Friday, February 14, 2020

Coronavirus Awareness

The Coronavirus has been a big topic in the current news and your City should be aware of the emerging risk. The Minnesota Department of Health has information about 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The general health and wellness of employees is important. Further, first responders have a higher risk of exposure, if exposed this may create workers compensation risks. More information on the risks can be found in this article by Seyfarth, Coronavirus:Employer Liability Issues.

Although, there have not been any cases in Minnesota, Cities should be prepared. Additional information on preparedness and response can be found in this report by Marsh, Outbreaks, Epidemics and Pandemics: Preparednessand Response Strategies.

Cities should be aware of any updates with the Coronavirus. Guy Carpenter created a current Pandemic Coronavirus Update.

In addition, the Insurance Journal spoke on what the Coronavirus means for the insurance industry. The video can be viewed here, theCoronavirus and Its Impact on the Insurance Industry.

Submitted by: Kate Connell, Loss Control Consultant

Thursday, February 6, 2020

What Training is Required Again?

It’s a new year! Are you getting all your required annual training?

A lack of proper safety training attributes to accidents and deaths each year. It’s not just a good idea, it’s required that city personnel be trained. Safety training is essential for maintaining compliance with regulations, keeping workers’ compensation costs down, and most importantly, keeping your most valuable resource, your employees, safe and healthy.

We know it’s hard to stay current with state and federal regulations, so we did it for you. Here is a Safety Training Table to help guide you in your required training.

How can we receive this required annual training?

If you are part of the League of Minnesota Insurance Trust (LMCIT) Regional Safety Group (RSG), your RSG Coordinator can help to ensure compliance and proper training is being met. Safety training companies, community colleges, and Minnesota Safety Council are good resources for safety training.

Another 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 60 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.

Need a supplement to your training or a quick refresher to your safety meetings? New this year, we have 342 streaming safety videos through CoastalFlix . This is available free of charge to all League members and replaces our DVD library.

Submitted by: Julie Jelen, Loss Control Consultant

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Aerial Lifts and OSHA Grants

Holiday decorations, light pole banners, and flags are all operations that most municipalities deal with on an annual basis. Working at elevated heights adds a risk and safety considerations to the day-to-day operation.

When you are working above ground level how are you completing these tasks? Are you using a ground ladder, bucket truck, contractors, or something unsafe? Hopefully it’s not the last one. What about vehicle traffic control and/or pedestrian traffic?

The City of Victoria has changed their approach to these tasks in the last few years moving from ground ladders, a borrowed/rented bucket truck, to aerial lifts.

Victoria evaluated their operations in their thriving downtown and other locations that require scheduled elevated work. The City was able to use ladders for most of their downtown area as they installed Holiday decorations, flags multiple times a year, and replaced pole banners multiple times are year. Utilizing the ladder was a good practice but added an ergonomic risk. When the ladder wasn’t an option, they were able to rent a bucket truck from other municipalities, but that depended on scheduling, availability, and where it would work. The bucket truck didn’t always fit into tight areas and added a traffic control consideration.

Victoria looked at many options but decided to look at Skid-Lift as their option. The City of Victoria also utilized the Minnesota OSHASafety Grant Program to help with this purchase. Minimizing the use of traffic lanes and improving employee safety are all considerations when evaluating their needs. 

Attached are a few photos of Victoria’s old ladder operation, and after Victoria was awarded the Safety Grant to purchase the Skid-Lift for Holiday Decorations:

City of Victoria
City of Victoria
City of Victoria

Submitted by: Troy T. Walsh, Loss Control Consultant

Monday, December 23, 2019

Is Your City Ready for the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Act?

In December 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule creating the National Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to maintain all drug and alcohol program violations in a central data base. The final rule goes into effect January 6, 2020.

Employers are required to query the system to determine if current or to-be-hired employees have a violation that would preclude them from performing functions covered by DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. Employers will also have to report drug and alcohol violations to the clearinghouse. Employees will be able to view driving records and provide consent to current or prospective employers to gain access to information on violations.

FMCSA Clearinghouse
The League offers a webinar that will take you through the key components of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act and the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, helping you understand what your city will need to do to use and submit information.

Submitted by:  Julie Jelen, Loss Control Consultant

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

Submitted by: LMCIT Loss Control

Monday, November 18, 2019

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Updates


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 2022. Not 2020 like originally designed.
  • 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:

Submitted by: Troy T. 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?
  • Residents
  • Are non-residents allowed to?
  • Are commercial users allowed to? If so, is there a fee?

When is the compost site open/close?
  • Only for staffed hours or
  • 24/7, need a key?
  • Certain days that it is closed?

What are acceptable items at the compost site?
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Brush/Logs
  • Christmas tress

If the City’s compost site is only open during staffed hours, are there requirements to enter the compost site?
  • Registering with the staff
  • Driver’s License
  • Permit

Is there a cost to use the compost site?

What other rules should users be aware of?
  • No plastic bags left on site
  • No yard waste left outside facility
  • No chain saws or wood splitters
  • No stumps


Submitted by: Kate Connell, Loss Control Consultant