Thursday, June 1, 2023

We've Moved!

Illustration of a moving truck and a blue sky with clouds.
The Pipeline blog has moved! 

We have combined efforts with the League of Minnesota Cities City Spot blog to provide you with more of the latest news and helpful information on public works, loss control, employee safety, and other issues that are important to Minnesota cities. 

Update your bookmarks and visit City Spot at   

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Thank you, Public Works!

It’s Public Works week May 21-27, and that means around the state, cities and residents are celebrating all the things you do to keep our cities functioning. We at the League of Minnesota Cities would like to thank you once again for taking care of our streets, sidewalks, water, wastewater, and parks. Thank you for keeping our cities running smoothly day in and day out. We appreciate you!

Friday, May 12, 2023

Mandated reporter training for youth recreation employees

As you may be aware, effective June 1, 2023, Minnesota law requires mandatory reporting by youth recreation program employees 18 years old or older who suspect abuse of a child. To help you with compliance, we have provided you with related FAQs and a link to the free on-line training for your workers:

We have a new webpage ready to help with your mandated reporter training questions for youth programs:

Submitted by: LMCIT Loss Control

Friday, April 28, 2023

Participate in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls May 1-5

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), with support from the National Safety Council (NSC) and the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) loss control staff, is asking employers to take time during the 2023 National Safety Stand-down May 1-5 to discuss fall protection and safety when working from heights.

In 2022, fall-related injuries were the No. 1 specific cause of injury among public works employees, according to LMC loss data. There were 395 fall-related claims reported that year. As of this writing, there have been 226 reported falls among your colleagues in 2023 thus far.

The National Safety Stand-Down toPrevent Falls often focuses on construction. But let’s face it, falls occur in every industry. In fact, falls occur within every department of the city. We often think about falls from a ladder, but how about falls while exiting equipment or falls into a trench or excavation? I recently had the opportunity to work with a city that had a close call when an employee nearly fell into a wet well while changing a lift station pump. Together, we conducted a job hazard analysis (JHA) to reduce that hazard!

What is the National Safety Stand-down?

The program was originally a two-year effort, launched on Workers Memorial Day in 2012, to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards, specifically in construction. It was so successful that it is now an annual campaign at the start of every construction season in May. Tens of thousands of employers and millions of workers have participated.

It's Easy to Conduct a Stand-down

A safety stand-down can be a one-time event, or it can incorporate fall-safety events throughout the week. Public works directors are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their group: 

OSHA offers handouts, posters, quizzes, fact sheets, stickers, T-shirts, and more. OSHA also posts a list of stand-down events being held across the country.

All Industries Can Conduct a Stand-down

Falls can happen in any industry that involves working from height. NSC and OSHA encourage workers in all industries to conduct a stand-down. No company is too small to participate; roughly half of events nationwide are held by companies with 25 or fewer employees.

Need Additional Assistance? 

Contact your LMC loss control consultant. We’re here to help! We can assist with additional training materials, resources, and advice.

Meanwhile, please work safely — a lot of people depend on you.


Submitted by:  Marc Dunker, Loss Control Consultant

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Tips to follow in the immediate aftermath of a flood

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

As flood waters decrease, many dangers are left behind. Homes, buildings, possessions, and roadways may be destroyed, and flood waters are often contaminated with things that could be detrimental to health and safety.

The following are helpful tips on what to do after a flood. Some of this may sound familiar if you have been following our previous blogs, “Be prepared for spring flooding” and “Be prepared for spring flooding – part2”), but it is 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 declared it 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 downed power lines.
  • Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded. Pay attention to road closures 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 that is surrounded by flood waters.
  • Record details of damage. Before removing any water or making repairs, document the damage for your insurer by taking photos and/or videos.
  • Report damage to your insurance. Notify your insurer as soon as possible; they will need to know the state of your property 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 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 tap water until authorities say it is safe. Drink bottled water if it was not contaminated by flood water. Throw away any food that may have come into contact with flood water.

Submitted by: LMCIT Loss Control

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Be prepared for spring flooding - part 2

Last week we discussed how to prepare for spring flooding and things your flood response plan should address (read “Be prepared for spring flooding — part 1”). Now let’s talk about safety considerations during a flood: 

Floodwater Facts:  

  • Six inches of water can reach the bottom of most cars, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Attempting to walk through moving water can knock you off your feet as well. 
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles. 
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. 
  •  Floodwater poses a drowning risk. Do not attempt to walk, swim, or drive through flooded waters. Avoid areas that are already flooded. Seek higher ground. Even if the water appears shallow, it is difficult to know the condition of the road beneath it, which may be broken up or washed away. If the road is flooded, find another route. 
  • It could save your life. 
  • Never ignore signs and barriers that warn of flooded and dangerous roads. 
  • If floodwaters start rising around your car, abandon the car and get to higher ground. 
  • Be especially careful when driving at night as flooding is more difficult to recognize. 
  • Floodwater may be carrying debris that could injure you. 
  • Keep children away from floodwater. Prevent them from playing near or in drainage outlets and storm water retention basins. 
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Stay away from power lines that are down. 

