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home : cass county news : cass county news
October 19, 2017

10/9/2017 11:50:00 AM
Commissioners approve digitizing complex OSHA requirements
Cass County Correspondent

WALKER-The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires counties to maintain a material safety data sheet on each product a county department uses in the course of its operation.

Assistant Cass County Highway Engineer Kris Lyytinen brought to Tuesday's county board meeting a three-ring binder of all the data sheets for the highway department's over 100 items OSHA says must be maintained to meet its requirement.

The book is about 6 inches thick.

"We have to keep an up-to-date copy of this book for each highway garage," Lyytinen explained to the board.

It covers not only higher risk products like gas or oil, but also must cover such household items as Dawn dishwashing liquid, he said.

The sheet gives employees instructions on how to treat any employee who might have swallowed the product or gotten it into their eyes or otherwise risked injury.

In an emergency, employees are expected to look through the many tabs on the sheets in the book to find the product causing the emergency before they can read how to treat the victim.

It is a slow and tedious task for a real emergency situation, Lyytinen said. It also is time-consuming for staff to keep all the pages up to date, he added.

Tuesday, the board approved Lyytinen's recommendation to hire Damarco of Maplewood and Hastings to scan the highway department's over 100 data sheets and make an electronic record of them.

Cost will run about $650 to $700 this year to make the initial scan, Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane said. Damarco then charges the same rate to keep the record current in future years. It will save county employee time for maintaining the records.

As an electronic record, the data will be easier to access quickly if an emergency does occur, Lyytinen said. It also will make periodic OSHA inspections faster.

Administrator Joshua Stevenson said other county departments are required to keep the same records, so he sees this as an opportunity to consider having Damarco scan data sheets for additional county departments.

In other highway business Tuesday, the board awarded a contract to the lower of two bidders, Hawkinson Construction of Grand Rapids, to pave the parking lot at the new county highway garage being built at Remer for $92,326.40.

The city of Remer will reimburse the county $16,300 for the portion of the parking lot that will serve city hall.

The commissioners approved a final $478,797.19 payment for safety striping on county highways this summer. The final cost came in about $3,000 under the bid price, Lyytinen said.

Federal funds will pay 90 percent of that cost, with local money paying the other 10 percent, he said.

Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.

Bill Hansen Realty

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