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 NC Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin
April 2009
"Arguing with a safety professional is like wrestling with a pig in a mud hole: after a while you realize he's having fun."
Greetings Friends in the Name of Safety:

As mentioned last month, we have decided to cancel all of our APCAP courses for this year except the Smithfield and Asheboro Zoo classes due to travel restrictions. 

You may register online for the SMITHFIELD course June 15 - 19, 2009 by CLICKING HERE.

You may register online for the ASHEBORO ZOO course October 26 - 30, 2009 by CLICKING HERE

The 79th Annual Statewide Safety Conference May 12 - 15, 2009 at the Joseph Koury Convention Center in Greensboro is just about here.  We are asking that you help us keep this Conference "free" by making your hotel reservations at the Koury Convention Center if at all possible.  In order to keep the charges for meeting space at a minimum, we need your support.

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. 

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!

Conquering Conflict  

 Conflict is not unique to any workplace; in fact, in almost any situation in which people with different backgrounds and opinions come together, there are likely to be disagreements and differences in priorities. 
One of the worst ways to handle interpersonal issues is to ignore them. In fact, the longer a situation is allowed to continue, the more it may fester and become even bigger, involving more employees and affecting morale. If you find yourself at odds with another employee, consider collecting your thoughts and approaching the person calmly - a heated conversation will rarely make any progress.
During the conversation, be sure to consider your role in creating the conflict instead of making accusations of the other person, and remember that a calm conversation may uncover a mere misunderstanding. If it turns out that an agreement cannot be reached, at least you'll know which topics of conversation to avoid to prevent future conflict.
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.

Life After Layoffs

More than 200,000 workers have already lost their jobs since 2009 began, and it seems that every day's news brings with it disheartening information about record unemployment figures and company layoffs. Unfortunately, when it comes to layoffs, those employees who have lost their jobs aren't the only ones suffering.
Layoffs can also be extremely hard on employees who remain in the workforce after others have been let go. Surviving employees have to deal with the emotional stress of watching their coworkers lose their jobs and the fear that they could be next. Surviving employees may also find themselves inheriting additional job duties, which can also cause increased stress.
If you've survived a layoff and you're feeling guilt, stress, or just general unease, know that you're not the only employee out there that feels that way. However, you might also want to be aware that focusing too much on a past layoff or the potential for a future layoff is not the best way to keep from being eliminated in the future.
One of the best things you can do is to take a good look at your job and see where you can be more productive. Can you save resources? Is there a task you can do more efficiently? Are there skills that you could learn that would make you more valuable to the company? Any ideas that you might have to save the company time, money, and resources could be extremely valuable in this type of economic climate.
With the increased stress of a post-layoff situation, it's also important to make sure that you take care of yourself. As you may find the need to demand more from your mind and body in order to keep up with work and also to keep your spirits up, it's one of the worst times to neglect your diet, exercise, sleep, and mental health.
Furthermore, don't let the stress you may be feeling keep you from enjoying your everyday life. Continuing to do the things you enjoy will help you to maintain a more positive attitude and keep your self-esteem up, even during a difficult time.

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
Forklifts vs Cars

Contrary to some people's beliefs, driving a forklift is not the same as driving a car, and forklift operators need to be sure to learn the differences between operating the two vehicles.
Forklifts may look small, but they can weigh more than twice as much as a car. This kind of weight is necessary for lifting heavy loads. Much of this weight is located in the large counterweight on the back of the forklift which exists to balance the load being carried.
While cars steer by turning the front wheels, forklifts steer with the rear wheels, giving it a tighter turn radius, but also causing the back end of a forklift to swing wide. Forklift operators need to take care to ensure that there is enough clearance for the truck's back end during a turn.
Automobiles use a four-point suspension system. Forklifts, however, use a three-point suspension system. This creates stability between the front tires and the center of the rear axle. A forklift will tip over if its center of gravity moves outside this "stability triangle" as it lifts and lowers loads, accelerates, brakes, and turns.
The forklift's identification plate includes much more information than is contained on the license plate of a car. You can find the unloaded weight of a forklift, its load capacity, its load center distance, its type designation, and information about its engine all on a forklift's identification plate.
To complicate matters, there are several different types of forklifts, and each different type has different controls and brings with it a different set of hazards. Since driving a forklift is not just like driving a car, you should be careful to obtain proper education about any forklift you are required to operate.


