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 N.C. Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin
February 2009
"As soon as you see a mistake and don't fix it, it becomes your mistake.." ~ Author Unknown
Greetings Friends in the Name of Safety:
Whew!  One month down and eleven to go.  With economic stress, unknown financial times, and job security issues ahead, safety professionals are struggling to keep our heads above water.  As we continue to seek ways to help keep our employees safe and save our employers bucks, we're always looking for new ideas to get the job done.  Help is not too far away!  Mark your calendars and tell your boss the good news.  The 79th Annual Statewide Safety Conference will be held May 12 - 15, 2008 at the Joseph Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC.

There's no better way to gain knowledge at a affordable cost...ZERO REGISTRATION!  This year promises to be another great conference with quality speakers and great topics.  Our VENDORS will be there in full force to provide you with new ideas and products too!

Travel is being cut back by everyone, but this is a conference you will not want to miss.  The theme this year is "SAFETY - A NEW YEAR!"  Come for one day or stay for the entire conference.  For those needing WATER & WASTEWATER CREDIT HOURS, Tuesday is the day!  You can get all six of your critical hours at no cost. 

We have moved the SAFETY TALK CONTEST to Wednesday morning this year to help you get more value for the day as well.  NETWORKING is always rewarding at our Vendor sponsored Reception Wednesday evening from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. 

Thursday will have a great EXECUTIVE SESSION plus many topics during the afternoon to peak your interest.  By the way, the GRAND PRIZE drawing sponsored by our VENDORS promises to be awesome again this year.  To be eligible to win, you will need to visit each booth and have the vendors sign your card.

You won't want to miss Friday morning to hear what OSHA has to say either.

By CLICKING HERE you can pre-register for the conference and download and PRINT the program to show your boss why they can't afford not to send you to this conference this year. There's no better way to face the challenges of 2009!

We look forward to a great conference and hope to see you there!

But What Can I do?  
The other day I heard one of our company's employees ask "What can I do about accident prevention, since I only work here?" Well, we all work here, and presumably we all want our worksite to be as safe and healthful as possible.  That won't happen, though, if we pass the buck.
In reality there's a great deal that every one of us can do about accident prevention.  It has to do with being continuously alert to possible hazards and following safe work practices and procedures-just the sort of thing we discuss in these talks. 
Here are just 10 guidelines to "what I can do" and what each of us can do:
1.   Know your job.  Follow all instructions, and if you are not sure of exactly how to carry out an assigned operation, ask your foreman before you begin.
2.   Use tools properly.  Select the right ones-the  ones designed for the job.  Be sure they're in good condition.  Put them away when you finish. 
3.   Practice good housekeeping.  Keep your work area clean and orderly, with nothing in the aisles to create a tripping hazard.  Clean up spills promptly. Dispose of scrap properly.
4.   Develop good lifting habits.  Remember the training you've had in this, especially: lifting with your legs, not your back, and getting help for loads you can't  easily handle alone.  Likewise be ready to team-lift with a co-worker.
5.   Avoid falls.  Watch where you're going.  If using a ladder, set it up properly, face it when climbing up or down, using both hands, and don't overreach.  Don't overload scaffolds and keep them clear of excess materials.
6.   Dress safely for work.  Leave your jewelry at home or keep it in a pocket.  Wear sturdy, low-heeled shoes.  Wear short sleeves or keep long sleeves buttoned at the wrist.  Don't wear gloves or a long hair style around machines.
 7.   Use required personal protective equipment.  Wear a hard hat, gloves, safety shoes and glasses, or whatever specialized equipment the job calls for.  That way you avoid both injury and disciplinary action.
8.   Be alert around machinery.  Stand clear of  moving equipment and overhead loads.  Never get on or off moving equipment.  Never bypass machine guards.  Follow lockout procedures as needed and observe all warning signs and tags.   

9.   Report all accidents and near-miss incidents.  Determining the causes can help prevent further incidents that could have more serious results.  Get prompt first aid for cuts and scratches-minor injuries can become a major problem if infection sets in. 

10.Avoid horseplay and practical joking.  They can easily get out of control and cause serious harm.  Discourage others from engaging in such activities.

Regional Safety Councils

Please do not forget to support your Regional Safety Councils by joining their membership ranks and participating in their scheduled events.  For membership applications, see the Quick Links to the right.

Are You SAD?

