July 2019 Risk and Safety Newsletter

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Stay Safe While Driving

  1. Refrain from using your cell phone while driving, even hands-free.

  2. Put your cell phone on silent or put it in the glovebox to avoid temptation.

  3. Pull over and put your vehicle in park if you must make a call.

  4. Change your voicemail message to say you are unavailable when driving but will return any calls once you’ve reached your destination.

  5. Safety belts are one of the most effective devices in your vehicle. Always wear it when you are driving and ensure your passengers are properly buckled up also.

  6. Aggressive driving behaviors include speeding, making frequent unnecessary lane changes, tailgating, and running lights/stop signs. These behaviors create unsafe situations for you and other drivers and can lead to road rage.

  7. Keep your emotions in check and don’t take your frustrations out on other drivers.

  8. Plan ahead to allow enough time for delays.

  9. Focus on your driving: avoid eating, drinking, phones, changing radio stations, adjusting GPS settings, grooming, or doing work while driving.

  10. Do not tailgate.  Allow at least 3 seconds distance between you and vehicles you are following.

  11. Use your horn sparingly.

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Stop, Think and Act - A Useful Approach to Safety

Essentially our goal is to work safe, all day, everyday:

  • Stop long enough to think about what you are about to do

  • Think about how you are going to do it. Is it the safest way? If not, how can you do it better?

  • Act in the safest way possible

 If you can get yourself and your coworkers to think for only a few seconds before doing anything, you can prevent a lot of injuries.

 Apply Stop, Think and Act:

These suggestions take only moments to implement, but offer lifelong benefits:

  1. Start with yourself. Develop your own Stop, Think, Act habit so you are keeping yourself safe and constantly demonstrating the desired safe behavior.

  2. Build it into orientation training, so that everyone hears the message from the beginning.

  3. Reinforce it during your weekly or daily meetings. These meetings are an ideal opportunity for everyone to discuss hazards and how to stay safe.

  4. Coach workers one on one. Before someone starts a new task, work through the Stop, Think, Act process together. Watch for people acting impulsively, they may not take into account what could go wrong. They start at point “A” and don’t think of consequences that may occur at points “B” and “C”.

Remember: Safety is everybody’s job, all day, every day.

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Avoid Cross Bore Disasters

Directional drilling is a fast and efficient way to install underground pipe and conduit, but when a gas line is bored through a sewer line, disaster can ensue.

Cross Bores – when a line bores through a sewer line – have been the cause of catastrophic events in the past. To combat this issue, municipalities, utilities, contractors, and the trenchless industry must join forces to ensure proper pre- and post-inspections are conducted and avoid disaster.

There are almost always more connections than what surface observation suggests. The reality is that subsurface most likely there are more connections than marked after an 811 call. Municipal utilities must learn to spatially map out subsurface infrastructure during routine maintenance to improve accuracy for 811 locator requests.

Auditory systems with GPS capabilities (SL-Rat) and CCTV Camera systems have made an incredible positive impact on finding the missing conditions. By using an auditory inspection system like the SL-Rat (OMAG has several to loan to municipalities) a municipality can map their sewer system.  Then they can use a CCTV camera (OMAG has grants available for these) through sewer mains.  In this way, line taps can be identified and recorded to inform utilities or system owners, and potential hazards can be addressed prior to drilling. Equally important is to make post-drill inspections to confirm lines have not been breached during installation of a utility.

While gas or communication lines are typically what we think of when we hear the term cross bore, directional drilling of other utilities can negatively impact the integrity of our sewer systems as well.

Developing a partnership between utility owners and municipalities is critical if cross boring events are to be identified and addressed to keep communities safe. Developing a comprehensive prevention program between the municipality and utility owners where they share the costs and get cross bore inspection work done economically and responsibly is a win-win for the municipality, utility, and the customers.

NASSCO, whose mission it is to set standards for the assessment, maintenance, and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure, identified the need to set standards for proper cross bore prevention and detection. The worst thing that can happen is if an operator finds a cross bore and does nothing about it. Standard assessment and cleaning of mainlines could also potentially uncover cross bores masked by roots. If a cross bore is hiding behind roots that have infiltrated a pipe and the roots are cut, disaster could occur. A significant benefit of a regular chemical root control maintenance program is the ability to kill the roots without cutting or damaging pipes (OMAG has a root control grant with Duke’s Roots).

