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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

OSHA Grants

Belle Plaine used their OSHA grant
to help pay for their new SCBA.
Recently the Belle Plaine Fire Department was awarded a grant for new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA). I asked LMCIT Loss Control Field Consultant Troy Walsh for the details.

Troy, what type of grant did Belle Plaine utilize to obtain the equipment?
The Belle Plaine Fire Department utilized the Workplace Safety Consultation - Safety Grant Program or the Minnesota OSHA Safety Grant. The grant was for $6,000 and needed a 50/50 match from the city. The total cost for the department to replace all of their SCBA was more than $150,000. Even though the grant amount is just a small percent of the total replacement cost, everything helps when funding is limited. You can get more information about this grant here.

What is the grant process?
The Safety Grant Program is fairly easy to complete. The grant application requires the applicant to complete a section on the equipment requested, an explanation of why it is needed, a price quote for said equipment, and (if possible) a survey of safety equipment needs. You can apply for this grant online.

What role did you play in assisting them with the application?
I was asked by the fire department’s SCBA committee to review existing SCBAs, SCBA cylinders, and their cascade system (used for filling the tanks with compressed air). They provided the list of equipment, the in-service dates, annual/required maintenance, and the equipment’s expiration information. Once that was all pulled together, I assisted with comparing their information with NFPA standards and OSHA rules for maintenance and replacement requirements. I also provided a recommendation letter to the fire department to use for both City Council approval and the grant application.

What type of equipment can be requested in a grant application?
The Safety Grant Program can be used to apply for almost anything that is related to safety. I have been able to help cities acquire not only money towards SCBA’s, but a gas-powered post pounder, a skid-loader auger, flammable cabinets, spill-proof flammable gas cans, as well as many others. The Safety Grant Program does review all applications, and they continuously update their priority list.  Another good document to review is OSHA’s guide on how to improve your odds of receiving a grant.

Loss Control Field Consultant
Troy Walsh
Any final thoughts?
The Minnesota Workplace Safety Consultation - Safety Grant Program is a great resource for anyone who needs to update, purchase, or replace outdated safety equipment. This should not be the only resource for replacement, but thought of as an additional funding option. Safety equipment should always be monitored and inspected for proper working condition as it ages. Including replacement or updated safety equipment in the operating or capital improvement budget should always be the priority—getting a grant to offset that purchase could help provide other additional safety needs.

Up next: The La Crescent Fire Department Receives a Grant to Upgrade their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Stay safe,
Rob

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