Hidden Treasures

By Michael Nance

It's springtime again.  I always enjoy being able to get out into the yard and the general outdoors to exercise in the warm sun with the cool breeze.  After being cooped up inside during the winter months, those undone projects start to call my name.  Let's see, what is on the agenda this season:
  • Remove trees damaged by the snow storm.
  • Move a 10 by 16 deck to the other side of the backyard.
  • Construct a new dog house.
  • Clean out the attic.
  • Rearrange the garage so I can find missing items.
  • Plant some new shrubs in the front yard.
  • Till up a section of the property for a summer garden.
  • Inventory the camping supplies.
Wow, I better get busy.  There's a lot to do on my list and I haven't listed but a few that just popped up.  Some of these projects are carry-overs from last year.  I dare not put something down that I'm not sure I will accomplish soon.  My wife reads this newsletter too.  With these projects comes the renewed awareness of accident prevention.  I read recently that 81 percent of injuries with powered hand tools occur in the home, not at work.  Could the reason be is that we are our own "safety director" at home?  Probably so. 
At work, we have supervisors, managers, co-workers, safety meetings, etc. that remind us to do things safely.  Not only is it a requirement but it's also a source that reminds us on a daily basis.  Even if we've doing it for years.  With the economy still a major issue, many of us will mostly likely try to repair tools and machinery rather than go out and buy new stuff.  This means taking the time to do it right.  For example, you can seriously injure your hand trying to sharpen lawn mower blades without gloves.  There are many ways to accomplish this task, but only a few safe ways.  Since there are many different styles of mowers, there isn't a one size fits all approach.  Check your manufacturer's procedure.
If one of your tasks is to finally get into that attic and decide that climbing over everything to get what you want needs attention, then you're not alone.  This is perhaps my "top of the list" item.  There are some important things to consider.  Wear a dust mask.  Not only for the obvious reason, "dust"; but for loose insulation that can become airborne.  Depending on your attic, you may need to wear safety toed shoes.  Loose nails/screws will easily poke through the sole.  Let's not forget gloves, long pants and a long sleeved shirt.  Ever get small bits of insulation on your skin?  Not an easy thing to remove is it.  An important reminder is to not forget about hydration.  Even if the temperature is cool is that musty place, you can work up a sweat and require fluid replenishment.  Take frequent breaks.  Some areas that I will need to access will require me to lie flat on my stomach.  (I need to relocate some ductwork) A final point is to be careful when leaving the attic space and not track harmful materials throughout the rest of the house.
Realize that some tasks such as cleaning out an attic may take several days.  Remember those words of "speed, ease, and comfort"?  Usually one of those words is a cause of injury.  Don't rush things and if the spouse complains that it's taking too long or that you're disrupting the house, ask them to don the PPE and start helping.  One of two things will happen.  They actually will help and you can get the job done allowing you to move to the next items on your list, or they will see that it's not as easy as it appears.  If they do help, remember to have a safety briefing.  They may not be aware of some hazards that you identified.
We all have many springtime things on our lists to take care of.  You are your own safety director in the home.  If something begins to get out of hand or you realize that you're over your head with a project, get someone with more knowledge to help.  You've heard the phrase, "Spend a little now or a lot later". 
Have fun cleaning out your attic (or basement) and remember to take precautions.  Be careful where you step, wear the PPE, lift carefully and properly, have a plan. If you haven't thought about doing this, perhaps you will now.  You might find some hidden riches to sell on eBay or at a yard sale.  My wife and I try to actually have our Christmas gift list completed by Labor Day.  Buying one or two things throughout the year doesn't hurt our budget quite as bad, however I like to make homemade gifts or share things with family they haven't seen in years.  You might find some old family treasures in the attic or basement and begin to refurbish them over the summer for some great memorable gifts.  With only spending money for cleaning supplies, your Christmas budget could turn into a nice beach get-away for yourself. 

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

From the Desk of Dennis Parnell
Director Safety Education

BTW...Distracted driving isn't safe!

Most everyone knows the dangers of being distracted while driving, and yet many people still attempt to use driving time to accomplish other tasks such as talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, and even reading the paper. All of these activities drastically increase a person's chances of causing an accident on the road, and one of the newest distractions for drivers is text messaging.
According to a Nationwide Insurance Study, an estimated 20 percent of drivers are using their phones' text messaging features to send and receive messages behind the wheel, with 16 and 17-year-olds belonging to the group that is most likely to text and drive.
A handful of states already have legislation to make texting while driving illegal, but the lack of such a prohibition shouldn't outweigh your common sense.
Anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road - even briefly - is a dangerous practice, and it's simply not worth the risk.

Please give Mel or Alvin a call today for Defensive Driving training.