In addition to municipalities and utilities working closely together, the relationship between utilities and contractors is extremely important for the implementation of a successful cross bore program. Developing a relationship with contractors laying pipe or conduits and working with them to identify hazards or challenges and working to develop unique solutions, provides better quality data and a higher level of confidence that we are keeping our communities, homes and businesses protected.

The most common question pertaining to cross bore inspection and remediation is always “Who is responsible?”  The answer: “When is comes to keeping our community safe, we all are.”

For more information about the SL-Rat, CCTV camera, or Duke’s Roots grants contact William Sheppard, OMAG Risk Management Specialist at wsheppard@omag.org.


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Changes to Public Works Safety Equipment Grants

OMAG is proud to announce we are making some increases to our Public Works Safety Grants for certain types of safety equipment. The changes will be effective fall 2019.

All safety equipment for Public Works Departments such as basic PPE, first aid kits, fireproof cabinets, light bars, work zone signage and barriers will remain a 2:1 value up to $2,000 for a $1,000+ investment.

Safety and rescue equipment for confined spaces such as harnesses, tripods, and gas sniffers, etc. will be a 3:1 value up to $3,000 for a $1,000+ investment.

Safety and rescue equipment for excavations, such as trench boxes and shoring equipment will be a 5:1 value up to $5,000 for a $1,000+ investment.

To apply for a Public Works Safety Grant complete the OMAG grant application and provide a quote from the vendor you are wanting to purchase the equipment from, by the deadline dates. These dates are:  Fall (July 1-Sept. 30) and Spring (Jan. 1- Mar. 31). The grant instructions and applications can be found on our webpage: at www.omag.org in the grants and scholarships section of the Risk Management Services Free Services page.

Please read the qualifications/instructions page carefully before submitting your application. Cities and towns must still wait 2 years before applying for a grant once they have received a grant.

Contact Kip Prichard, OMAG Risk Management Specialist kprichard@omag.org  if you have questions or need assistance applying for a Public Works Safety Grant.

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Preventing Backing Collisions

National statistics indicate that backing collisions account for about one-quarter of all collisions. OMAG’s claims records support this fact in regard to our members’ claims. The growing number of rear-vision camera systems should decrease the occurrence of these collisions in the future but do not rely only on your camera system. Utilizing “old school” methods along with a rear-vision camera will increase your hazard awareness. Backing will always carry its own set of risks. The following is a list of tips aimed at preventing backing collisions:

  1. Get to know a vehicle’s blind spots. Mirrors can never give the whole picture when backing.

  2. Think in advance. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary backing situations.

  3. Park defensively. Choose easy-exit parking spaces that don’t crowd neighboring vehicles. Park in the center of your parking space.

  4. Take extra precautionary measures when parking in an alley. Remember to think ahead. If the alley doesn’t permit driving all the way through, back into the alley space. That way you can drive forward to pull into the street.

  5. Perform a walk-around. Walking around your vehicle gives you a first-hand view of the backing area and will alert you to limitations or hazards. Watch for children, muddy areas, poles, pipes, or other obstacles you could hit.

  6. Know the clearances. When performing a walk-around check for obstructions, low hanging trees, wires, or canopies.

  7. Every backing situation is new and different. You may back out of the same spot day after day, but don’t allow yourself to get complacent and relax. Be watchful every time for changes and new obstacles.

  8. Use a spotter. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s help when backing. Use hand signals you’ve both agreed on. Don’t have the spotter walking backwards or standing directly behind your vehicle while giving you instructions.

  9. Don’t delay after doing your walk-around. Get back in your vehicle and start backing within a few seconds. This will allow very little time for people or new obstacles to change behind your vehicle.

  10. Ensure your mirrors are clean and properly adjusted to give you the widest possible view.

  11. Tap the horn twice prior to backing to alert others in the area.

  12. Crack your driver’s window so you can hear any warnings, such as a car horn. Stop immediately if you hear a warning.

  13. Keep your backing distance to a minimum and go slow while covering your brake.

  14. If you are unsure of the clearance around and above your vehicle, get out and look. Check behind, both sides, and above your vehicle before proceeding.

