Feb. 18 Safety Council presentation to cover floor safety

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bill Berndt will traverse the slippery course of floor safety during an 11:30 a.m. program Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation, located at 3801 Bemidji Avenue North.

A $25 fee will be charged to cover the price of materials and lunch for the 90-minute session, presented as part of a Northern Minnesota Safety Council series on safety issues. Advanced registration is required at least two days prior to the event.

The majority of general industry mishaps are slips, trips and falls, and this type of accident accounts for 15-20 percent of all workman’s comp claims. Over 8,000 people – 80 percent of whom were over the age of 65 – died from accidental falls in 2002, and falls trail only motor vehicle accidents in the number of accidental deaths caused per year.

Sources of falling hazards include ice, wet spots, grease, polished or loose flooring or carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, clutter, cords, open drawers or damaged ladder steps. During the session, Berndt will define the problems, outline general requirements and cover such items as wall openings, industrial stairs, and portable and fixed ladders.

“All worksites contain or include one or more of these hazards,” said Berndt. “Every day employees experience injuries caused by lack of awareness, improper use, or poor design and maintenance of walking and working surfaces, stairways and ladders.”

In many instances, controls needed to prevent hazards are obvious but often ignored. Some are as simple as keeping areas clear of scrap and debris; coiling up extension cords, lines and hoses when not in use; wearing weather-appropriate shoes or boots; clearing parking lots, stairs, and walkways in snowy weather; and using salt or sand as needed.

Berndt indicated that any employee or employer who uses, purchases or is responsible for the installation and maintenance of walking or working surfaces and ladder systems will benefit from this presentation. He will also explain the Minnesota Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s role in workplace safety consultation.

Berndt has been employed by the Minnesota Occupational Safety & Health Administration for nine years, six in enforcement and three in workplace safety consultation. He previously spent 28 years in the plastics processing industry in production management, plant safety, health, program development, training and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency compliance.

Sponsored by the CRI and the Northern Minnesota Safety Council, the session is part of a series that features experts on topics relating to safety from around the state. Programs are scheduled on the third Wednesday of each month.

Groups on the Bemidji Area Safety Council helping support and organize the presentations include Bi-County CAP, Beltrami County, North Central Door Company, Potlatch, and Tri-Valley.

For more information, or to be added to the mailing list for the series, contact the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation at (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3224; cri@bemidjistate.edu; or at http://www.cri-bsu.org.

Feb. 18 – 11:30 a.m. – Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation hosts Northern Minnesota Safety Council presentation on floor safety. Presenter: Bill Berndt, workplace safety consultant, Minnesota OSHA. Location: CRI; 3801 Bemidji Ave. N.; Bemidji, Minn. Cost: $25, includes lunch; advance registration required by Feb. 16. For information: (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3224; cri@bemidjistate.edu; http://www.cri-bsu.org.