Friday, December 16, 2016

Vacant and Infrequently Used Buildings: Things you should watch out for!


It’s not uncommon for cities to end up with vacant buildings. Sometimes they pick them up due to foreclosure with plans to do something to them, or the property that they reside on, and other times they build newer facilities and are unable to sell or find another use for the older ones. Whatever the reasoning for the city owning them, these vacant properties do come with their own unique set of challenges as far as keeping them secure and maintained. Infrequently used buildings, such as fire halls and community centers that can go days between use, will also contain many of these challenges. 

Trespass
The first of the unique hazards present in vacant and infrequently used buildings can be caused by individuals trespassing on the property. Many vacant properties, due to their very nature of being unused buildings, contain hazards that would be unacceptable in a building that is in use. These hazards could be things such as loose or missing floorboards, missing steps, poor wiring, and exposed insulation. All of these could cause risk of injury to someone trespassing who is unfamiliar with the property and doesn’t know to avoid them.
Did you know that the city could still be held liable if someone injures themselves while trespassing on city property? That is why it is important to make sure that all vacant buildings are property secured. This means ensuring that all doors and windows are locked and in good repair. Any broken doors or windows should be boarded up. Each entrance should also have a “No Trespassing” sign or something similar to warn potential trespassers that the property is unsafe for them to enter.
 
Fire
Due to a lack of regular attention and maintenance, as well as the risk of intruders breaking in and starting one, vacant buildings are at a higher risk of fire. Further increasing the risk should one occur, is that many do not have operational sprinkler systems, even if one is installed.
To save on utility costs, many vacant buildings have the power and gas turned off. If the building is not heated, then the water should also be turned off and the sprinkler system (if present) should be drained as well to prevent frozen pipes from bursting. This leads to a decrease in controls should a fire break out, but may be considered a necessity as maintaining utility systems for a building that isn’t being used can be costly and time consuming. It is something that each individual city will need to weigh the risks for and decide what they feel comfortable with.
If the city wishes to keep the sprinkler system operational, the building should remain heated, and regular inspections of the system should occur as they would for any other building.


Infrequently used buildings
Infrequently used buildings, such as community centers or fire halls, that may be used as little as once a week or less can often times run these risks of trespass and fire as well. Though they most likely will not also suffer from the same maintenance issues as a vacant building may have, they do have these risks due to their infrequent use. With individuals not frequenting the buildings on a daily basis, a fire hazard is more likely to not be corrected as no one is there to notice it, and when people are in the building, they are usually just there for a meeting, event, etc. and then on their way without inspecting the entirety of the building. If these infrequently used buildings are also not monitored between uses, they also run the risk of trespass as they are typically well maintained buildings that people know they can get into and use without being noticed.


What Can You Do?
The best practice for vacant and infrequently used buildings is to implement a regular inspection schedule to ensure that no conditions exist which could lead to fires or individuals easily being able to gain access to the building.

Regular inspections of the building should include:
·         Inspection of roof for leaks and stability (check roof in spring and fall, as well as after any severe winter event)
·         Look for new holes or loose boards in flooring and mark them appropriately so others less familiar with the building know that they are there
·         Check to make sure any operational utility systems such as boilers are in proper working condition
·         Premise is free of insect or vermin infestations
·         Exterior walls are still structurally sound
·         All exterior warning signs are maintained
·         All doors, windows, etc. are secured to deter trespassers
·         Sprinkler system, if operational, is following a regular inspection process (if it is not operational, or if heating is turned off, it should be drained)
·         Electrical fixtures, devices, and wiring systems maintained

Drive-by inspections should also be completed to check for tampering of locks or entry ways into the building.

 

 

By; Cody Tuttle

 
 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Part-Time Snow Plow Drivers

Smaller Cities have a limited budget. This means limited employees for certain operations which can be difficult when it comes to snow plowing season. The streets need to be plowed and the limited staff have difficulty keeping up with the snowfall.

