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Is Winter Over Yet!?

It is a long standing tradition of millions of people each year to make New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions to do something new or change something starting with the New Year. Often times these resolutions are to be healthier, to lose weight, or to get into shape. I am one of those many millions of people who make and break the ‘get into shape’ resolution. Perhaps, if January was Physical Fitness and Safety Month, I’d be more inclined to stay motivated to stay true to the resolution. But, as luck would have it, May is Physical Fitness and Safety Month, and just in time for winter to be over! (I hope!)

Despite the April blizzards, our Members have been considering what happens when the weather warms in preparation for people to return to the great outdoors, to the parks and bike paths. Members must consider how many seasonal employees will be required and how those people are trained. Not only are Members considering the seasonal employees, but also those veteran employees who may need to be transitioned from their winter related duties to now more spring and summer related duties. No longer will they be shoveling snow and checking for ice, instead they will look for damaged sidewalks and potholes. New and veteran employees need to be prepared to identify and address those risks that are seasonal, and with warm weather, differ from the winter time norm.

When preparing to hire the seasonal help, Members are consulting their personnel manuals and handbooks. SDPAA Members have access to sample policy and procedure manuals for free. Those manuals can help ensure that all employees are hired, trained and supervised correctly. SDPAA Members also have access to online training opportunities. Some of the online titles that can be reviewed include, but are not limited to, Drug Free Workplace, New Employee Safety Training and Safety Awareness for Seasonal Employees. These videos vary in length from 30 to 60 minutes and address issues specific to safety awareness for employees. There are no fees or charges for SDPAA Members to utilize these resources.

Training doesn’t stop at the initial orientation. Refresher training on Playground Safety, a video offered which can help Members identify common hazards existing on playgrounds, as well as Slip / Trip Fall Prevention are also available through the online training opportunities afforded to the SDPAA Members. Identifying and resolving potential hazards at facilities which are frequented by the public primarily in the summer months can save your entity time and money in the future. Safe maintenance activities will go a long way in avoiding injury and damages to not only the employee but also others. There are similar training opportunities for situations which arise in the winter months.

For those situations where a new opportunity is being explored, such as an outdoor shooting range, skate park, spray park or pool, SDPAA Members have access to Loss Control Services afforded through Member Services and Safety Benefits. We are dedicated to offering assistance to our Members to ensure that the facilities that are offered by our Members serve the public well, and safely.

Once the facilities are up and running and ready for use, review of agreements and contracts which relate to the use and operation of your facilities by others should be conducted. Facilities use agreements are used to ensure that all parties understand their responsibilities when it comes to events hosted by other than the owning entity. It is important for those parties wishing to host a family reunion at your fairgrounds for example, to realize that your coverage may not defend them against third party claims. You can also transfer risk of allowing hosted activities on your properties by using appropriate hold harmless and indemnification language within your facilities use agreements. Consideration of waivers is also encouraged, whether it is an event hosted by your entity or someone else on your property, when the activities could be considered potentially dangerous or hazardous in nature.

The SDPAA offers online training through First Net Learning. Many sample documents are available to Members and Non-Members through our Website at www.sdpaaonline.org.  Our Members have access to additional documents and loss control services by contacting the SDPAA office at 800-658-3633 Option 2, or by email at sdpaa@sdmunicipalleague.org. Any documents created or considered should be reviewed by legal counsel prior to execution.

Lynn Bren, AIC SCLA
Director of Member Services

Hyde County has been a Member of the SDPAA since 2003. We are very happy with the services provided to our County. Member Services and the Underwriting Department have been quick to respond whether it was a claim or questions. They are very easy to work with and have always followed up on any issues we have had.  Marilyn Ring, Hyde County Auditor