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OMHRP Tip of the Month - August 2019

Hiring the best qualified candidate:

  1. Prepare all questions in advance and ensure they are job-related
    Establish benchmarks for desired responses

  2. Take notes of each candidate’s responses

  3. Consider having the candidates “audition” for the job by utilizing practical exercises that simulate the job they are seeking

  4. Listen to the candidate talk about an issue that is important to them personally

  5. Have a team member take them on an interview of the office and get the team member’s feedback about the interaction

  6. Check references!!!

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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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