Did you know there is an exemption to a CDL Rule for municipalities during snow operations? State Statute 171.02 subd 5 (Exemption for backup snowplow drivers) allows for part-time snow plow drivers who can plow, salt, or sand without a MN Commercial CDL License. Please be aware that hauling snow does not fall under this exemption, and the operator must have a CDL to haul snow.


Subd. 5.Exemption for certain backup snowplow drivers.

Pursuant to the waiver authorization set forth in Public Law 104-59, section 345, subsection (a), paragraph (5), a person who operates a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of removing snow or ice from a roadway by plowing, salting, or sanding is not required to hold a commercial driver's license if the person:

(1)    is an employee of a local unit of government with a population of 3,000 or less;

(2)    is operating within the boundaries of the local unit of government;

(3)    holds a valid class D driver's license; and

(4)    except in the event of a lawful strike, is temporarily replacing the employee who normally operates the vehicle but either is unable to operate the vehicle or is in need of additional assistance due to a snow emergency as determined by the local unit of government.

 
A few things you should know:
1)      Recommend following up with your City's Insurance Agent to confirm that the Part-Time employees will be covered with how your City Policy is currently written.

2)      Recommend developing a Part-Time Employee Job Description that includes "Backup" Snowplow Operators. This should include desired applicants to have a CDL, but not required for Backup Operations.

3)      Medical Health Cards are also not required for Local Governments subdivisions of the State. It is a Best Practice to have a DOT Health Card, but it is not required for city CDL use.



By: Troy Walsh




Friday, November 18, 2016

New OSHA Incident Reporting Rule and Post-Incident Drug Testing


Some of you may remember a Blog we posted in June regarding the new Federal OSHA incident reporting rule. Minnesota OSHA has yet to determine if or when it will be adopting the new recordkeeping rule, however we wanted to keep you informed of some changes taking place with the federal rule.

Federal OSHA has delayed enforcement of the new recordkeeping rule until Dec 1st as there has been some confusion regarding  post-incident drug testing of employees that was incorporated into it. The Federal rule offers employees protection against “retaliatory drug testing” from employers as a result of an employee reporting an incident. The wording of the rule however left some confused as to whether post-incident testing was allowed at all now. Federal OSHA’s latest guidance clarifies that it still allows employers to implement post-incident drug testing when there is “an objectively reasonable basis for testing”, or if the testing is unrelated to incident reporting.

Again we want to clarify that these changes will not currently affect Minnesota Cities as MN OSHA has not released its version of the new rule as of yet, but wanted to keep you updated as we had previously informed you of the federal rule change.

For more information, as well as some tips on how to properly implement a post-incident drug testing program you can visit this blog: http://new.newsedge.com/servlet/newsedge/newsedge?cmmd=readStory&key=wKsIPsAlw_XS5on0axjvh6KrNqy603RgySgIHANAygQE0eH4nvUCAQPt_NVu52xldcPwm0bzoCNd5n4NA3z-nR4txg2OJ2VvevNqZ1xi0xcQpXvHWoBORqWQ5m68Vgpw
 


By: Cody Tuttle



Friday, November 4, 2016

Exposure and blood borne pathogens in the workplace


Exposures to blood-borne pathogens (BBP) in construction have continued to increase in recent years, and OSHA issued It’s Blood borne Pathogen Standard 29CFR 1910.1030 to protect workers from diseases associated with these infectious microorganisms. These can include but are not limited to:
  • Hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C (HCV)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
 
One of the most effective ways to protect employees in the event of an incident leading to exposure, is to have a Blood Borne Pathogen Kit. These kits include essentials such as:
  • Personal Protective Apparel
  • Spill Clean-Up Provisions in Compliance with OSHA Standard 1090.1030
  • Weatherproof Outer Shell to Properly Protect Contents

OSHA definition of occupational exposure:
 “Reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other
potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.”
 
