Submitted by Donna Hayes, Human Resources Manager - City of St. Augustine
We all know safety training is essential to employees, but some training or lack thereof can mean life or death and confined space entry training is one of them. When confined space entry came up at a safety committee meeting a few months ago, it sparked a conversation and collaboration between multiple City Divisions and Departments. Public Works had crews from Wastewater Collection, Transmission & Distribution, and Stormwater Divisions in need of this vital training. In addition, new gas detection monitors were needed for them and for the Fire Department. Since having calibrated monitors is paramount for confined space entry work and rescue operations, figuring out how to pay for the new monitors and training became the problem that needed to be solved.
Luckily, a solution was found. Since Fire Department employees would be the ones sent out to rescue workers doing confined space work should they be in need, they were the logical solution to train them on confined space entry.
Deputy Chief and Training Officer, Chris Pacetti, along with fire personnel put together both a class room and field training program. In exchange for providing this training, which would save the Public Works Divisions the expense of an outside training provider, the saved money would be used for new monitors. However, it wasn’t enough for all the monitors and equipment needed.
This problem was quickly resolved with the help of Human Resources/Risk Management and the City’s insurance provider Preferred. The City applied for the Preferred matching training incentive program, which would match up to $5,000 for safety related training and equipment. At the beginning of March, the City submitted the application including the costs for the new gas monitors and other safety equipment and on Wednesday, March 24th, City staff were presented with a check for $4,259.81.
A big thanks to our insurance broker, Matt Baker with ThompsonBaker Agency and Mike Marinan, Director of Member Services with Preferred. We would also like to commend the staff for working together to make sure all employees have the proper training and equipment to work safely in confined spaces.