Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mowers-“To Replace or Not”

Many cities are stretching their budgets by holding onto equipment longer these days. While this may be prudent, and even necessary, maintaining safe equipment also needs to be a consideration. If the city decides to buy a new mower, this is a good time to include new and improved safety items.
Either way, remember to restore, or consider upgrading safety features that can affect the operator, mechanic, and general public.
Staying with the old:
Safety and Ergonomic Considerations-
  • Is the seat still supportive? Can it be replaced or upgraded?
  • Are the muffler, anti-vibration padding, and anti-slip steps working as originally designed, or do they need replacing?
  • Are wheel hubs, critical steering linkage, tires, and related items structurally sound?
  • Are the discharge shuts, deflectors, and guards in place and functioning?
Going with the new:
  • Safety and Ergonomic Considerations-
  • Is an adjustable or premium seat upgrade available?
  • Do controls and foot pads have anti-vibration qualities?
  • How easy is it to change attachments?
  • How easy is it to remove the cab?
  • Is the mower designed to operate on surfaces the city has to deal with including: hills, ditches, wet areas, etc.?
  • How are blades changed? Does the deck lift-up or roll-out?
Employees spend a considerable amount of time on these mowers, ensuring that all safety and comfort features are working for them can make a big difference over the long run.
by Joe Ingebrand

Evaluations and comments referenced herein are provided for loss control purposes only in conjunction with the LMCIT insurance program. They are not made for the purpose of complying with the requirements of any law, rule or regulation. We do not infer or imply in the making of these evaluations and comments that all material facts were reviewed or that all possible hazards were noted. The final responsibility for conducting safety, loss control and risk management programs must rest with the insured.
© Berkley Risk Administrators Company, LLC

Monday, May 20, 2013

Skid-Steer Safety

As cities look for ways to improve efficiencies, and reduce sprain and strain injuries associated with manual material handling, a skid-steer is one piece of equipment they often turn to.  But as with any equipment operation safety needs to be paramount. And while OSHA does not have a specific standard on skid-steers, employers have received citations for a serious violation under the General Duty Clause of the OSHA Standard (Section 5(a)(1)).

OSHA Citations related to Skid-Steers:
  • Improper employee training on the safety features associated with the skid-steer loader
  • Disabling of the interlock control system caused it to not function properly.
  • Backup alarms did not function properly.
  • Seatbelts had been removed from the skid-steer loaders.
  • Failure to use an approved lift arm to support device during servicing.
  • Not properly maintaining the skid-steer loader according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Employees intentionally bypassing of the safety systems of the skid-steer loader.
Skid-Steer General Safety Practices:
  • Always read and understand the operator's manual before using the piece of equipment.
  • Always lower the bucket or attachment so that it is flat on the ground.
  • Do not attempt to activate the skid-steer loader’s controls from outside the operator's compartment.
  • Do not leave the operator's seat while the engine is on. Never attempt to activate the controls unless properly seated with the seatbelt fastened and the seat bar (if equipped) lowered.
  • Keep all body parts inside the cab while operating a skid-steer loader.
  • Never modify, bypass, disable, or override safety systems.
  • Never permit riders on the skid-steer loader, in the bucket or attachment, or in the operator's compartment unless the compartment is designed to accommodate a second rider.
  • Establish a routine maintenance and inspection program in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, and use approved lift arm support device.
  • Train personnel on the proper inspection, use, maintenance, and repair of skid-steer loaders.

Getting On/Off Equipment:
§  Use three points of contact when getting in and out of skid steer. If using snow bucket or other large attachments, consider a side step for getting in and out of unit.

By Joe Ingebrand

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Flushing out resources!

Do you recall a time when you felt foolish for not using something that made your work life so much easier? Then you tried it and wondered why in the world you didn’t use it sooner? Well…. this may be another one of those opportunities for you.
I was a speaker at a Rural Water training event and boy I wish I could have had on film a conversation that took place so I could share it with you here- the video would have said it all but the conversation was not caught on tape. What you would have seen is one Public Works Director’s shock and amazement that everyone else in the room was not utilizing the documents and resources available to them in LMCIT’s Sanitary Sewer Toolkit. It saved him numerous hours of time and was essentially a "plug and play" program for his city.
You can find links to all the helpful documents and guides at the following web address: LMCIT Sewer Tool Kit .

What’s your opinion of the tools available there?
by Andy Miller

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

City Employee Injured After Fall

"A City of Watertown, SD, employee is in intensive care after falling off a piece of city equipment last week. The employee fell off a street sweeper on April 2, 2013 and fractured his skull. Initially, he was conscious and responsive, but due to the severe trauma, he was air-lifted to Avera Mckennan Hospital in Sioux Falls." (The Public Opinion .Com, Watertown, South Dakota)
(3-point contact)

(Portable steps)

No matter what type of equipment employees are operating, safety precautions need to be taken when it comes to climbing in and out of the equipment, or performing maintenance activities on the equipment.
(Built in steps)

 Three-Point Contact Every Time

  • Keeps steps and standing surfaces free of snow, mud and debris.
  • Wear shoes with good support and tread.
  • Exit and enter facing the cab.
  • Slow down and use extra caution in bad weather.
  • Get a firm grip on rails or handles with your hands.
  • Look for obstacles on the ground below before exiting.
  • Don't climb down with something in your free hand. Put it on the vehicle floor and reach up for it when you get down on the ground.
  • Don't rush to climb out after a long run. Descend slowly, to avoid straining a muscle.
  • Never jump! You may land off balance, on an uneven surface and fall.
  • Don't use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
  • Don't use the doorframe or door edge as a handhold.
  • Don't get complacent and become an injury statistic!