Being proactive and careful while backing can save lives, property damage, and time for all in the long run.

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Jeremy Frazier Elected to OMAG Board of Trustees

Jeremy Frazier Professional Photo.jpg

The Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group is very pleased to announce that Jeremy Frazier has been elected to the OMAG Board of Trustees.

Jeremy is the City Manager of the City of El Reno. He previously served as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Newkirk and the City of Cushing as well as the Emergency Management Director/Community Services Supervisor for the City of Muskogee. He has a Master’s Degree in Political Science with an emphasis on Public Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma and received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Jeremy is a current member of the City Managers Association of Oklahoma (CMAO) and is a Past Board Member.

Please take a moment to congratulate City Manager Jeremy Frazier on his election to the OMAG Board.

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Vickie Patterson Elected to OMAG Board of Trustees

Vickie Patterson Elected to OMAG Board of Trustees

OMAG is pleased to announce that Vickie Patterson, the City Manager of the City of Broken Bow, has been appointed to the OMAG Board of Trustees.

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PowerPoint Tips & Tricks

Have you ever been asked to create a presentation but didn’t know where to start? Do you feel like your presentations are a little lackluster?

OMAG has developed a short guideline of best practices to help in making your presentations the best they can be. Look for more in the future, but for now this should help to get you started. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Matthew Burleson.

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Managing Alcohol Sales at Municipal Golf Courses, Country Clubs, or Marinas

This Loss Bulletin is intended to help municipalities reduce their risk of civil liability in connection with offering alcoholic beverages at Municipal Golf courses, Country Club or Marinas.  Understanding current case law and the changes in state regulation of alcoholic beverage sales and acting accordingly should greatly reduce the risk to cities and towns.

On November 8, 2016 the voters of the State of Oklahoma approved a State Question 792 that modified the regulation of alcohol sales throughout the state.  The law was not effective until October 1, 2018 to allow time for transition.  For the most part Article 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution was repealed and Article 28A was put in its place to govern Alcoholic Beverage Laws and Enforcement.  Under the prior regulations, beer or beverages containing 3.2% or less alcohol by volume were not considered to be alcoholic beverages.  Under the new regulations “alcoholic beverages” are defined as “All beverages that contain alcohol, unless otherwise defined by law, shall be considered alcoholic beverages by this state and therefore governed by this Article and all other applicable laws.”[1]

How does this change affect cities and towns across the state?  While municipal golf courses, Country Clubs, or Marinas in the past have been licensed by a county or a city to sell non-alcoholic beverages (3.2% or lower in alcohol by volume) several have asked how the new law might impact beer sales with a greater volume of alcohol in those beverages. 

Implementing statutes to this Constitutional provision can be found in Title 37  and 37A Okla. Stat. Section 1-101 et seq.  During its second session, the 55th Oklahoma Legislature enacted substantial amendments to Title 37 (Intoxicating Liquors) of the Oklahoma Statutes and added a new Title 37A (Alcoholic Beverages). The enactments from the 2016 Session affected over 400 sections in the Oklahoma Statutes relating to alcoholic beverages, including about 370 sections in Titles 37 and 37A.  Most of these amendments from the 2016 Session were effective on October 1, 2018.[2]

During the 2019 legislative session additional clarifications to the law were made by the passage of Senate Bill 728 which passed with an emergency clause becoming effective upon its signing by the Governor on April 10, 2019.  Among other things, SB 728 provided that an alcohol beverage “licensee may sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption if it meets the classification of a golf course, country club, or marina” [3]

First, it is important to know that cities, as political subdivisions of the State, are prohibited from the retail distribution of alcoholic beverages. [4]  If cities and towns are determined to serve alcoholic beverages at golf courses and other qualifying recreational facilities, then one approach is to consider contracting with an independent contractor to provide that service.  An independent contractor would need to apply with the ABLE Commission for the appropriate license(s) to sell both on premises and off premises if the desire is to sell beer that can then be consumed on the golf course.  The licensing process is somewhat detailed and can be accessed on the ABLE website.[5] Some of the advantages of using an independent contractor to provide wine and beer on the public golf course or another qualifying recreational facility are:  1) requires the independent contractor to navigate the applicable ABLE regulations; 2) requires the independent contractor to properly train and supervise their own employees to ensure proper handling of risks associated with serving alcoholic beverages to patrons[6]; 3) minimizes a town or city’s investment needed to provide this amenity for its patrons.  

