January 2008
N.C. Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin

"Living with your mistakes is harder than you think, wear your safety gear"

Greetings Friends in the Name of Safety:

Happy New Year! We trust that your Christmas was exactly what you hoped it would be, family, friends and time to enjoy and reflect. As we begin 2008, think of ways to get your safety message to your employees and let's REDUCE those Workers' Comp claims and cost this year. Set realistic goals and obtain even greater employer/employee buy-in to your safety programs! Let's make it personal and we all will see major improvements in our programs. Keep in mind the many new and exciting programs offered by the Safety Section here at the NCIC.

Please join us in welcoming Kim Nadeau to the Safety Section. Kim has been assigned as a Temp to assist us until we fill our Program Assistant position. She will be in the office should you need anything.

Always keep SAFETY at the top of that list! Your REGIONAL SAFETY COUNCILS are continuing to work for you, so please refer to the calendar section of our Safety Bulletin for more information. Please support YOUR councils!

As always, we thank you for your support and we pledge to continue to serve your needs. We promise to continue to provide quality ACCIDENT PREVENTION training programs.

Be Aware When Using Automatic Teller Machine's

ATMs can be an easy target for criminals. Remember these safety tips the next time you visit the ATM for some quick cash:

Safety first. Never use an ATM if the lighting is dim or burned out. If possible, only use ATMs in high-traffic areas, preferably during the day. Avoid isolated areas.

Be prepared. Don't spend time fishing in your purse or wallet for your card. Have it out, and have your pin number memorized. You want to spend as little time as possible at the machine.

Don't flash the cash. Don't count your cash in front of others or otherwise indicate how much you withdrew. If you get a receipt, take it with you. Don't leave it there.

Be wary. If someone looks suspicious, or is hanging around or getting too close to you while you are withdrawing money, discontinue the transaction and find another ATM.

Drive-up. When using the drive-up ATM, keep the car in gear with your foot on the brake. If anyone suspicious is nearby, you can make a quick getaway.

Above all, use your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, leave the area.
Report Work Injuries Right Away
Imagine getting out of your car in the parking lot at work one cold January morning and slipping on a patch of ice that was hidden under a light dusting of snow from the night before. Your ankle twists, there is a sharp pain, but you manage to hobble into your office. You go about your job thinking, "It's just a sprain," trying to stay off of the ankle as much as possible. You even put ice on it when you get home. However, after a week of not much improvement, you finally go to the doctor. Sure enough, it's broken.

Arriving at work the next day in your walking cast, your supervisor asks what happened. You tell the story and your supervisor wonders why you didn't report the injury the day it happened.

Many employees who get hurt at work fail to report their injuries right away. It's easy to underestimate the severity of an injury and simply not bother to tell your employer about it. However, failure to report your claim promptly can have an adverse impact on the outcome of the worker's compensation decision.

What should you do if faced with a similar situation?
You must notify your supervisor immediately of any injury, no matter how insignificant. Any delay in reporting may make the claims adjuster question whether the injury really happened the way it was reported. Payments may be delayed because the adjuster had to review the medical notes, talk to you and your supervisor, and gather information to support a decision to deny or accept the claim for benefits. You might have to ask for a hearing to argue for your benefits. If you had reported the injury that same morning, your supervisor would have been able to file a report with the claims unit promptly, and it probably would have been accepted with little difficulty.

In short, everyone benefits when accidents are reported immediately. Employees receive benefits sooner, and if the injury was caused by a hazard, such as the icy parking lot, immediate attention can be taken to eliminate the hazard. This, in turn, could help prevent injuries to your co-workers.

Please encourage employees to report near-miss incidents because that an accident waiting to happen.
Coping With Arthritis

Arthritis is a disease that can strike at any age. The word "arthritis" means "joint inflammation," and at its worst, it can be crippling. For arthritis sufferers, the cold weather can make it even worse. Signs of arthritis include pain, swelling, redness, stiffness, and warmth in the joint area. While there is no cure, early diagnosis and treatment can ease pain and stiffness and help prevent more damage.

