 2019

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Updates

UPDATE: 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a two-year delay to a rule that establishes nationwide minimum training standards for a new truck driver. These new rule changes will be effective February 2022.

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Updates that we need to be aware of and they will be come effective in February 2020.
  • Unlike some of the current CDL standards that may be set by State Statutes, there is a change. Standards are now being set at the Federal Level. State can no longer establish their own.
  • Requirements for teacher qualifications: Instructors now must have two years of driving experience, clean driving MVR, and a medical certification for on road and private range instructions.
  • Increases in curriculum mandates:
    • Previous 4 knowledge courses have been replaced with 31 required theory topic courses.
    • These will be joined with 19 behind-the-wheel skills and will be tested with the vehicle inspection skills at a state level DMV.
  • All existing CDL training schools and any new school must be listed on the Training Provider Registry.

Who does this affect, and the Final Rule Establishes new training standards for individuals applying for:
1.  Class A or B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for the first time.
2.  An upgrade of their CDL (example Class-B seeking to upgrade to a Class-A)
3.  A Hazardous Materials (H), Passenger (P), or School Bus (S) endorsements for the first time.

What could this mean to you? It could take additional time to find a candidate who needs to get or upgrade their CDL. It could mean additional expenses involved that would need to be budgeted if changes in CDL required operations, and or if you have employee turnover.

We have added a few links to reference some local and federal information related to these updates:

By: Troy Walsh, Loss Control Consultant

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Compost Sites


Is your city having trouble with your compost sites? Are people dumping items that shouldn’t be there?

To prevent this from happening, there are a few different things your City can do:

·         Have the compost site fenced and have a lock/code/key for residents to access the site
·         Have the compost site only open during hours that would be staffed  
·         Have security cameras at the compost site
·         Have signs that include what is okay and not okay to drop at the compost site

Your City should have a policy/procedure for your composting sites. The policy/procedures should include:

·         Who is allowed to use the compost site?
o   Residents
o   Are non-residents allowed to?
o   Are commercial users allowed to? If so, is there a fee?
·         When is the compost site open/close?
o   Only for staffed hours or
o   24/7, need a key?
o   Certain days that it is closed?
·         What are acceptable items at the compost site?
o   Grass clippings
o   Leaves
o   Brush/Logs
o   Christmas tress
·         If the City’s compost site is only open during staffed hours, are there requirements to enter the compost site?
o   Registering with the staff
o   Driver’s License
o   Permit
·         Is there a cost to use the compost site?
·         What other rules should users be aware of?
o   No plastic bags left on site
o   No yard waste left outside facility
o   No chain saws or wood splitters
o   No stumps

Examples:



Submitted by: Kate Connell, Loss Control Consultant

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

DNR Outdoor Recreation Grant Program

The DNR is offering to provide matching grants for up to 50% of the cost of acquisition, development and/or redevelopment of local parks and recreation areas. The maximum grant award it $250,000. Just recently, the City of Byron was awarded a grant of $100,000 for an adaptive playground.

Eligible applicants are cities, counties, and townships.

Eligible projects include:
  • Park acquisition and/or development/redevelopment including:
    • Internal Park Trails
    • Picnic Shelters
    • Playgrounds
    • Athletic Facilities
    • Boat Accesses
    • Fishing Piers
    • Swimming Beaches
    • Campgrounds

Project proposals must include at least one of the eligible primary outdoor recreation facilities in the Program Manual (linked on website) and have a total cost project of at least $20,000.

The next application cycle information and materials will be posted in November 2019 with an expected application deadline of March 2020.

Please visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/recreation/outdoor_rec.html for more information regarding the grant.

Submitted by: Kate Connell, Loss Control Representative

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Warm Weather and Tick Reminders


The warmer weather is coming upon us. We want to remind you of what to be aware of when outside during the warmer weather.
 
Ticks

What are Ticks? Ticks are small around the size of an apple seed, black or red in color, have four pairs of legs, and have flat, oval bodies. Being small, they are hard to spot. Ticks usually live in wooded areas, tall grasses, weeds, and leaf litter.
 
What can Ticks cause? Ticks spread diseases by passing along bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Common diseases of ticks include Lyme Disease, along with Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia. These all can result in negative health effects.
 
Symptoms of being bit by a Tick: Usually most of these illnesses will give you the typical flu-like symptoms, such as chills, fever, headache and muscle aches. Also, muscle stiffness/soreness, fatigue or lethargy.
 
How to prevent a tick bite?
 
>>  Dress Properly by tucking in your pant legs to not expose the skin on your ankle/legs. If you are exposing the skin around your ankles/legs, be sure to check thoroughly for ticks upon returning inside. Wearing light colored clothing can help with spotting a tick more easily.  More and more companies are manufacturing tick repellent clothing which could also be another option to consider.
 
>>  Use Repellent especially on your feet and ankles and any exposed skin.
 
>>  Be aware of your surroundings. Try to stay on more busy trails. If you do venture in wooded areas or tall grasses, immediately check your body for ticks.
 
>>  Check your body thoroughly. Pay special attention to under the arms, in/around the ears, belly button, in/around hair, between the legs, and around the waist.
 
