Public Works

Focus on Safety

Many of the essential functions within a public works department carry various levels of risk. The nature of the work and the equipment used can sometimes expose people and property to harm. Keeping employees safe and property intact should be a priority.

Public Works Loss Prevention Best Practices Guide

Public Works Loss Prevention Best Practices Guide cover imageMCIT developed the Public Works Loss Prevention Best Practices Guide to provide members information and recommendations to help recognize and reduce hazards common to public works departments and protect public entities from liability and loss.

Each topic within the guide describes the typical safety exposures surrounding equipment and work tasks for public works departments. Best practices are then outlined to help educate employees and reduce those exposures.

Guide Addresses 2 General Areas

  • Equipment and Processes: Each of these chapters describes hazards related to the topic and then offers guidelines or best practices to help recognize and reduce those hazards. The check list can be used as a targeted safety audit.
  • Policies and Programs: Each of these chapters identifies policies and programs that should be in place as part of an overall safety program. The narratives outline the components that are required in the specific safety program, and the checkup can be used to determine quickly if all the components of the program are in place.

Toolbox Talks

Any of the topics in the Public Works Loss Prevention Best Practices Guide can be used to initiate or augment regular safety talks or “toolbox talks.” A toolbox talk is a short discussion on one safety topic that is often held at weekly staff meetings. These discussions help give priority to safety and bolster previous training.

Further Resources

  • Members are encouraged to contact their MCIT loss control and risk management consultants when they have questions regarding public works operations from a safety and risk management standpoint.
  • Members should work with the county attorney or other legal counsel when setting up policies and procedures to ensure the entity is in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws.
  • Step WiselyThree points of contact poster image program for slip, trip and fall prevention provides no-cost awareness and training materials, including items to promote three points of contact when getting into and out of large equipment, among other hazards. 
  • The Resource Library includes a number of articles related to safety in the workplace and other concerns related to public works operations.
  • Defensive Driving Training is offered at no cost to MCIT members and includes a session on maintenance vehicles/highway departments. Members can choose from online or on-site instruction. The maintenance vehicles/highway departments session is available only as an on-site class.
  • All MCIT member organizations are members of the Minnesota Safety Council, giving them access to no-cost or reduced-fee services, including training classes and videos, consultation services and written educational resources.