Treatment may include rest, exercise (weight-bearing to increase muscle strength and support the joints, range-of-motion to increase flexibility), proper diet, hot or cold therapy, or medication such as anti- inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Other treatments include the use of assistive devices such as splints or braces. In severe cases, surgery could be necessary.

If you suffer from arthritis or know someone who does, it helps to educate yourself. Many people join a group with other people who have the disease. To find a group, look in the newspaper or ask your doctor or local hospital. You can also find information online at the Arthritis Foundation at Arthritis Foundation.
Recycle Your Old Computer

Technology advances so fast, it seems that as soon as you get your new computer out of the box and hooked up, it's already outdated. When you buy a new computer, do you know what to do with the old one? Computers are made up of various materials that are toxic to the environment, so throwing them in the garbage is not a good option. Like it or not, the age of computer recycling has arrived.

Placing old computers in a place where students or community organizations can benefit from them is a worthwhile option. Consider sending your old computers to:

  • Student or community organizations;
  • Services that recycle older computers and put them in the hands of people with low incomes;
  • Facilities that rebuild them using spare parts; or
  • Facilities that strip them and haul the metals and other parts to dealers who recycle everything but the plastic.

    If you're interested in donating your computer equipment for reuse or recycling, start by:

  • Checking directories on the internet which arrange computer donations to schools, colleges, and nonprofit organizations;
  • Contacting your local library, church, or a charitable group;
  • Typing "computer recycling" into a web search engine to locate scrap dealers and recyclers; or
  • Contacting your local county recycling coordinator to see if your county sponsors computer-recycling drop-offs.
    You can also check with your local electronics retailer to see what electronics they will accept for recycling: many accept used computers, monitors, laptops, printers, inkjet cartridges, cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and televisions. Some land fields in North Carolina have recycling centers as well, check with local authorities.
  • Teach Me Something - Rule #3
    by Mike Bingham  

    When I teach classes I usually begin by laying out my three rules; "Have Fun!", "Learn Something!", and "Teach Me Something!"

    One of my class participants, Greg Klima of Coats American in Marble, NC, met "Teach Me Something!" in a big way the other day, and I want you to see what he taught me.

    The picture show a homemade tool to he uses to adjust the gaps in grinder tool rests and tongue guards. Basically if the gauge enters the gap the grinder needs to be adjusted before use.

    Thanks to Greg for sharing this great tip!

    The tool is made of ¼" steel. It has one end milled to 1/8" thick. It is attached to the grinder with a piece of jack chain to make it easier to keep up with it. It is lying on top of the grinder for ease in photographing - it normally just hangs free.

    1/8" end should not go into the space between the tool rest and the abrasive wheel.

    1/4" end should not go into the space between the tongue guard and the abrasive wheel

    Editor's Note: Mike Bingham is the Western Area Safety Representative for the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Mike is one of the 10 members of the North Carolina Industrial Commission's Safety Department who are out there Working for You! to make our workplaces safer and better for each and every worker by reducing injuries to employees and saving money for employers through education and training. You can contact Mike at: binghamm@ind.commerce.state.nc.us or call: 919.218.9045

    Staying Safe While Working Alone

    If you are one of the many employees who work alone either after hours or in remote locations, you may want to keep someone else aware of where you are and what you are doing.

    Are you at risk?

    The phrase "employees working alone" applies to virtually all workers who are performing a job function and are not in the presence of either their employer, a supervisor, or another worker at that location. Every work-alone situation needs to be assessed to determine if there are any hazardous conditions or circumstances that would compromise your safety. If you think you deal with dangerous situations, you may want to consult with your employer for suggestions on monitoring and what can be done if an incident occurs.

    How hazardous is your job?

    Certain job functions have more hazards for someone working alone. High risk job hazards include working with:

    High energy materials (radioactive, high temperature);

    Toxic gases, liquids, or solids;

    Cryogenic (low temperature) materials/processes;

    High pressure systems and high voltage electrical systems; Moving equipment or machinery; and

    Flammable liquids.

    There is also a greater risk working in:

  • Extreme weather conditions,
  • High altitudes and other unusual areas,
  • Laboratories, and
  • Confined spaces.