Fall and winter can seem a bit dreary and monotonous, but for some people these months can bring with them serious symptoms of depression, hopelessness, and anxiety - all of which are associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
SAD is a seasonal condition that usually appears as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. In addition to the symptoms listed above, sufferers of SAD might also tend to sleep more than usual, gain weight, or withdraw from social activities.
Some experts think that winter SAD is caused in part by a lack of sunlight since the disorder is much more common in the northern United States. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), women are more likely than men to develop this disorder, which will typically begin in their twenties.
While SAD is most likely to begin in October or November and subside in March, the effects and timing of the illness can vary widely with each individual. People who work in office buildings with few windows may find that symptoms persist throughout the year.
In rare cases, SAD can also occur during the summer months (sometimes termed "reverse SAD"). When this is the case, symptoms are more likely to include insomnia, decreased appetite or weight loss, and anxiety.
If you experience mild forms of the above symptoms, you may want to increase the lighting in your typical living and working areas. You might also want to try spending more time outdoors in natural sunlight during the fall and winter months. If your symptoms are severe, however, and affect your daily living, you should consult a mental health professional to determine the most appropriate treatment.

NCIC Video Library 

Check out our Video Library !

View our online Video/DVD listings. The new listings are in RED.

To view the rest of our Library and download the REQUEST FORM, please CLICK HERE
A Heads-up On Desktop Ergonomics

Sitting at a desk looks easy, but poor desktop design can make it feel like you've been lifting weights all day. Pain, swelling, stiffness, burning, or numbness may be symptoms of a musculoskeletal disorder. Working in a neutral posture makes it less likely that you'll develop tendonitis, trigger finger, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Set it up right

Good ergonomics involves setting up your computer workstation to let you work in the most comfortable position. Hands, wrists, and forearms should be straight, in line, and roughly parallel to the floor. Adjust the tilt of your keyboard to keep your wrists and forearms in a neutral position. Face forward with your head level or bent slightly forward. The top of the computer monitor should be at or just below eye level.

Work right

When working at your desk keep your shoulders relaxed. Your upper arms should hang normally at the sides of the body. You should be able to keep your elbows close to your sides. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor or are supported by a footrest. They should be slightly forward of your knees. Your back should be fully supported when you sit up straight or lean back slightly.
Use a well-padded seat to support your thighs and hips. Adjust your chair so your thighs are generally parallel to the floor with your knees at about the same height as your hips. Adjusting your chair is of little benefit if you still need to constantly reach or lean to do your work.
Even if your work station is set up correctly, it's still a good idea to make small adjustments throughout the day. Take short breaks to move around and do some stretching exercises. There is no one set-up that is save and comfortable for everyone, but following these basic guidelines can help make your workspace more user-friendly.


Do you need an expensive Smith & Wesson or a BB gun?