 
What to do if someone has a significant exposure to infected b (HIV/Hep) and the protocols for administering anti-viral?
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that Post Exposure Prophylaxis or PEP is a way to prevent HIV infection after a possible recent occupational exposure. It involves taking HIV medications as soon as possible within 3 days after a single high risk event to stop HIV from making copies of itself and spreading throughout human body. The sooner, the better; every hour counts.
 
 
What to do if workers exposed to the blood?
  • Report all exposures promptly to ensure that you receive appropriate follow up care.
  • Flush splashes to nose, mouth, or skin with water.
  • Wash needlesticks and cuts with soap and water.
  • Irrigate eyes with clean water, saline, or sterile wash.
 
 
Prevention of Exposure.
  • Employers must establish and educate workers about an exposure control program
  • Determination and use of engineering controls, which includes containers and self-sheathing needles for safely disposing blood-borne pathogen hazards from the workplace.
  • Observation of work practice controls.
  • Provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).
 
 
Make sure the company you work for is prepared in the event of an emergency. For more information on blood-borne pathogens, see OSHA's website at:

Friday, October 14, 2016

When are employers required to provide hearing exams?

The OSHA Hearing Conservation Program requires employers to monitor hearing for all employees whose noise exposure levels over 8 working hours average out to be at or above 85 decibels. 


OSHA rule on hearing loss:


• The occupational safety and health administration issued a final rule on July 1, 2002 that revised the criteria for recording work-related hearing loss.
• Beginning Jan. 1, 2003, employers will be required to record work-related hearing loss cases when an employee's hearing test shows a marked decrease in overall hearing. For more information please see the links at the bottom of this article.


Why it may be beneficial to provide hearing exams for employees?


• The employee would be able to communicate effectively with managers, supervisors, and co-workers without any hearing difficulties.
• Awareness that hearing impaired workers may have special needs to protect their hearing
• To prevent hearing loss.
• Referral for further evaluation as appropriate.
• The earlier you know about hearing loss, the sooner you can get medical help.
• Exposure to dangerous noise levels can cause permanent hearing loss and other health problems.
• Improve productivities.
• For the purpose of employee safety and effectiveness.
• Decrease the accident rate in work place.

The results of not testing hearing loss:

• Decreased Wellness
• Poor monitoring function
• Increase hearing loss
• Workers compensation


For more information click one of this links and you should be able to get all the information you needed.
https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/qa_deafness.cfm#_edn19).
https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib122705.html
https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3074/osha3074.html
http://www.hearingtestlabs.com/osha.htm


By: Liz Tadsse, Loss Control Representative



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Minnesota LTAP Sign Maintenance/Management and Sign Retroreflectivity Training

Minnesota LTAP is putting on this training on sign management. It will include a brief overview of sign retroreflectivity assessment and management methods, as well as guidance for developing a sign inventory and understanding how much of an impact a sign post can withstand. For more information or to register go to the MNLTAP website(http://mnltap.umn.edu/training/topic/traffic/retroreflectivity/index.html).

 

DATES AND LOCATION

The workshop is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (registration begins at 8:30 a.m.) at the specified location on each of the dates listed below.

• October 11, 2016 — Alexandria, MN
• October 18, 2016 — Brainerd, MN
• October 25, 2016 — Rochester, MN


REGISTRATION

• Register online
• Register by mail or fax: Download the registration form (864 KB PDF)
• Registration contact: College of Continuing Education, cceinfo@umn.edu, 612-625-2900
• Cost:
  • $60 – Township and tribal representatives
  • $70 – City, county, state, and federal representatives
  • $150 – All others

 


TOPICS COVERED

• How federal sign retroreflectivity regulations apply to you
• Various methods to meet these regulations
• Crashworthiness of sign posts
• Conducting various assessment and management methods on your own signs with confidence
• How to decide which method is best suited for you and your agency



By: LMCIT Loss Control


Monday, September 12, 2016

Free Webinar—Partnering for Successful Downtown Street Reconstruction Projects


You see it in your work every day: the infrastructure in our cities is aging. From streets to water and sewer to utilities, these services are crucial to residents—but maintenance and repairs can be very complex and expensive. So what is a city to do?