    In addition, service industries often require contact with the public, and there may be extra hazards where cash or goods are handled.

    What can you do?

    There are methods that can help control the risks, including:

    Personal check: Someone checks on you at regular intervals.

    Periodic telephone contact: Communicating by telephone at regularly scheduled intervals may be adequate in low-risk work-alone situations.

    Mechanical/electrical surveillance: Workplace security systems can often be modified so they will also monitor employees working alone, as well as monitoring the workplace in general.

    Central monitoring: Your activities are monitored by a person or outside facility designated for that purpose.

  • About 3,000 years ago, most Egyptians died by the time they were 30
  • Slugs have four noses!
  • Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to watch T.V for three hours!
  • There wasn't a single pony in the Pony Express, just horses!
  • A company in Taiwan makes dinnerware out of wheat, so you can eat your plate!
  • Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep him cool! He changed it every two innings!
  • A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue! Wow!
  • Congratulations Michael Bingham!
    By Dennis Parnell  
    Yvonne Moebs, Henderson County, recently presented Michael Bingham with Henderson County Safety Trainer of the Year award. Michael has been instrumental in providing safety training for 97 Henderson County employees during the year of 2007. Our own Eric Johnson and Randy Cranfill originally set this program up and Michael has carried it out. Henderson County has been able to REDUCE their Workers' Comp claims by fifty percent over the year of 2007!
    Responsibility for Safety
    by Michael Nance  

    According to many safety & health industry publications, behavior-based safety is touted as the latest and greatest solution to poor safety performance. Is this a surprise? After all, the word "behavior" is defined as the manner of conducting oneself and the response to its environment. Personally, I think it's just another phrase for what we already know, responsibility. Although it's no magic wand for injury prevention, there is data to prove that as observations go up, injuries go down. For example, how many times have you heard: "Now that the boss is gone, we can do it the way we want to." Often there is resistance to behavioral programs that promise big benefits but only result in more paperwork, less progress and a mountain of wasted time for safety teams. Your company has to be ready and willing to make changes and here are five conditions that dramatically increase the likelihood of success:


    Leadership must be active and visible in its commitment to injury and illness prevention. Managers in safe companies view safety as a line management responsibility rather than the job of the safety manager or committee. Leadership support is to a safety program as sunlight is to that young seedling; without it, sure death.


    This includes minimum OSHA compliance, accident investigation, hazard audits, record keeping systems, etc. Safety must be able to walk before it can be expected to run. More advanced programs like observation, safety involvement teams, job safety analysis, accountability, etc. all rely on the basics being in place. As enthusiastic as the leader may be about safety, if the programs do not align with the boss' message, behavior change won't last. One note here, to be truly serious about safety, "minimum" just doesn't cut it.


    A safety involvement team/committee is ideal for managing observation data and corrective action. Teams are the link between individual coaching and program fixes. Employee involvement boosts innovation, ownership and results. Successful companies take the time to solicit suggestions and allow as many people as possible to participate in the decisions and design of the program. In large companies, one safety team to cover everything can be overwhelming. Consider forming "zone teams" that allow concentration with specific areas.


    A positive social climate of trust, openness, respect for individuals, positive reinforcement, etc. dramatically effects worker performance. A negative organizational style results when complaining replaces problem solving and coaching seems like scolding.


    What gets measured gets done! A clearly defined responsibility at every level of the organization is key for top performance. When performance evaluations include safety meeting, hazard correction, skills development and observation goals, then things get done. Unfortunately, the Safety Director, Risk Manager, Human Relations Manager are often saddled with all of the responsibility for safety and none of the authority to get things done. In many cases, these titles belong to the same person. In the world's safest companies, supervisors, managers and executives take the responsibility for safety.