By Michael Nance

It is my intent to give the homeowner or small business an overview of the security risks and countermeasures associated with Internet connectivity, especially in the environment of "always-on" or broadband access services such as cable modems and DSL (Digital Subscriber Line).  Some of this content is also relevant to conventional dial-up users.  Anyone that connects to an additional computer in any manner is using a network.
To really understand the message, I need to define what computer network security really is.  It is the development and detecting unlawful use of your computer or network.  Prevention measures help stop unauthorized users from gaining access to any part of your computer system.  Detecting helps reveal whether or not someone attempted to break into your system, if they were successful, and what they may have done.  Well, who wants to break into my computer?  There are typically two types of folks;  identity theft and hackers.  Often they want to gain manipulation of your system so they can use it to launch attacks on other computer networks, therefore giving it an appearance that you were the hacker.  Gaining control of your computer gives the ability to hide their true identity, often against high profile computer networks.  Most familiar to the average home system is SPAM (Mail Abuse Prevention System).  It uses your email address and broadcasts out to hundreds of other computers.  Sometimes right under your nose without the owner knowing anything has taken place.
Unfortunately, intruders are always uncovering new "holes" to exploit in computer software.  Then holes are discovered, computer vendors will usually utilize patches to address the problem.  However, it is up to individual home or business to acquire and install the patches, or correctly configure the software to operate more securely.  Some software applications have default settings that permit other users to access your computer unless you modify the settings to be more secure.
Let's also define broadband, cable modem and DSL.  Broadband is a general term used to refer to high-speed networks connections.  In this framework, Internet connections via cable modem and DSL's are regularly referred to as broadband Internet connections.  Not to be confused, bandwidth is the term used to depict the relative speed of a network connection.  There is (to my knowledge) no threshold required for a connection to be referred to as broadband but it is typically in excess of 1 Mbps to be so named.  So, be careful when a salesperson says they can get you "cheap" Internet connections.  Cable modems are probably most common in the workplace.  It usually has an Ethernet LAN (Local Area Network) connection and is capable of speeds in excess of 5Mbps.  Have you been concerned that you home computer has been getting slow in regard to Internet speed?  Could be that your whole neighborhood is connected to the same LAN.
Hey, that sounds great and I've seen antivirus software.  Does it work?  Yes they do and there are many selections out there in various costs.  Even if you buy the best, a disaster can still strike, so if you have done so, please backup your data.  If you're like me, you have photos, tax info, and other valuable documents store on the computer.  Not that it's worth anything to someone, but it cannot be replaced if destroyed.  Don't forget that you need to buy a program that offers continuous updates.
Okay, I understand but what is really at risk?  There are three main areas:
Confidentiality - information should be available only to those who rightfully have access to it.
Integrity - information should be modified only by those who are authorized to do so.
Availability - information should be accessible to those who need it when they need it.
Think about it for a minute.  You want to keep information confidential, whether it's a customer list, rates, financial data, payroll or simply email.  Some of these schemes are really tricky.  One of them is called a Trojan horse.  These are programs that appear to be one thing, such as a game, but really execute unwanted instructions on the victim's computer.  How about Hidden File Extensions?  These are multiple email borne viruses that exploit hidden file extensions that are usually found in email attachments.
If you access the Internet for work through a home computer, your employer may have policies or measures relating to security of your home network.  Using a firewall is another means of security.  The name implies it all.  It is a computer "wall" that stops illicit messages from entering the protected network.
A tip we've all heard:  Do not open unknown email attachments or run programs of unknown origin.
You can also disable hidden filename extensions in the Windows operating system using the option of "Hide file extensions for known file types".  However there can still be file extensions to remain hidden.  Make regular backups or critical data.  Use a Zip drive or recordable CD-ROM disks.  These should be stored away from the computer in case of theft and fire, or any other disaster.  Preferably at an off-site location.
We've come a long way in computers.  Remember when your "computer room" was actually a large room with one or two computers?  The Internet began in 1969 as the ARPANET, a project funded by the ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) of the US Department of Defense.  Fast forwarded:  Whether a single computer or a large network, all users have to guard against hackers.  A person's identity, whether dead or alive, could be stolen and used in committing crimes.  Initiating countermeasures for security purposes at the basic levels can help eliminate an easy job for an intruder.  Depending on the budget or revenue, a person or small business can spend thousands of dollars (A Smith & Wesson) to improve security for a personal computer or a complete network.  However, many ideas are inexpensive ( A BB Gun) and should be a part of anyone's basic security plan.  Your ammo is your knowledge.

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
Don't Look At the Wreck!

By Mike Bingham

Lou Tice, former high school teacher and football coach, now Chairman of the Pacific Institute, Inc., made a great point in one of his seminars that has stayed with me through the years.  He was talking about handling adversity and tough times, and he said something to the effect that when a race car driver is having a wreck, he doesn't look where he is wrecking, but out ahead to where he expects to recover.
As a past race car driver (hobbyist) myself, I can relate to that.  When the wrecks started I was always looking for an opening, trying to steer,  accelerate, move toward a better situation.  Sometimes I would head straight for a wreck happening in front of me, and with a little luck it would be gone by the time I got there, sometimes not.  But the idea was always the same - look toward the recovery, not at the wreck.
Someone said the economy is a wreck, and I have a sneaking suspicion that may be true.  If you have a sneaking suspicion that your company is involved in the economic wreck, now is a prime time to start looking out to where you will recover, and looking at your company's experience modification factor is a good starting line. 
If you could use a refresher on experience modification factors, go to CLICK HERE which is a link to a past Safety Bulletin from the NCIC that has a fine article on the subject.  I won't rehash it in this bulletin, but there's a table in the article for illustrative purposes.

