Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Financial Assistance for Safety Related Projects that Reduce Employee Risk for Injury

Did you know there is a Safety Grant Program through the MN Department of Workplace Safety Consultation?
The Safety Grant Program awards funds, with a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10,000, to qualifying employers for projects designed to reduce the risk of injury or illness to their employees.
Cities may apply for the grant by each city department if they wish. This way, each department can try to obtain equipment and/or training that is specific to improving safety in their own department.
Grant money can be used for:
  • All or part of the cost of purchasing and/or installing recommended safety equipment;
  • The cost of operating or maintaining such equipment;
  • The cost of property, if the property is necessary to meet the safety inspection recommendations;
  • The cost of training tied to equipment; and
  • Tuition reimbursement
To apply for the grant, you must:
  • Have workers’ compensation insurance
  • Be an employer with at least one employee
  • Have an on-site safety survey completed which results in recommended equipment or practices that will reduce the risk of injury or illness to employees
LMCIT Loss Control finds that many cities are having success in getting their grant application approved by having their internal Safety Committee conduct the on-site survey and make recommendations for improvement. However, there are other people that can conduct the survey for you (this is outlined on the website and in the application).
If you have an interest in applying for the Safety Grant, you should:
  • Complete and send an application to Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) - applications can be written or completed online
  • If additional information is needed, the employer will be notified.
  • Applications are accepted continuously, and grants are awarded monthly.
  • WSC reviews the applications; the WSC director recommends approval or denial.
If recommended for approval, the employer will receive contracts in the mail for signature.
The signed contracts are sent back to WSC for the commissioner’s signature. Upon receipt of the fully executed contract, signed by the commissioner, the application is approved and the contract is effective. (Note: Do not purchase equipment or provide training prior to the commissioner signing the contract or those items will be voided from the contract.)
Information, applications and other useful forms for the Safety Grant Program can be obtained at the following link: Safety Grant Program
Back in 1993, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry started this program to assist employers in making their workplaces safer and healthier.  Since budgets are tight, some cities are struggling to get the safety equipment and tools that are needed.  This grant program can help with that, and many Minnesota cities are making use of it.
Grant money is possible as the result of funds that are deposited in the Safety Grant account from fines levied against employers.  As such, the amount of grant money available can fluctuate over time.  The number of grants awarded varies depending on available funding, but can range from 150 to more than 200 grants awarded each year.

by Jackie Torgerson

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Trash talking" from the City of Burnsville

The City of Burnsville has a lot of trash barrels in their park system. In fact, they have 442 barrels that need changing on a regular basis during the season! To reduce the risk of manually lifting these barrels the City obtained a new garbage truck built by Wayne Engineering. The new truck is capable of handling a Perkins dump system so the City elected to go with that option to eliminate the risk of manually handling the barrels. The Perkins barrel grabber/cart tipper (model D-6098-27K) lifts 55gal drums and regular trash carts. According to Tom Busse at the City, "It has been working very well for us." The local dealer the City engaged is ABM Equipment and Supply Co. in Hopkins (Bill Dietrich PH# 952-938-5085). Thanks to Tom Busse, Fleet Superintendent at the City of Burnsville, for sharing this information. Tom can be reached at 
by Matt Columbus

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

West St. Paul features manhole cover lifter

Everyone knows lifting manhole covers can be a risky job. Many cities have purchased a Big’s Easy Lift with a magnet or a long-handled extractor to get away from the old “pick and maul” method.

But one City did something very unique. With a little engineering know-how and a lot of ingenuity, the City of West St. Paul built their own truck-mounted manhole cover lifter!

This innovative system uses their existing snowplow rig on a pickup truck with a fabricated arm that quickly attaches to the rig.

With a combination of mirrors and a spotter, manhole covers are lifted with almost zero manual effort (only what it takes to crank the magnet locked).
 Thanks to Mike Salmanowicz, Street & Utility Superintendent at West St. Paul, for sharing this information. Mike can be contacted at