    Supervisors' attitudes can make or break the process. They are the critical link to successful behavior safety programs. If they coach poorly, more problems are created in the culture. If they don't coach at all, unsafe behavior continues. Include training on observation skills, coaching skills, conflict management, problem solving and leading teams for supervisors. Using the Safety Education Department of the NCIC for accident prevention training will enhance your successful programs. We have many topics and styles that we hope everyone within your organization will take part in. If it's been awhile, you may be surprised of all the free training that your company can tap into. If you haven't attended a free 30-Hour APCAP, I strongly suggest that you check out our web site at NCIC and click on the "safety" link. Let's get everyone thinking about their responsibility for safety in 2008.

    Editor's note: Michael Nance is the NCIC Blue Ridge, Southern & Western Piedmont areas Safety Representative. If you are interested in having one of our programs in your area, please give Michael a call at 919-218-9047 or email him at nancem@ind.commerce.state.nc.us.

    From the Desk of Dennis Parnell, Director Safety Education

    What your employer pays you isn't just about the wages you see on your paycheck. Do you know what goes into the total compensation package of an employee? Even though you may pay a share of the premium for health, dental, or life insurance, your employer probably pays the lion's share. You may also have other benefits such as profit sharing, 401(k) plans with a company contribution, a pension, short- term and long-term disability, supplemental life insurance, vision insurance, and so on. Your employer may contribute to all or some of these. Your employer also pays social security taxes and Medicare taxes on your behalf.

    You may receive paid vacation, which is money the employer pays to you even though you are not there and not productive. Obviously, it is to the employer's benefit that you get some time away from work to return refreshed, which is why so many employers offer paid vacation. Sick leave and paid time off plans are not mandated by law, but employers often pay that too.

    Bonuses and other incentive awards may also be part of your total compensation package. So the next time payday comes around, remember that there is a lot more that goes into your compensation than what's on your paycheck.

    Oh, by the way, Safety is the foundation of our compensation packages.

    This makes it personal!

    Now you know. Dennis :)
    Congratulations Mel Harmon!
    By Dennis Parnell  

    Mel Harmon received the Presenter of the Year Award from NC Operation Lifesaver. This is a program we teach to raise awareness of safety at Railroad Crossings. Mel won Rookie of the Year last year! Good job Mel and Thanks!
    NC Industrial Commission Safety Education Section

    The NC Industrial Commission Safety Education Section stands ready to assist you with your Safety training needs. We offer a variety of courses, designed to suit your needs. Please give one of our Industrial Safety Representatives a call.

    Director Safety Education
    parnelld@ind.commerce.state.nc.us</ td>
    APCAP & APW Coordinator
    Southeastern Region & HAZWOPER Trainer
    Western Carolina Area
    Defensive Driving & Work Zone Traffic Instructor
    Mid-State Area & Water/Wastewater Coordinator
    Blue Ridge & Southern/Western Piedmont Areas
    Central Piedmont Area
    Eastern & Northeastern Areas, Eastern Defensive Driving Instructor

    We Are Working for You!
    NC Industrial Commission


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    Tooting Our Horn!

    Michael Bingham, one of your employees, just spent three days training us on many safety topics. He has a world of knowledge in his head and has a very unique way of presenting that captures the attention of all. Thanks very much for your help. We enjoy having this guy. Keep him around and give him a big raise, He is one of a kind. - Louise Kehoe, Honeywell, Mars Hill, NC

    Mel Harmon regarding his Defensive Driving class he did recently for Henderson County, employee comments were very good. They said that "they loved him".- Yvonne Moebs, Henderson County

    Alvin Scott The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island would like to thank you for the Safe Driving training you conducted for all our Staff on December 4, 2007, and once again on December 20, 2007. Your flexibility and willingness to conduct two programs to accommondate our work schedule is very much appreciated. Your professional knowledge on safe driving techniques, and your outstanding video presentation will enable the staff to meet required driving safety standards. - Jennifer Gamiel, Admissions/Visitor Services and Joe Malat, Director NC Aquariums

    30 Hour Accident
    Prevention Certificate
    Awareness Program

    January 14-18 - Wilmington, NC
    February 18-22 - Manteo, NC
    June 23-27 - Hendersonville, NC
    August 11-15 - Sanford, NC
    September 8-12 - Atlantic Beach, NC
    October 27-31 - Asheboro, NC



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