As you can see, the difference in the cost of the premium for a company with a mod rate of 0.90 and a company with a mod rate of 1.2 is $24,000.00.  In normal times and better economies, a $24,000.00 savings is definitely worthwhile.  Today it is even more important in and of itself, but let's look at it from a different aspect.
The $24,000.00 difference in cost has to come from profits.  Assuming your company operates at a 5% profit margin, you will have to have an additional $480,000.00 in business volume to pay the extra premium.  In this economy it may be difficult or even impossible to generate the extra sales that generate the needed profit. If your profit margin is 3% the extra business volume is a whopping $800,000.00.  That could put a lot of companies on thin ice with the sun coming out!
EMF, sometimes called the mod rate, is calculated on a three-year interval.  Eliminating or reducing injuries in your workplace can give you a recovery point to look at, so to speak. By avoiding the injury altogether you will have a cost-avoidance up front.   (Current cost estimates of a lost time injury are now $38,000.00 which would incur the need for $777,760.00 in increased business volume at 5% profit margin.)  If you get a $24,000.00 Workers' Comp premium reduction and avoid the inferred $480,000.00 at 5% profit margin, doing a little math, 38000 +  24000 shows a total savings of $62,000.00. Avoided business volume demand is 777760 + 480000 which equals $1,257,760.00, and that's a good recovery.
If you're gonna develop 1.26 million dollars in business volume you might as well keep the profit!  Now is not the time for accidents, injuries and illnesses in your workplace. Contact your region's NCIC safety rep for some free training!  No additional business volume required!


Editor's Note:  Mike Bingham is the Western Area Safety Representative for the NCIC, and one of the 10 members of the NCIC's Safety Department who are out there Working for You!!!to make N.C. workplaces safer and better by reducing injuries to employees and saving money for employers through education and training. You can contact Mike at: or call: 919.218.9045


From the Desk of Dennis Parnell
Director Safety Education

Networking, not as complicated as you think...

So, you've been assigned to hire a new worker, help design the new office space, and give recommendations on the best type of software to buy. Or, maybe you were just wondering if you should apply for the transfer to that open position in another state. A network of contacts would be able to help you with any of these concerns.
Networking is really just getting to know people. It starts with a conversation, but behind the pleasantries, networking is business, and in business you want a return on your investment. Give and take is the basis of networking. Be sure to recognize that the same contact person who is providing you with information also sees you as a potential source of help. 
When you exchange contact information with a networking partner, remember to be open to requests for help. At first, you may feel a little put out by being asked for a recommendation or other information from someone who is virtually a stranger. As you develop working relationships, though, you'll build trust with your networking partners, and you'll feel more comfortable both giving and taking within the network.
An open-ended network can yield good results. Just because you use your networking skills to help you on the job is no reason to limit it only to people you meet through some kind of work relationship. The widest variety of networking contacts will offer the most diversity in opportunities. 
You probably don't think of your family, friends, and neighbors as part of your career network, but you would probably help them with their career paths if you could. With that, they're already part of your network.
Network contacts should help you, but they shouldn't do your work for you. Networking ensures that you will have help available when you need it. You'll feel better about yourself, too, since networking provides opportunities to help others.

Our Regional Safety Councils and APCAP programs are a wonderful way to network with other safety professionals.

Now you know. Dennis :)

Fun and useless tidbits

  • Saturday mail delivery in Canada was eliminated by Canada Post on February 1, 1969!
  • The only wood used by famed London cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale was mahogany.
  • When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour. To photograph the event, a camera must shoot at a millionth of a second!
  • One ragweed plant can release as many as one billion grains of pollen!
  • There are more than 10 million bricks in the Empire State Building!
  • If you counted 24 hours a day, it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion!
  • Taphephobia is the fear of being buried alive!
  A sprinkling about eyewash & safety showers

Whenever you are required to work around hazardous substances, you are at risk of getting the substance in your eyes or on your skin. Thankfully, you can prevent painful injury or even permanent vision damage if you are prepared for such accidents.
If a chemical burns your eyes or splashes on your skin, the first thing to do is to flush them immediately with lots of water using an emergency eyewash or shower. If a does get in your eyes, keep them open while flushing them for at least 15 minutes (20 to 30 minutes for stronger chemicals). Be aware that any delay in flushing chemicals out of your eyes or off your skin can aggravate an injury.
Knowing the location of an eyewash or shower and knowing how to properly use them will help minimize the effects of the injury on the job. However, you should still seek professional medical assistance after any accident that requires emergency flushing.

