Friday, March 16, 2018

You can’t blame gravity for falling. Think again about ladder safety!

I know what you’re thinking. It’ll never happen to me. I do much more dangerous tasks on the job than climbing a ladder. Reality is that most ladder deaths are from falls of 10 feet or less. The point is, ladders can be dangerous if not used properly.

Since March is Ladder Safety Month, let’s discuss portable ladders.
1)      The first way to ensure your safety is to use the right ladder for the job. How high are you going? Does it require a step ladder or an extension ladder? How much do you weigh? The weight includes if you’re wearing a tool belt or tool vest! Are there electrical wires nearby? All ladders receive a rating based on their maximum intended or working load – the total weight that they can safety support:

Type IAA: Rugged
Special Duty
375 lbs.
Type IA: Industrial
Extra Duty
300 lbs.
Type I: Industrial
Heavy Duty
250 lbs.
Type II: Commercial
Medium Duty
225 lbs.
Type III: Household
Light Duty
200 lbs.

2)      Once you have the correct ladder, inspect it. There are all sorts of ladder inspection checklists out there. Part of a ladder inspection is verifying the labels are visible as it’s important to read the safety information labels on the ladder. The climber is not considered qualified or adequately trained to use the ladder until familiar with this information. 

3)      Speaking of training, the employer is responsible in making sure that each employee who uses a ladder is trained by a competent person on how to use a ladder correctly, how to recognize the hazards related to ladders, and the procedures they must follow to minimize these hazards.
4)      After inspecting your ladder, be sure you’re using it properly. How to properly use an extension ladder and step ladder will be covered in training, but here are the basics regardless of the type of ladder:

  • First, always face the ladder. Grab the ladder with both hands and ascend while facing it, ensuring that you have three points of contact on the ladder at all times. To maintain three points of contact, you must not be carrying anything. Items should be on a tool belt or tool vest.
  • Make sure the ladder is locked into place before ascending and always make sure the to check the ladder’s stability before placing your weight on it. Never move or adjust a ladder while somebody is on it.
  • While ascending, your center of gravity should be between the side rails. Do not overreach or lean while working so that you don’t fall off the ladder sideways or pull the ladder over sideways while standing on it.
  • As tempting as it may be, the top of ladder should never be used as step. In fact, ladder manufacturers recommend never standing above the third highest step.
  • Footwear also plays a part in falls from ladders. Wearing slip resistant shoes with heavy soles to prevent foot fatigue, and cleaning the soles of the shoes to maximize traction is important before climbing. 

Ladder accidents are preventable. Safety training, ladder awareness, and education tools will help prevent people from being industry statistics. Why not use March to raise awareness in ladder safety in your organization? 

For more ladder information, please visit these links:


By: Julie Jelen

Friday, March 9, 2018

Clean Your Room!

I doubt I’m the only one whose parents yelled at them to clean their room as a kid. I bet you didn’t think good housekeeping would also follow you into the workplace! Housekeeping in the workplace can mean everything from promptly cleaning up any spills to putting any tools or equipment back where they belong, and keeping walkways clear. Poor housekeeping in the shop can result in slip, trip, and fall or struck/injured by injuries and can even be the root cause of fires in the workplace.

So, what can you do? A good start is to establish a Workplace Housekeeping Program. A good Housekeeping Program would include:
  • Ensuring that there is a clean, out of the way storage location for all tools and materials.
  • Training all staff on proper housekeeping procedures such as putting tools and materials in their designated storage locations, not leaving them out when not in use, and promptly cleaning up and spills, and cleaning workspaces of any debris such as sawdust when you are done with a task.
  • Holding staff accountable for doing their part to keep the shop clean.
  • Establishing a regular routine to clean other aspects of the shop such as light fixtures, rugs, and flooring.

Lastly, conduct regular inspections of the entire shop to ensure that proper housekeeping measures are still in place. This will give you an opportunity to take a step back and evaluate how you program is going, and see if any new issues have arisen such as mats or flooring becoming worn and becoming a tripping hazard, or new tools/supplies/materials that were never provided a proper storage location.