Another option for a city or town that would like to serve alcoholic beverages at a city golf course or qualifying recreational facility may be to utilize a public trust of which the city or town is a beneficiary.  A public trust is a separate legal entity than a city or town and thus would not fall within the prohibition of selling alcoholic beverages that applies to a city as a political subdivision.  The license from the ABLE Commission could be held by a Public Works Authority, a Municipal Authority, or other public trust organized under the Oklahoma Public Trust Act. [7]  The licensing process through the ABLE Commission would need to be followed. (see footnote #5).  The land or property upon which the alcoholic beverage dispensing would occur would need to be under ownership, lease or control by the Public Trust and all Trustees of the Public Trust will need to execute the appropriate background investigation documents.  In addition, for OMAG member towns and cities who carry General Liability or Property Damage Policies, under Section VI, Exclusion 14 there is no coverage under those policies for serving or furnishing alcoholic beverages for a charge.[8] 

Should a City or town desire to extend coverage to its public trust that would be involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages at our municipal golf courses or other qualifying recreational facilities, then a special rider or waiver of this exemption would need to be considered.[9] Please contact OMAG if you need additional information or guidance.  The information provided in this bulletin is not intended to be legal advice.  Specific facts and circumstances unique to your town or city should be discussed with your City Attorney for legal guidance. 


[1]Okla. Const. Article 28A, Section 1

 [2] OSCN has prepared a table that lists all sections in Titles 37 and 37A affected by the 2016 enactments. This table shows the disposition of all affected sections in Title 37 (amendments, repeals, and renumberings), and it shows the source of all sections added to the new Title 37A. This table should help OSCN users to determine which sections in Titles 37 and 37A have been affected. OSCN Dispositional Table – 2016 Acts Affecting Titles 37 and 37A   (PDF, 21 pages)

 [3] Golf course, Country Club or marina pursuant to the most recently adopted North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). 37A Okla. Stat, sections 2-110 (2), 2-128(2).

 [4] Okla. Const Art. 28A § 8. State and other governing entities prohibited from engaging in alcoholic beverage business

The State of Oklahoma, or any political subdivision thereof, or any board, commission or agency thereof, is hereby prohibited from engaging in any phase of the alcoholic beverage business, including the manufacture, sale, transportation or distribution thereof, at wholesale or retail, and the maintenance, ownership or operation of warehouses or alcoholic beverage stores; except that if the voters of a county in which a state lodge is located approve retail sale of alcoholic beverages by the individual drink for on-premise consumption, and if the State Legislature enacts legislation approving such sales in any such lodges located in any such counties, then such sales are authorized. The Legislature may enact laws restricting the involvement of officers and employees of the state and political subdivisions thereof in the alcoholic beverage business.

Provided, that nothing herein shall prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages legally confiscated as provided by law.

 [5] https://www.ok.gov/able/documents/ABLE%20Form-Beer%20%20Wine%20Application.pdf

