Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 12, 1999

Winsted employees finally get weight equipment

By Luis Puga

City employees who attended Tuesday's Winsted City Council meeting were able to convince the council that donated weight equipment would not pose an excessive liability risk to the city.

The council heard from Officer Mike Larson, who presented information on behalf of the city's police and fire departments.

He asked the council to imagine that this was the first time they were looking at the information and he apologized for previous miscommunications with the council. The issue has been discussed at several meetings since the offer of the donation was made by a Twin Cities health club.

Larson maintained that the 12 pieces of Nautilus equipment could be securely stored in one of the bays in the fire hall. He noted that only city employees have access to the facility.

He also proposed a six-foot chain link fence be placed around the equipment to prevent any unauthorized personnel from using the equipment. Larson also said the equipment would not be used by family members of the employees.

To mitigate liability, Larson also proposed that each employee must take instruction on how to use the equipment properly and would also have to sign a waiver form drafted by City Attorney Francis Eggert.

Larson also pledged that the equipment would go through regular maintenance. The area would be posted with visual waivers and rules for use. Finally, use would be recorded with a daily log sheet.

The council asked that the training be done by someone who is certified, and that a "buddy system" be established in case one person is injured.

Council members also asked the officers to set out an exact disciplinary response to any individual who does not follow the rules of using the equipment.

Larson told the council the city would have complete control over the equipment. It comes with a six-month review period with the option to remove the equipment if the council sees fit.

Some hesitation was expressed with the measure. Eggert was uncertain as to whether any waiver was infallible.

Dave Sherman from the city's insurer, Midland Insurance, said that the city enters into more riskier ventures than this and praised the employees for their thorough presentation. The council also commended the employees on allaying many of the council's concerns.

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