We have some ideas for practices and tools that can help you successfully complete these important upgrades! Join us for a free online briefing from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28. You’ll hear firsthand how one Minnesota community recently formed effective partnerships (with MnDOT and others) to complete a downtown street reconstruction project.

They will share the benefits of this project to their community, as well as the lessons they learned. You’ll also hear about options to finance these kind of upgrades and determine whether a study could help pinpoint your city’s specific needs.

To learn more and register for this free webinar, visit www.lmc.org/streetswebinar16blog

 

By: League of Minnesota Cities



Friday, September 9, 2016

Minnesota LTAP Fall Maintenance Expo


The Fall Maintenance Expo is a two day event for city, county, and state maintenance employees and supervisors focused on fall and winter transportation maintenance issues. The Event includes vendors and presenters showing new equipment and sharing useful information, as well as the annual snowplow “Roadeo”.

The Expo costs $25 and is at the St. Cloud Public Works Facility on October 5-6. Attendees are eligible for 1.0 elective credit for the Roads Scholar Program.

For more information, or to register go to the LTAP website

Or the Fall Maintenance Expo Website:


By: LMCIT Loss Control



Friday, September 2, 2016

Falls to a Lower Level


Slips, trips, and falls are consistently one of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top rated causes of workplace injury across the country. Recently MN OSHA’s Brian Zaidman published an article in the July Issue of their Safety Lines Newsletter (page 7) outlining the statistics for “falls to a lower level”.

Due to the nature of the reporting, the numbers being used are from 2014, but they show that falls to a lower level are on the rise. That means it’s time to review best practices for working from heights with everyone in your shop. Maybe list all the tasks you perform that would require someone to work from an elevated height. Some of the key safety requirements to remember when it comes to fall protection are:

·       Fall protection is required for all heights at or above 4ft from the ground. This doesn’t seem very high, but if you fall the wrong way from this height, it is still enough to break a bone or cause a serious injury.

·       Fall Protection is required when working around unprotected edges of open sided floor,  platforms, and runways greater than 4 feet above the floor or lower level.

·       Fall protection is required along the side of dangerous hazards such as vats, tanks, and dangerous equipment or similar hazard regardless of height where a worker could fall in to the hazard.

 

Another interesting breakdown from the article is the occupational groups with the highest estimated rate of injury from falls to a lower level. As you can see in Figure 3 from the article, the highest rates belong to workers who are performing: construction and extraction; transportation and material moving; and installation, maintenance and repair. These are all things where public works’ employees may find themselves involved, so be extra cautious and make sure you are being safe while working from heights.
 

If you have any questions regarding working from heights, or need assistance in finding a way to do so safely, feel free to give your Loss Control Consultant a call - they will be happy to help!


By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative

 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Preventing Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)


Recreational water facilities (pools, spas, splash pads, etc.) in several cities in the southern part of the state, as well as some in northern Iowa, have recently been closed following the discovery of Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto), a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has put together some information on things the public can do to prevent the spread of Crypto, as well as other RWIs: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/waterborne/prevention/recreational.html

Tips for all swimmers:
·         Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
·         Wash hands with soap and water after going to the restroom.
·         Shower before you get in the water.
·         Don’t swallow the water.
 
Additional Tips for parents with young children:
·         Take children on frequent bathroom breaks when swimming – waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s already too late!
·         Change diapers in changing rooms, not poolside or on the beach. Wash your hands and the child’s hands after changing diapers.

MDH has also put together a quick fact sheet for recreational water employees and what they can do to prevent contamination of Crypto and other RWIs: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/waterborne/prevention/recstafffs.html

If you discover the presence of Crypto, or any other RWI, at your facility, close it and contact the Minnesota Department of Health immediately. Patron complaints of illness may also be reported to the MDH Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-366-3455, and MDH will contact the appropriate health department for follow-up.
 