 [6] Brigance v. Velvet Dove Restaurant, Inc. 1986 OK 41, 725 P.2d 300 “At common law a tavern owner who furnishes alcoholic beverages to another is not civilly liable for a third person's injuries that are caused by the acts of an intoxicated patron. Such rule is principally based upon concepts of causation that, as a matter of law, it is not the sale of liquor by the tavern owner, but the voluntary consumption by the intoxicated person, which is the proximate cause of resulting injuries, so that the tavern owner is therefore not liable for negligence in selling the liquor.” @301 “We hold today that public policy is better served by holding that the common law principles of negligence are applicable where a commercial vendor for on the premises consumption is shown to have sold or furnished intoxicating beverages to a person who was noticeably intoxicated from which a jury could determine that such conduct creates an unreasonable risk of harm to others who may be injured by the person's impaired ability to operate a motor vehicle. Based upon compelling reasons we, thus, reject the common law doctrine of tavern owner nonliability in Oklahoma.” @305-306.  Oklahoma Courts, since Brigance, have declined to extend the common law modification beyond the factual circumstances of that case, i.e. an innocent third party injured as the proximate cause of the negligence of the commercial server who knew or should have known by their observation that the person being served was too intoxicated to safely operate a motor vehicle. See BATTLES v.  COUGH, 1997 OK CIV APP 62, 947 P.2d 600, Wrongful death action was brought against alleged social host and restaurant for serving alcoholic beverages to motorcyclist subsequently involved in collision that killed passenger. The Court of Civil Appeals, held that the alleged social host was not liable for serving alcoholic beverages to motorcyclist under the facts of that case including there is no duty on vendor to deny service of alcoholic beverages to persons who will or might become intoxicated thereby; evidence that motorcyclist drank three beers and two mixed drinks in one hour and five minutes did not permit inference that restaurant served him alcohol when he was noticeably intoxicated; evidence of loud talking in restaurant by member of group that included motorcyclist also did not permit such an inference.  See OHIO CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY v. Todd's Tavern et al., 1991 OK  54, 813 P.2d 508.  Question was certified from Federal District Court regarding possible cause of action intoxicated driver had against tavern owner. The Supreme Court held that tavern owner has no liability to intoxicated adult who voluntarily consumes alcoholic beverages to excess and sustains injury as result of his intoxication.  See TEEL v. WARREN, III, et al., 2001 OK CIV APP 46, 22 P.3d 234. Guest brought action against fraternity for personal injuries he allegedly sustained when he was assaulted by fraternity member while attending a party at the fraternity house. The Court of Appeals held that any action by fraternity which violated statute barring the furnishing of alcohol to a person under the age of 21 could not be proximate cause of injuries suffered by guest at fraternity house when 19-year-old fraternity member became intoxicated and assaulted him; fraternity was not commercial seller of alcoholic beverages, but a social host. 37 Okl.St.Ann. § 537; See also SMITH v. TEEL, et al, 2008 OK CIV APP 7, 175 P.3d 960.  Spouse of car passenger killed in collision with vehicle driven by intoxicated patron of restaurant and dance club brought wrongful death action against restaurant, which was a limited liability company, and two of its alleged managers and owners.  The Court of Civil Appeals held that alleged managers and owners could not be personally liable for death of passenger.

 [7] See Oklahoma Public Trust Statutes - Title 60 Okla. Stat. Section 176 et seq

 [8] OMAG MPPP & MLPP Policies – “VI. EXCLUSIONS. We have no obligation to pay nor do we have any obligation to defend any claim against a plan member on account of:  . . . 14. Loss for which any plan member, if serving or furnishing alcoholic beverages for a charge, may be held liable by reason of:   a. causing or contributing to the intoxication of any person; or  b. the furnishing of alcoholic beverages to a person under the legal drinking age or under the influence of alcohol.”

 [9] Thirty-five OMAG members cities have been identified as having properties described as golf courses in the MPPP. Those members in the MPPP using that criteria are: Altus, Ardmore, Blackwell, Boise City, Buffalo, Cedar Valley, Clinton, Edmond, Enid, Fairview, Guymon, Hobart, Hooker, Kingfisher, Lindsay, Medford, Midwest City, Okeene, Owasso, Pawnee, Ponca City, Prague, Pryor Creek, Purcell, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Sayre, Seminole, Shattuck, Stroud, Tahlequah, Walters, Watonga, Wewoka and Woodward.  In addition, any city or town that OMAG provides general liability coverage (MLPP) to that are not afforded property coverage by OMAG has the same exclusions contained in that policy. That portion of the reported expenditures on the forms provided by our members to the State Auditor report expenditures for Culture & Recreation could include expenditures for parks, playgrounds, golf courses, swimming pools, museums, marinas, community music, Drama, celebrations, and zoos.  So, some additional effort would be needed to poll other cities to see if they are anticipating selling alcoholic beverages at golf courses or other qualifying recreational facilities.


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