Keeping the shop and/or work area clean is an important aspect in keeping everyone safe, and should be everyone’s responsibility. Go look at your shop, How are you doing?

Other Housekeeping resources:


By: Cody Tuttle

Friday, March 2, 2018

Learn How to Ensure Your Parks are ADA Compliant at the Spring Loss Control Workshops!

ADA Accessibility is the focus of this year’s LMCIT: Spring Safety and Loss Control Workshop. The 2010 ADA Law requires accessibility to parks, play areas, pools, boating, fishing piers, exercise facilities, and sport facilities among others. With no “Safe Harbor”, existing recreational facilities will need to be upgraded as well, along with any new facilities.  

Attendees in the upcoming Public Works/Parks & Rec Track workshop will have the entire morning session to learn about common ADA issues at parks & recreation centers, solutions to improving accessibility, and exposure to available ADA resources & tools. After the classroom session, the class will take a field trip to a local park where they will have a chance to put into practice what they learned in the classroom. 

Some of the areas to be discussed include:

  • Parking                                                
  • Access Route
  • Building Entrance
  • Restrooms
  • Playgrounds
  • Picnic Shelters and Tables
  • Docks/Fishing Pier
  • Sport Facility Seating


By: Joe Ingebrand


Friday, February 23, 2018

Gravel Road Maintenance Program

In the deep part of winter, and all we see is snow, ice, cold, and freezing temps. You cannot help but think of summer, when we can remove the heavy coats and insolated boots. In the next couple of weeks the ice and snow will begin to thaw, and we all know the havoc that is does to our roads. I’m sure you all know what needs to be done to the road-surface to minimize accidents and complaints, but how about the continuous maintenance of the gravel roads in your area?

What types of planning do you have to minimize the accidents and complaints for these surfaces? Do you have a program for maintenance of gravel roads, or do you just do maintenance based on complaints? Minnesota LTAP has a Gravel Road Maintenance and Design Training on April 10th or April 12th to help with these questions.

If those dates do not work for you, or if you’ve taken the workshop in the past and just need a refresher, they also offer an online training. More information on that can be found at:

Having a good gravel maintenance program that reviews spring maintenance after the thaw, continuous summer maintenance to reduce wash boarding and maintain a proper crown, as well as preparation for the next winter is important, and can help reduce crashes, accidents, and minimize complaints!

By Troy Walsh



Friday, February 16, 2018

Minnesota LTAP: Work-Zone Traffic Control Seminar

The personalities of today’s motor vehicle drivers are always a challenge. More traffic congestion, larger vehicles, distracted drivers, and potential lack of driving experience can all be challenges to work-zones.
You cannot physically drive each vehicle through your work-zone for the public, but you can give them the absolute best warning of work-zones possible. To do this you need to understand work-zones, speed reduction areas, employee safety, and what to plan for before a roadway job starts.
This is a course to cover basic traffic control procedures, work zone set-up, work zone traffic control signage, and to cover the 2018 Minnesota Field Manual for Work-Zone Traffic Control. It is also a great opportunity to ask question about your specific work zones, and individual areas that you may have questions on!
Dates & Locations
The workshop is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the specified locations on the dates listed below.
·         February 22, 2018—Kahler Apache Hotel, 1517 16th Street SW, Rochester, MN
·         February 27, 2018—City Center Hotel, 101 Main Street, Mankato, MN
·         March 1, 2018—Holiday Inn, 75 South 37th Avenue, St. Cloud, MN
·         March 6, 2018—Radisson Hotel, 2540 Cleveland Avenue N, Roseville, MN
·         March 14, 2018—DoubleTree Hotel, 2200 Freeway Boulevard, Brooklyn Center, MN
·         March 28, 2018—Radisson Hotel, 505 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN
·         April 4, 2018—Holiday Inn, 20800 Kenrick Avenue, Lakeville, MN


By: Troy Walsh

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Required Workplace Postings (Repost)

Editor’s note: This blog was originally posted in April 2015, however we thought it important to repost as we’ve had several members reach out to us after receiving calls and/or mailings from companies wanting them to purchase this signage that they can get for free.
Get what you need…but don’t get scammed!