Window Safety

Though it may not occur to many people, windows play a critical role in home safety, particularly when it comes to children. While windows can save lives in the event of a fire, falls from windows are almost certain death for young children. To maintain a home full of safe windows:
- Limit open windows to those out of reach of children.
- Make sure your screens are in good repair, but realize that screens alone are unlikely to keep children from falling out a window.
- Do not place furniture near enough to a window that a child could climb to reach the window.
- Develop an emergency escape plan and practice it regularly. Carefully explain to children how to safely escape from a window.
- Make sure there are no windows in your home that are painted or nailed shut.
- Make sure that there is at least one window in each living and sleeping area that can be used as an escape in an emergency.


2009 Accident Prevention Certificate Awareness Program (APCAP) COURSES

We are accepting registrations for our  BASIS & ADVANCED APCAP in 2009.  In order to participate in the ADVANCED course, you must have completed the BASIC 30-hour APCAP.  The ADVANCED APCAP will be two days of intense training to further assist you with your Safety & Health programs.

Here are the DATES AND LOCATIONS for 2009:

June 15 - 19, 2009 - Smithfield, NC (Basic course ONLY)
August 17 - 21, 2009 - BASIC - Flat Rock, NC
August 17 - 18, 2009 - ADVANCED - Flat Rock, NC
August 31 - September 4, 2009- BASIC - Atlantic Beach, NC
August 31 - September 1, 2009 - ADVANCED - Atlantic Beach, NC
October 26 - 30, 2009-BASIC - Asheboro Zoo, Asheboro, NC
October 26 - 27, 2009 - ADVANCED - Asheboro, NC

Why Love is Good for You

By: Eric Johnson


February is American Heart Month - the perfect time to make sure you understand how the right diet and lifestyle choices can help you take care of your heart. But in addition to being a fitting month to focus on the physical health of your heart, February also brings Valentine's Day, and with it, an opportunity to celebrate the fabulous effects love can have on your heart.


Studies have increasingly shown that love has an impact on a person's emotional and physical well-being. For example, one such study from Case Western University in Ohio showed that while negativity can adversely affect a person's immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular function, loving acts can actually work to neutralize those effects.


It may not come as a surprise, then, that receiving love can also help you to stay healthy. A study out of Duke University observed 1,400 people with heart disease and found that people who had a spouse or close loved one in their lives died at one-third the rate of those who did not have a close loved one.


Research has also shown that individuals in a happy, healthy marriage are better equipped to handle stress, and often have a wider support network than do single people. People who are married also tend to adopt more healthy behaviors - the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in 2004 that married couples are far less likely to be smokers or regular drinkers.


True, researchers spend months - even years - trying to understand the precise reasons for love's health-boosting capabilities. While there may well be science behind it, the simple fact is that having someone to share life with often reduces stress and increases positive feelings, both of which are great for the health of your heart and your overall well-being..

Eric Johnson is the Mid-State Safety Representative and Water/Wastewater Coordinator and covers a fourteen county area around Raleigh. Please call 919-218-3567 to schedule training.

Advanced Ergonomics

There are 60 businesses in North Carolina screening new hires through the Advanced Ergonomics, Inc. Physical Abilities Testing Program.
Industry types include food and beverage distribution, manufacturing, trucking, transportation, healthcare, and municipalities.

                           Total        Total      Total         Pass
                          Tested     Passed    Failed        Rate
All NC Applicants   6936        5205      1371       75.04%

25% of North Carolina job applicants who are screened through this program fail to meet the physical requirements of the jobs to which they apply
Are you hiring your next Workers' Compensation claim
by not screening your applicants?
To find out more, contact
800-682-0169 x 211
  Welcome Our First ADVANCED APCAP Class
Our appreciation goes out to all the participants in the first-ever Advanced APCAP class!  Participation was great.  It was great getting reacquainted with the participants who had already attended one or more of the Basic APCAPs in the past.  These folks are to be commended for their continued quest for safety excellence and for their dedication to improving the safety in their workplaces.  Their employers are also to be commended for letting these participants have the time and resources to attend this training in a time when resources are so badly limited.  These things are what safety dedication is made of.

Our next ADVANCED course will be help August 17 & 18 at the Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, NC.

Our next BASIC course will be June 15-19 in Smithfield, NC. 
About N.C. Industrial Commission Safety Section
The N.C. 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
Program Assistant
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

For more information...
Contact Dennis Parnell or
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May 12 - 15, 2009

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