Safety Tips for Filling, Moving and Placing Sandbags 

Sandbagging is extremely hard work and requires heavy lifting. First and foremost, your safety is the most important thing. Do not be involved in the filling or handling of sandbags if you have any medical conditions that could be exacerbated by this work. If you are not feeling well, seek medical attention immediately. 

Wear proper clothing and personal protective equipment. Depending on the conditions and your task, you may need to wear safety glasses, closed toe and heel shoes, work gloves, and proper head gear, plus reflective gear if working at night. 

Always stretch before lifting and use proper lifting techniques. Keep the lift between knee and waist height. Do not reach out, bend over, or twist when lifting. Lift with your legs, not your back. Be aware of your physical condition and limitations. 

Filling sandbags is a two-person task. One person should hold the sandbag and while the other shovels and releases sand into the bag. Sandbags should be filled one-half to two-thirds full.

  • When holding the bag, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and put one foot forward in a power stance, with knees slightly bent. 
  • When shoveling, keep your feet wide apart with the front foot close to shovel. Bend your knees —not your back — to scoop the sand. Keep the shovel close to your body. Do not twist your body, instead turn your feet when putting sand into the bag. 

When moving and placing sandbags, carry the bag in front of you at waist height and close to your body. When passing, do not throw the bags. 

Be aware of your surroundings. There will be multiple tasks going on once. Watch for heavy equipment. Check the ground conditions. Watch for other people. 

Avoid touching your eyes and mouth. There may be bacteria in the sand, floodwater, and other materials. Always wash your hands before eating and drinking. 

Take frequent breaks and rotate positions. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. 

Here are some helpful resources: 

Check back next week to read about what to do after a flood.

Submitted by:  LMCIT Loss Control

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Be prepared for spring flooding

Photo courtesy of CBS Minnesota 3/9/2023
With all the snow we received this year, it comes as no surprise that there is a strong potential for flooding this spring. With warmer weather, longer days, and a variety of weather conditions that can result in heavy rain, flooding can be expected. Are you prepared?

While we typically do not see the same flash floods or dam failures as other states, Minnesota does have a history of flooding. Cities should have an established flood emergency response plan to minimize the potential impact to life and property. As with any plan, it should be “exercised” (even if it is just a desktop review) and updated as needed. Is your plan current?

The National Weather Service offers real-time river observation data across the United States. Monitoring water levels allows cities to determine the likelihood of flooding and enables prompt and accurate emergency flood response.

Another resource is, which offers a variety of assessment tools, including a free hypothetical flood risk scenarios guide that can assist companies to better protect against financial losses due to flooding.

Does your city have a flood response plan?

Here are some things your flood response plan should address or consider:

  1. Does the plan assess the risk potential in your area? If your city has experienced a lot of development, risk potential has likely changed as new drainage ditches may have been created, less area for ground saturation is available, and additional surface runoff has been created.
  2. Is your plan up to date and are employees familiar with it?
  3. Are any important documents, servers, etc. stored in the basement or at ground level? Be sure to review backup procedures.
  4. Update employee contact lists with alternate contact information in the event evacuation is necessary. Remember: Contact lists and your recovery plan are of little use if all copies are kept in a location that is subject to flooding.
  5. If evacuation is necessary, assign trained personnel to secure the premises and equipment (such as sandbagging and/or extending regulator vents and relief stacks above the level of anticipated flooding, as appropriate).
  6. Continuously monitor the flood through various media outlets and weather tracking.
  7. Does the plan include procedures to request that gas and electric services are turned off?
  8. Communicate imminent flood status updates to supervisory personnel.
  9. Deploy personnel so they will be in position to take emergency actions, such as shutdown, isolation, or containment in the event of emergency.
  10. Ensure clean-up equipment is available, adequate, and ample. If clean-up will be done by employees, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be required. OSHA requires PPE for cleanup operations if a water source is contaminated with sewage, chemicals, or other biological pollutants.
  11. Does your plan consider obtaining portable pumps and hoses from local suppliers?
  12. Unplug all electrical devices.
  13. If applicable, identify, contract, and communicate with water damage specialist(s).
  14. If applicable, determine if flooding can expose or undermine pipelines as erosion or scouring could have resulted.
  15. If applicable, coordinate with emergency and spill responders on pipeline location(s) and condition, and provide maps and other relevant information to them.
  16. If applicable, advise the State Pipeline Safety Office (for intrastate lines), or RSPA's Regional Pipeline Safety Office (interstate lines) prior to returning pipelines to service, increasing the operating pressure, or otherwise changing the operating status of the line.

Another great resource during any natural disaster is MnWARN. MnWARN it is a formal emergency response program consisting of a mutual aid agreement which provides emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, and materials if your water, wastewater, or storm water utilities are damaged due to any natural disaster, including a flood.

Stay tuned next week for considerations to follow during a flood and sandbag safety tips.

Submitted by: LMCIT Loss Control

Additional Resources