Summer Brings Risks for Municipal Workers

Summer’s arrival brings with it the opportunity for municipalities to work and complete projects that will improve the lives of their residents. However, in the course of completing these duties, municipal employees are exposed to a variety of hazards. This article contains informational pieces and links to resources to help keep your employees safe.

Department of Public Works: Catch Basin & Manhole Injuries

Every year, construction crew employees sustain injuries while performing work with catch basins and manholes. The key to eliminating these injuries is to reduce the forceful exertions and awkward body postures involved in these job tasks. Also, reduce the use of hand tools and utilize power equipment with chains/slings whenever possible. The links below are to be used only as a reference for the items listed and not as an endorsement by United Heartland of their quality.

Lifting Slings
Manhole Lifters
Manhole Setter Sling
Pipe & Manhole Handling Equipment
Vehicle-Mounted Manhole Cover Lift Systems

Work Zone Exposures

The U.S. Department of Transportation states that vehicle collisions are the second-leading cause of death among employees working in traffic work zones. To keep your workforce safe, ensure that basic traffic controls are implemented to warn oncoming vehicles of the hazards ahead.

Traffic Control / Work Zone Handbook

Heat-Related Illnesses

In 2011, 4,420 workers experienced heat illnesses and 61 workers died, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, when it’s hot and humid out, sweating sometimes isn’t enough. If workers don’t take water breaks or rest in the shade or air conditioning frequently enough, heat illnesses – ranging from heat rash or cramps to heat exhaustion or heat stroke – can result. Immediate medical attention is required for heat stroke as it can result in death.

To learn more about ways to prevent heat-related illness, refer to our flier Heat Stress for Workers or visit OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.

Fire Departments: FEMA Grants and Powered Cots

While there have been many advances in the area of firefighting technology, they also come with a high cost. Consequently, many departments lack the funds needed to purchase equipment that could improve job safety and rescuing operations. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources.

Click here for more information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant and instructions on how to apply.

The National Fire Protection Agency cites overexertion as the leading cause of injury amongst firefighters. Many of these overexertion injuries involve patient handling as this physically demanding job task strains the back and upper extremities. However, with the development of emergency-powered cots, injury costs caused by patient handling can be reduced. The first two links below provide resources on the latest innovations from powered cot manufacturers; the last link provides ergonomic tips for EMS workers.

Ergonomics for EMS

Links to Other Safety Resources

Slip & Fall Prevention
Confined Spaces
Refuse Collection Vehicle Safety
Aging Workforce
Wellness Programs
Poisonous Plants

Employee Training Resources

Lezage and CLMI offer training materials on a variety of topics including back safety, trenching and excavation, confined space entry, fall protection and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

The Lezage Training Center provides many safety training topics which can be utilized as individual training or presented to a group as a group safety training program. The training presentation can be completed in approximately 30 minutes, and can be paused and restarted to allow for discussion points.

CLMI programs allow you access to CMLI Blue Prints© Safety Programs and Videos at a discounted rate. You keep the programs and videos, nothing to return. Full CLMI Programs include a binder, training presentation, written program template and videos. To order any one of the programs log into our website at, select UH Client Services and select Safety Training.

Contact your UH Loss Control Representative for further assistance or call 1-800-258-2667.