What if a tick bites me? If you have been bitten you may see a “bullseye” or solid red patch around the site of the bite.  Pay attention to any of the symptoms listed above. These symptoms typically occur within 30 days following a tick bite.

How to remove a tick?  The most common method is to use a fine-tipped tweezers, pull upward with steady even pressure, and after removing the tick make sure to wash the area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
 
Other methods that may be helpful to remove ticks could include, liquid soap, petroleum jelly or rubbing alcohol. The petroleum jelly and the rubbing alcohol methods, while effective may be dangerous, as they may irritate the tick and make it release its toxins.  The liquid soap method if the best alternative option of these listed.
 
Heat
 
Common heat related disorders include:
  • Heat exhaustion: symptoms include faint or dizziness, excessive sweating, cool/pale/clammy skin, nausea/vomiting, rapid/weak pulse, and muscle cramps.
  • Heat stroke: symptoms include throbbing headache, no sweating, body temperature above 103, red/hot/dry skin, nausea/vomiting, rapid/strong pulse, and may lose consciousness. 
  • Heat cramps: symptoms include muscle pain or spasms in the abdomen, arm or legs.  
  • Heat rash: symptoms include small blisters or red cluster of pimples.
 
Reminders when outside in the hot weather:
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, 5 to 7 ounces every 15-20 minutes. Also, avoid dehydrating liquids such as alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated drink.
  • Wear protective clothing and sunscreen: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothing. Also, wear a hat when working outside.
  • Pace yourself: know your limits and stop if you are feeling any symptoms.  
  • Take breaks: take time for rest and water breaks in a shaded area.

Helpful links:
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/default.html


By: Kate Connell, Loss Control Representative

 

 

Posting turf after spraying can prevent headaches!


With increased citizen awareness and concern for chemicals in the environment, informing the public after chemically treating turf can help reduce complaints and increase safety. A sign indicating this message should be posted for 48 hours, unless the manufacturer has differing criteria.

In addition, cities in Minnesota may enact ordinances requiring Minnesota Department of Agriculture licensed commercial and noncommercial applicators to post a warning sign on the turf areas treated with pesticides (including herbicides). The city is responsible to enforce such an ordinance. The Minnesota Pesticide Control law states the following as requirements for the signs. The law states warning signs must:
1. Project at least 18 inches above the top of the grass line:
2. Must be made of a material that is rain-resistant for at least a 48-hour period; and
3. Must remain in place up to 48 hours from the time of initial application.
4. The law further states that information must be printed on the warning sign in contrasting colors and in capitalized letters at least one-half inch. The following information must also be printed on the signs:
  •  name of the business organization or person applying the pesticide,
  •  "this are chemically treated. Keep children and pets off until __________ (date of safe entry)", or a universally accepted symbol and text approved by the Commissioner that is recognized as having the same meaning or intent as specified in this paragraph. The warning sign may include the name of the pesticide used.
5. The warning sign must be posted on a lawn or yard between two feet and five feet from the sidewalk or street. For parks, golf course, athletic fields, playgrounds or other similar recreational property where pesticides have been applied and are or near the entrances to the property.
 


By: Joe Ingebrand, Senior Loss Control Consultant
 

Monday, March 25, 2019

After the Flood -- Now What?


Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones who have not been impacted by any flooding.  For those of you who were not as fortunate you are left to deal with the emotional trauma and a variety of cleanup issues.   

When the flood waters start decreasing, there are many dangers left behind. Many homes, buildings, possessions, and roadways are destroyed. Flood waters often become contaminated with many things that could be detrimental to your safety and health. The following are helpful tips on what to do after a flood occurs.  If you have been following previous blogs some of this may sound familiar and are worth repeating. 

Stay informed. Listen to your local news to keep up to date on conditions. If your area was evacuated, do not return until authorities have said it is safe to do so.

Avoid flood waters, as they may be contaminated by toxic chemicals, debris, sharp objects, power lines, sewage and other substances.

Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the local electrical company.

Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or power lines that went down.

Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded. Pay attention to the road closure and cautionary signs. Roadways may be collapsed underneath the flood waters.

Ensure buildings are structurally safe before entering. Look for warping, loosened or cracked foundation elements, cracks, holes, and damage to the walls and floors. Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by flood waters.

Record details of flood damage. Before removing any water or making repairs, make sure to document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or videos.

Report damage to your insurance. Notify your insurer as soon as possible after the flood. They will need to know the state of your home and any repairs you intend to do right away.

Maintain good hygiene during flood cleanup. Use proper personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves, masks, heavy boots and protective clothing. Wash your hands with soap and water if you come into contact with any remaining flood water or materials which have been potentially contaminated by flood water.   

Practice safe cleaning. Remove and throw out anything that was contaminated with flood water or sewage, such as drywall and insulation. Throw away items that cannot be washed or cleaned with bleach, such as mattresses, pillows and carpet. 

Avoid drinking water and eating contaminated food. Do not drink the water until authorities declare water is safe. Drink bottled water if it was not contaminated by flood water. Throw away any food that did or may have come into contact with flood waters.