By: LMCIT Loss Control

 

 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Free Introductory OSHA Recordkeeping Training


Reporting of workplace incidents can be a timely and confusing procedure. When OSHA performs a site visit, it is something they are sure to cite if you haven’t been keeping it up to date. That’s why MN OSHA is offering a free class on October 21st – to help show you the basics. 

Details:

If you are unable to attend, MN OSHA has plans to post the training as a webinar in January 2017. 


Keep in mind that OSHA reporting is different from Workers’ Compensation claims.  There are three different forms you will want to be familiar with: OSHA 300, OSHA 300A, and OSHA 301.

·         OSHA 300 – Is a running log of all work related injuries or illnesses.
·         OSHA 300A – Is a summary of work related injuries and illnesses for the previous year and must be posted in a location visible to all employees. This form must be filled out and posted even if no recordable incidents have occurred.
·         OSHA 301 – Is the actual report for each recordable incident that occurs and should be the first form filled out following an incident.

OSHA has also put together this info packet to help guide you through these forms:


 Here are some fillable PDFs of the forms:


Remember to be diligent with your OSHA recordkeeping, it’s not just paperwork, it’s a legal requirement.


By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative

 

 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Chainsaw Safety


Minnesota has seen quite a few heavy storms and tornado warnings (that weren’t always just warnings) in recent weeks. That means we’ve also seen a lot of strong winds tearing down trees as well. Between the need to clean up and the unfortunate fact fall and winter are on their way, it’s probably a good time to freshen up on your chainsaw safety. Luckily our friends over at Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) have got you covered with their new four-part chainsaw safety videos (Note: they are on the bottom half of the linked page, the five shorter videos at the top of the page are also worth a watch though). The trainings last between 30-60 minutes, are very informative, and are well worth your time if you plan to be using a chainsaw this year.
 

By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative


Friday, July 8, 2016

Beach Safety

In Minnesota, “going to the lake” is a long-standing tradition in the summertime. Many cities have developed public water accesses into a formal swimming beaches. These areas are often a favorite spot for residents looking to take a swim. When a city owns and/or operates a swimming beach, risk management techniques need to be implemented to keep swimmers safe and minimize liability to the city.

The decision to employ lifeguards is up to the city. City liability is not automatically reduced if lifeguards are present, nor does the presence of lifeguards reduce the city’s liability insurance premium. However, if lifeguards are present and fail to enforce rules like no diving, the city’s liability may increase.

If lifeguards are employed by the city at a beach, they must be 16 or older (in contrast, the minimum age for a pool lifeguard is 15). In addition, lifeguards who are younger than 18 must be continually supervised by a lifeguard who is 18 years of age or older. Safety equipment available when a lifeguard is on duty should include the following: 

  • Sun umbrella
  • First aid kit
  • Communication (phone or radio)
  • Ring buoys or rescue tubes
  • Rescue boat
 
Some cities choose to use a beach volunteer or hire a beach attendant to supervise the beach area and report problems. Cities using a “beach attendant” still should post a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign.
 
Park personnel should inspect the beach area on a regular basis during the open season.  As with every inspection, documentation is essential to ensure that there is a record of the inspection taking place. Documenting such inspections can benefit the city by illustrating that reasonable care was exercised in maintaining the beach.  Hidden hazards may naturally exist and vandals or weather conditions may create additional hazards that need to be addressed.
 
Obstructions, drop-offs, and trip hazards can be marked with a warning sign and/or eliminated.   It is important to inspect these areas in the off-season as well to identify hazardous conditions that may become snow-covered and create a hidden hazard.  Docks, lifeguard stands and other temporary features need to be stored in the off-season safely away from snowmobile trails, sledding hills, or other recreation activities.  Also, if you have permanent docks in place, make certain that the dock is well marked in the winter to avoid any accidents with snowmobile traffic on the lakes.
 
