Wednesday, March 4, 2015

When It Comes to Safety in Your City, Don’t Miss the Mark

Safety first. This is a phrase many of us heard from various adults in our life while growing up—whether it was a troop leader, athletic coach, camp counselor, or parent. Chances are that we reluctantly complied with their rules in order to keep doing what we wanted to do.

Truth be told, this is likely how many of us still feel today. Though as grown-ups now ourselves we may have a better understanding of the associated risks when we don’t follow safety regulations, a good number of us probably still just want to get on with whatever we’re doing.

This can be a dangerous attitude when it comes to the workplace, though. Injuries and accidents on the job can come at very high costs—to both employers and employees—which is why there is legislation that specifically outline ways to keep safe in our places of work.

Specifically, as you may already know, a Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) law requires employers to have safety committees and perform inspections. So how best can your city comply? And what do you need to do to keep your employees safe?

At this spring’s Safety & Loss Control Workshops, we have an all-new track devoted solely to this topic. The first portion of the afternoon will delve into the specifics of both the structure and main function of a safety committee as defined by the law—including how to investigate accidents, conduct job hazard analyses, educate employees, keep specific records, and evaluate the effectiveness of these safety efforts.

The latter portion of the afternoon will dive into the nitty-gritty of how to conduct effective self-inspections. Not only will you leave with the tools to perform this important function in your own city, but you will also have the chance to put them to use during an on-site self-inspection that day.

Perhaps the best part of this safety committee track is that it will be presented by people who have been in your shoes! Before they became the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust’s (LMCIT’s) newest safety specialists, both Tracy Stille and Troy Walsh served on safety committees in the cities where they each worked.

Tracy Stille
A recent police department retiree and LMCIT’s newest public safety specialist, Tracy says that he now has a much better understanding of how safety committees should function. “In preparing to present at the upcoming workshops, I’ve learned that many cities may be missing the mark with their safety committees,” he says. “Now that I know about how to run truly effective safety meetings, how best to solicit safety input from employees, and why it really is critical to perform self-inspections—I just can’t wait to share this knowledge with city employees.”

Troy Walsh

With a background in both public works and public safety, Troy is now LMCIT’s new public works specialist. His experience has shown him that there are many things these committees can do to provide safer work environments for city employees. “There are smaller, fixable items the committee can remedy now while they budget for some of the larger safety items down the road,” he says. And Troy also points out that while one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, a common mission is a good thing: “Safety committees can all be unique and function differently, but having a safety plan and goals will effectively move your group in the right direction.”

If you would like to learn more about keeping your city employees safe, please consider joining us at this spring’s Safety & Loss Control Workshops. We’ll be in nine different locations around Minnesota in March and April—hope to see you there!

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