Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trash and Garbage Collection in Winter

In some cities collecting garbage is a very simple task because the city has the public trained to make it that way. In others cities it is quite the opposite. Winter can make this simple task a much more difficult one in both cases if your public education and your policies on work practices let it.
Some things I would like you to consider are as follows:
  1. Do you require bags or barrels of standard size only and dumpsters of a specific type (rear cable, front load) only?

  2. Do you require specific placement of receptacles, cans and bins (i.e on a hard surface, curbside, facing the street, etc.)? Does this change in snow conditions?

  3. Do you manually handle any receptacles and cans? How do you get the public to help with the placement of the receptacle in winter conditions?

  4. What winter conditions prompt you to utilize a refusal to pick-up notice?

  5. Do you have a snow policy that delays pick-up by a day to allow for snow removal first?

  6. How are you informing the public of all of these items above?
What’s your city’s policy? Let us know.
By Andy Miller

Friday, December 14, 2012


Did you know that the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) Loss Control now produces webinars on topics that are timely and important for Public Works employees?  You can attend these interactive webinars live on the date and time they are produced.  You can also go to the LMC website and view these webinars at any time it is convenient for you and your colleagues.   Check out  for the first few offerings. 
While you are there search for other valuable loss control information and watch for notices of future webinars.  Join other Public Works employees around the state for interactive polling and learn from content using photographs of actual Public Works environments and operations.  Submit questions for the Loss Control specialist to answer during the webinar or send us your questions on a topic ahead of time.  We’ll be sure it gets addressed.  Head to the website now to view:
1.    Find it and Fix it…Getting Started on Mock OSHA Inspections
2.    In the Drivers Seat: Beating Driver Fatigue
3.    Developing an Effective Playground Safety Program

What topics would you like to see covered in a webinar format? 
by Cheryl Brennan

Friday, December 7, 2012

 “How to Beat the Cold While Working Outdoors in Minnesota”

Staying warm and safe while on the job can become a challenge at times.  This is especially true when a great deal of the public works job tasks are done outdoors. When temperatures drop the risk of a cold-related illness increases.

To prevent cold weather exposures, you should consider the Top 10 Cold Weather Precautions:

1.    Have sufficient clothing, including face/head protection, gloves and footwear.  Loose multi-layered clothing provides the best protection, because air trapped between layers of clothing provides an additional thermal insulation.

2.    Drink plenty of fluids, preferably warm sweet beverages.  Cold weather suppresses thirst, and dehydration can occur without proper fluid intake.

3.    Increase caloric intake.  Working in heavy protective clothing expends more heat, so 10-15% more calories are required.

4.    Take periodic breaks as wind velocity increases or the temperature drops.

5.    Avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and medications that inhibit the body’s response to cold or impair judgment.

6.    Avoid the cold if you are becoming exhausted or immobilized, conditions that can accelerate the effects of cold weather.

7.    Shield work areas from drafty or windy conditions.  Seek a heated shelter if you have prolonged exposure to a wind chill of 20 degrees or less.

8.    Work during the warmest hours of the day and minimize activities that decrease circulation.

9.    Learn the symptoms of cold-related stresses:  heavy shivering, uncomfortable coldness, severe fatigue, drowsiness and euphoria.

10.  Work in pairs so partners can monitor one another and obtain help quickly in an emergency.

The best protection against cold-related health risks is to be aware and prepared.  Are your employees trained in this area?  If not, we hope that you consider doing so.

Most often, cold-related illnesses are preventable conditions, but if left untreated, could have significant consequences, including death.  Major disorders related to cold exposure include:

Hypothermia:  This occurs when the body temperature drops due to excessive loss of body heat.  It can be fatal unless the person is moved to a warm shelter and receives timely medical attention.  Many times, a person who is suffering from hypothermia is unable to recognize their own signs and symptoms of hypothermia, and their treatment and survival is dependent on a co-worker’s ability to help them.  Using a “buddy system” is a great way to help detect signs of cold injury in co-workers.

Frostbite: This condition occurs when body parts are frozen due to exposure to severe cold or by contact with extremely cold objects (such as metal).  It most often afftcts the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes due to their poor blood supply.  Frostbite can cause permanent damage, and the most severe cases can result in amputation. 


By Jackie Torgerson