Ever get a phone call from a company trying to sell you workplace posters?  Hold on…it might be a scam.  “Required postings” scams have exploded in number over the last few years and have been reported by cities and other employers from coast to coast.  One sign it’s a scam is if the person on the other end tells you that there have been changes to regulations and that “you must purchase the latest OSHA posters” or else you’ll be “out of compliance.”  Often these scammers will attempt to sound like they represent a government agency.  They may send “official looking” announcements or even threatening notices warning of fines or penalties if you don’t purchase the “updated” postings.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  These companies don’t represent OSHA or any other government agency.  They are private businesses, trying to make a quick buck through misrepresentation and deceit. 

The fact is Minnesota law does require employers to post state-mandated posters; however, these posters are available for FREE from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).  Although there have been some design changes to the State’s posters, the regulations described in the posters have not changed, so employers do not need to replace their current poster set.  You do not have to pay anything to be in compliance with Minnesota’s required postings. These required postings include Safety and Health on the job, Minimum Wage, Age Discrimination, Unemployment, and Workers’ Compensation, and must be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace (Note:  in addition to the state posting requirements, some U.S. Government agencies require postings, such as the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission).

You can request your FREE posters (available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali) by phone, email, snail mail, or electronically via DLI’s website by visiting the web address below.  You can even print your posters directly from DLI’s website.  From the printer to the bulletin board!  For more information visit:  Order free, mandatory workplace posters online.

So if you receive a call or letter and suspect a scam, get a name and address, do some fact-checking, and then, if necessary report the incident to your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  That way, we’ll all be doing our part to “keep ‘em honest.”

By Joe Ingebrand

Friday, February 2, 2018

Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall!

Did you know that Slip, Trip, and Falls are continuously one of the most reported occupational injuries? They are the League’s second most reported cause of injury among our members, and can result in injuries ranging from strains and sprains from landing in an awkward position to dislocations and fractures from landing on a hard surface such as ice or concrete. Today we’re going to focus primarily on the slip and fall hazards presented by snow and ice.

Living in a colder climate like we do, the snow and ice can significantly increase the risk of slip and fall injuries. Employees often need to walk on icy walkways to perform tasks such as checking a water meter, moving a garbage bin, or delivering a notification to a resident. Not all walkways are controlled by the city and probably would not have been treated for snow and ice removal the same way a city trail or sidewalk would have been, so what can a city do to protect its employees from these dangerous injuries? One thing we have seen many of our members use to reduce the risk with great success is provide employees performing these types of duties ice tread attachments for their boots such as those pictured below. You should still be cautious when walking on potentially icy surfaces, but these can provide some much-needed traction and reduce the odds of a slip.

Another common place where we see snow and ice related slip and falls is pathways into and out of buildings. We regularly see incidents where employees slip on ice and are injured walking from the parking lot into the building. It is an employer’s responsibility to provide employees with a safe, hazard free, pathway into and out of the workplace, so care should be taken to ensure that the parking lots and sidewalks in front of city buildings are plowed and de-iced.

Entryways inside of buildings can also become slick and wet as snow is tracked in, creating a separate slip and fall hazard. To protect from this, make sure excess water is mopped up whenever possible, and consider putting up a “wet floor” sign as warning. Lastly consider putting down mats where people can wipe their feet, but make sure that are laid flat and secured so as to not create a new tripping hazard.

Other things you can do in your shop to prevent the risk of slips, trips, and falls is to use fall protection when working from heights, and using good housekeeping around your shop. Good housekeeping includes things like promptly cleaning up spills and ensuring that all tools and equipment are put away in a safe location, leaving walkways clear. We will discuss housekeeping further in a future blog.

Be safe and watch where you step!


By: Cody Tuttle