Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hot Fun In The Summer Time! Free Webinar

Summer is here!—which means that municipalities need to begin preparing their pools and aquatic facilities for kids and families who will soon be trying to escape the heat. While swimming pools can be relaxing, great exercise, and a lot of fun, they can also cause a significant amount of trouble if not cared for properly. Performing routine inspections of your aquatic facilities can help keep your citizens safe and decrease your city’s potential for claims.
Participate in this live webinar to:
  • Learn about the rules and regulations as enforced by the Minnesota Department of Health – Minnesota Pool Code
  • Discover the primary areas of liability with public pools and aquatic facilities (including slips/falls, drowning, and electrocution)
  • Find out about some common pool and aquatic facility exposures, including: unprotected drains, poorly installed/maintained electrical equipment, inadequate warnings, lack of fencing, lack of emergency equipment, slippery surfaces, and improper design
  • Learn about exposure controls and how to protect your city from pool-related claims
  • Understand the importance of inspections and receive a safety checklist to ensure you have everything in place
  • Get your questions answered. (Submit questions to lmcwebinar@lmc.org.)

  • Jackie Torgerson, Sr. Loss Control Consultant, League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust

Monday, April 29, 2013

How'd They Do That?

The City of Ely built these special drum dollies so they could ealily transport used oil around the shop. They cut the base off of a plastic drum and installed handles on the sides for easier lifting. The drum dolly has a handle welded to it so that the employee can move (by pushing or pulling) them around in an upright position. The handle also folds down so they can be positioned under the vehciles while remaining on the dolly.

By Jackie Torgerson

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

“Hand Injuries: Protecting Your Valuable Tools”

Have you asked yourself what it would be like to lose a finger, a thumb or a hand?  Your hands are one of the most valuable “tools” that you use (both on the job and off), and injuries to the hands and fingers can make everyday tasks very difficult or even impossible. 
There is no standard for hand injury prevention, but hand protection is addressed in OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1910.138 which relates to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  It states, “Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees' hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.”  OSHA’s General Duty Clause would also apply to situations that may cause injury to the hands.  The General Duty Clause states, “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."

Coming up with a list of situations that could cause hand injuries can be difficult, but following these basic steps will help keep hands safe.  They include:
  1. Be aware of and respect the potential hazards on the job, which includes knowing the possible dangers to your hands
    • Pinch points
    • Temperature extremes
    • Sharp objects
    • Rotating or moving parts
    • Toxic or corrosive chemicals
    • Insect bites and stings
    • Electrical burns or shock
    • Excessive force or repetition
    • Vibrating equipment
  2. Focus your attention on the task you are doing and don’t let your attention wander
  3. Be familiar with your PPE policy and use the correct gloves and safety equipment provided
  4. Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry while operating tools and machinery
  5. When working with chemicals, consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
  6. Ensure that proper guards are in place on tools and machinery
  7. When using knives, cut away from you and use a retractable blade if possible
  8. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of disease and infection
  9. Keep in touch with safety by following safe work practices such as good housekeeping and using the right tools or PPE in the correct manner for the job
Before assuming that PPE is needed to control an identified hazard, you should investigate possible engineering and work practice controls to remove or isolate the hazards.  With engineering controls, it is possible to physically change the machine or work environment to prevent exposure to hazards altogether.  If engineering or work practice controls are not feasible or cannot eliminate or adequately control potential hazards, then you may need to look at PPE.  The most common PPE for hand protection is gloves.  Of course there are many types of gloves on the market, so it is important to select one with performance characteristics needed in relation to the task being performed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 250,000 serious injuries to fingers, hands, and wrists every year.  It is believed that as much as 90% of hand injuries are caused by human error.  Distractions, stress, exhaustion and overexertion can sometimes lead to unsafe work practices that may cause hand injuries.  The first step you need to take to prevent hand injuries from happening is to be aware of and respect the potential hazards on the job.
Remember that it’s very important to control or provide good protection from hazards that present a threat to hands and fingers, because it only takes a split second for a life-changing event to occur.
By Jackie Torgerson

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How'd They Do That? Creative solutions from Public Works employees

By Joe Ingebrand: 

There are lots of creative safety solutions we see on our field site visits.  I thought I'd share a couple with you in this blog.  Both of these are ergonomic interventions designed to minimize lifting, bending and reaching.  If you've got something you'd  like to share contact your Loss Control Consultant (see our profiles) and we'll get it posted for others to see.  The more we share these kinds of ideas the safer our Public Works employees will be on the job. 

Wastewater aerator cover lifted with electric winch.

The Pine River Area Sanitary District installed an electric winch to lift the heavy insulated hinged cover on an aerator used in their waste water treatment operation.


Zamboni cutting edge lifter

The City of Fergus Falls uses a floor jack adapted to remove and reinstall the cutting edge ice scrapper for the Zamboni.

They attached a jig, which holds the cutting edge, allowing the employee to remove fasteners and replace the cutting edge blade.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Climb on Board with Ladder Safety.

ANSI and OSHA Have Ladder Inspection Requirements

OSHA has separate regulations for portable wood ladders and portable metal ladders.
According to ANSI A14.1-2000, a ladder should be thoroughly inspected each time it is used. Rungs should be firm and unbroken, braces fastened securely, and ropes, pulleys and other moving parts in good working order. If an inspection reveals damage, the ladder should be repaired. If repairs are not feasible, the defective ladder should be taken out of service. To ensure that ladders are being inspected, ladder tags should be filled out and attached to the ladder.  Here’s what you need to know:

Portable Wood Ladders  29 CFR 1910.25
 Portable wood ladders addresses wood ladders including construction, care and usage.  Wood ladders should be constructed of a high-density wood that is free of sharp edges and splinters.  Visual inspection should reveal no decay, or irregularities including shake, wane and compression failures or other weaknesses.  Construction requirements include ladder length restrictions and step spacing where uniform step spacing must not exceed 12".
Care and usage requirements ensure the serviceability and safety of portable wood ladders. Ladders should be maintained in good condition by keeping all joints tight; lubricating all wheels, locks and pulleys; replacing worn rope; and routine cleaning. Those that are defective must be destroyed or withdrawn from service.

Portable Metal Ladders  29 CFR 1910.26
Portable metal ladders addresses metal ladders, and is divided into general requirements, and care and maintenance. The general requirements call for ladders that are free of sharp edges and are structurally sound. Metal ladders must have rungs that are knurled, dimpled or treated to improve slip resistance.
Proper care and maintenance of portable metal ladders extends ladder life and improves user safety. If a ladder tips over, it must be inspected for damage (bends or dents, loose rivets or joints, etc.) and if defective, must be marked and taken out of service for repair. Ladders must be kept clean so they do not become slippery.

Fiberglass Ladders
OSHA does not address fiberglass ladders. ANSI has guidelines for choosing fiberglass ladders.
Ladders must be marked with ladder size, type, maximum length, number of sections (if appropriate), highest standing level, total length of sections (if applicable), model number, manufacturer's name, manufacturer's location, and date of manufacture. Usage guidelines and other warning statements must also be placed on the ladders in specific locations depending on ladder type.

What are you doing to make your ladder inspections count?

By Andy Miller