More information on beaches/docks and water safety can be found in our Parks and Recreation Loss Control Guide at: http://lmc.org/media/document/1/parkandrecreationlosscontrolguide.pdf?inline=true
 

By: Joe Ingebrand, Senior Loss Control Consultant

 
 
 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mosquito Transmitted Diseases- from Aedes to Zika!

While news of the Zika virus is currently flooding the airwaves, other mosquito transmitted diseases in Minnesota continue to be present.
According to the MN Department of Health, “local Zika virus transmission is not a concern to Minnesota residents since the mosquito species that transmit the virus are not established in this state. However, individuals who travel to affected areas may become sick and should either consider delaying travel (particularly for pregnant women) or follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list 19 cases of Zika Virus in Minnesota as of June 15, 2016, all of these cases are described as: Travel-associated cases. (i.e. Travelers returning from affected areas, their sexual contacts, or infants infected in utero.)
CDC’s maps indicate that mosquitos carrying the disease are limited to the Southern United states but could reach Southern MN.
 
 
 
Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/question-answers.html)
 
 
Mosquito Transmitted diseases in Minnesota
  • West Nile Virus (WNV)
    West Nile virus is a disease transmitted to people, horses, and birds. It is the most commonly reported mosquito-transmitted disease in Minnesota. Most people infected with West Nile virus show no symptoms or flu-like symptoms, but some (primarily elderly) have more severe illness. West Nile virus was found in Minnesota in 2002 and will remain a public health concern in the foreseeable future. In 2014, 21 cases of WNV disease were reported in Minnesota.
Others types are as follows:


Preventing Mosquito Exposure
  • Reduce or eliminate mosquito breeding grounds (i.e., sources of stagnant or standing water).
  • Cover as much skin as possible by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when possible.
  • Avoid use of perfumes and colognes when working outdoors.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on skin that is not covered by clothing.
  • Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be exposed. The more DEET or Picaridin a repellent contains, the longer time it can protect you.
  • Spray insect repellent on the outside of your clothing (mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing).
  • Do NOT spray insect repellent on skin that is under clothing.
  • After working, use soap and water to wash skin and clothing that has been treated with insect repellent.
  • Be extra vigilant from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active


 

Sources:
 
Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/outdoor/mosquito-borne/pdfs/osha-niosh_fs-3855_zika_virus_04-2016.pdf
 
CDC Zika in the United States

 
 

 

By: Joe Ingebrand

 
 
 
 

Monday, June 6, 2016

New Federal OSHA Reporting Rules

Federal OSHA’s final rule on injury reporting policies will be effective January 2017. This rule does not change what information is currently collected; rather it changes how the information is reported and, for the first time, this information will be publicized on-line. 

NOTE: Minnesota OSHA must still adopt its rules for our state based on the new federal rule.  State rules must be as strict as or stricter than the federal rules.  As a result, the following is the MINIMUM you can expect to see in the Minnesota OSHA rules when they are adopted.

 

The new federal OSHA rules apply only to certain types of cities:

If yours is a city or municipal entity of 250 or more employees including paid on call fire, police, EMS or other “volunteers” who, if injured, would be covered under MN Workers’ Compensation rules, then this new rule will apply to you.  In addition, employers with between 20 to 249 employees in “certain high risk industries” such as utilities, solid waste collection, water or wastewater treatment, healthcare facilities, amusement parks and arcades, or transit systems just to name a few, then your entity will likely also need to comply.

Cities subject to the new rule must:

  1. Begin electronic submission of employee injury records: OSHA 300, 300A and 301.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently ask only a few employers to submit their OSHA 300 logs.  Under the new regulation, all affected employers will submit electronic records.  The forms remain the same: OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses; Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses; and OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report.
  2. Public, searchable database of employers’ history of work injuries. According to the Federal Assistant Secretary of Labor, "Our new rule will 'nudge' employers to prevent work injuries to show investors, job seekers, customers, and the public they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target compliance assistance and enforcement resources, and enable 'big data' researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer."
  3. Incentive program cautions.  Employee incentive programs, for example prizes for no lost time, get implemented by safety committees or management to reduce workplace injuries.  These programs often backfire and actually cause employees, through peer pressure and or management pressure, not to report injuries.  OSHA has a long history of frowning on incentive programs.  The new regulation narrowly defines what OSHA will consider acceptable.  “OSHA encourages incentive programs that promote worker participation in safety-related activities, such as identifying hazards or participating in investigations of injuries, incidents, or “near misses.””
  4. Informing employees of their rights under the rule.  Employers must establish a reporting procedure that does not deter or discourage an employee from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.  Federal “OSHA already prohibits any person from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee who reports a fatality, injury, or illness. However, currently OSHA may not act under that section unless an employee files a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the retaliation.” In contrast, “under the final rule, OSHA will be able to cite an employer for retaliation even if the employee did not file a complaint, or if the employer has a program that deters or discourages reporting through the threat of retaliation.”

For your reading pleasure, here is a link to the new Federal rule: Federal Recordkeeping and Reporting Occupational Injuries.  


By: Cheryl Brennan


Friday, June 3, 2016

Mutual Boiler RE - Preventing Damaging Power Surges


With Spring here and Summer on the way we have already seen more than a few thunderstorms. The lightning in these storms has the potential to cause dangerous power surges that can damage property and equipment.
Our partners at Mutual Boiler RE recently published an article in their Spring Gears in Motion newsletter with some helpful tips on how to protect yourself from these damaging power surges:
 
P.S. If you are working outside when a storm starts, please err on the side of caution and seek shelter.


By: LMCIT Loss Control

 
 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Minnesota LTAP Operational Research Assistance Program (OPERA)

Have you ever had an idea how to make your job easier or, to develop and build something to make tasks simpler?  Do you like tinkering and found something to improve road work? There is a program from Minnesota Local Road Research Board called the OPERA Program, and it could help fund these ideas! OPERA funds projects up to $10,000 through an annual request-for-proposal process.

Visit the Minnesota LTAP Link below to learn more about the OPERA Program.


Here are a few links from past projects:
 
 

By: Troy Walsh



Friday, May 20, 2016

Minnesota Rural Water Tracer Wire Specification

The League of Minnesota Cities Spring Loss Controls Workshops are officially complete! We thank each of your for working us into your busy schedule to attend.  These workshops are always as much of a chance for us to learn as they are for you, and this year one of our more popular presentations was shared by our friends at the Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) who taught us all about their trace wire specifications.

MRWA’s trace wire specification has been nationally praised and has even been used by companies such as Google in their utility projects. Here is a link to this specification for all of you that were unable to attend a workshop and for those of you that did but didn’t get the link. 

 

By: Cody Tuttle


 

 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Youth Employment - Summer help is on the Way

Each year about this time we in loss control get the question as to whether or not a 17 year old can operate a mower.  The answer to this question is yes; however, there are other restrictions related to youth employment cities should be aware of.

Lifeguards
·         15, 16 and 17 year olds can work as lifeguards in pools, but only with uninterrupted adult supervision.
·         16 and 17 year olds can work as lifeguards at lakes and rivers, but only with uninterrupted adult supervision.

Machinery
·         Youth ages 16 to 18 are restricted from driving certain power-drive machinery.  (They can operate push mowers and weed whips.)
·         Minors cannot operate motor vehicle on streets as part of their normal job. (There is an exception for incidental and occasional driving by licensed drivers.)

Liquor
·         No individual under the age of 18 can serve, dispense, or handle intoxicating liquors that are consumed on premises.
·         Minors are prohibited from working in rooms where liquor is served or consumed. (There is an except for the job of busing dishes and providing musical entertainment.)

Other Regulations:
·         Minors cannot work where hazardous material exists.

 
For additional questions on this issue please contact your loss control consultant or LMC HR Department: jhottinger@lmc.org.


By: Joe Ingebrand