Now you know. Dennis :)

Fun and useless tidbits

  • Average number of squirts from a cow's udder needed to yield a gallon of milk : 345.
  • Cats average 16 hours of sleep a day, more than any other mammal.
  • During pregnancy, the average woman's uterus expands up to five hundred times its normal size.
  • Every square inch of the human body has an average of 32 million bacteria on it.
  • Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour - about 1.5 pounds a year. By 70 years of age, an average person will have lost 105 pounds of skin.
  • In 1900 the average age at death in the US was 47.
  • On average women say 7,000 words per day. Men manage just over 2000.
The Effects of Coffee

How many times have you heard that a food or drink is astoundingly good for you, only to hear days (or minutes!) later that consuming that particular item can be hazardous for your health? Well, unfortunately, millions of people's morning pick-me-up is on that list of items that are - but are not - good for you.
There are well over 100 million coffee drinkers in the United States, many of whom start their workdays with a cup of their favorite brew. Unfortunately, according to some studies, excessive coffee drinking (five or more cups per day) can come with a heavy cost. Some of the most commonly reported consequences include: addiction, sleep troubles, anxiety, depression, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, and infertility.
But before you boycott the coffee shop, you might want to listen to the argument from the other side. Coffee is Americans' best source of antioxidants, a compound that protects your body from disease and can ward off cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Harvard researchers have analyzed coffee drinkers for more than 15 years, coming to the conclusion that men and women who drank six or more cups of coffee per day slashed their risk of diabetes by 54 percent and 30 percent, respectively, as compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Other studies have concluded that regular coffee drinkers are also considerably less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, colon cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and gallstones. There's also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and can even help control asthma attacks in the absence of medication. Coffee has also been reported by some studies to help stop headaches (even though other studies cite coffee drinking as a cause of headaches) and prevent cavities.
All this contradictory information may leave you wondering whether coffee is truly a "superfood" or whether it's harmful to your health. Unfortunately, the answer might be that it's actually both - and you simply have to take the bad with the good.

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Every leader has different strengths and weaknesses that contribute to forming their leadership style. There are many leadership styles that have been identified by consultants and experts in the field. Two common types from opposite ends of the spectrum include:
1)       Micro-manager (autocratic style)
2)       Hands-off manager (laissez-faire style)
Micro-managers do not allow direct reports to use their own judgment, but insist that everything be run past them first. They exert high levels of control over their employees, who are given few opportunities to make suggestions. It is often demeaning and frustrating for an employee to be treated as if he is not able to handle assignments on his own, and this type of management style can lead to unhappy employees who feel they are not trusted to know their jobs. Micro-managers are often a big reason for a high rate of turnover.
On the other end of the spectrum are hands-off managers, who go to opposite extremes by giving direct reports free reign - often without offering any feedback or providing any control. Although it may work for some experienced and knowledgeable self-starters, it can be problematic when managers fail to take charge when a clear leader is needed.
The most effective style is probably somewhere in between the autocratic and laissez-faire styles. A manager who allows for creativity and responsibility but still remains engaged with employees is typically the most effective style, and is also likely to allow subordinates to function at their highest levels. A good leader is adept at reading different circumstances and responds according to each particular situation.
There is no one management style that works for everyone or in every situation. The best way to manage is to try to balance what is best for each individual situation as well as for the people being led.

You're Allergic to What?

About 20 percent of Americans are affected by allergies caused by any number of everyday exposures (called allergens) ranging from specific foods and medications to pollens and pet dander. While children aren't likely to inherit specific allergies, the tendency to be allergic is thought to be genetic.
Allergies exist when a person's immune system reacts abnormally to a particular substance. Basically, the body falsely identifies allergens as a threat, causing the body to produce allergen fighting antibodies, which ultimately trigger the release of chemicals including histamine - leading to allergy symptoms.
Common, but mild allergy symptoms include sneezing, itchiness, watery eyes, or a runny nose.
In rare cases, a person's reaction to an allergen can initiate a life-threatening situation in which the entire body is affected. This is called anaphylaxis, and may include trouble breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, mental confusion or dizziness.
Allergens in the air are most likely to cause reactions in a person's eyes, nose, and lungs, while an allergen that is ingested is most likely to cause a reaction in a person's mouth, stomach, and intestines. For example, an asthma attack might be a reaction when allergens like pollen or dust are breathed into the lungs. Likewise, a person with a peanut allergy might experience an itchy mouth or become nauseous upon ingesting the allergen.
In many cases, avoiding an allergen is one of the best (and sometimes the only) ways to deal with allergies, so knowing exactly what you're allergic to is key. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are also available to help ease mild allergy symptoms, and allergy shots (which can increase a person's tolerance for a particular allergen) are also available in some cases.
People are allergic to all kinds of things, but while you might expect to hear about allergies to mold or bee stings, you might find some of the other allergens listed here to be a bit surprising.
  • Food: Common food allergies include dairy products, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, and seafood. 
  • Environmental allergens: The most common allergens, these airborne particles include dust mites, mold spores, animal dander, and pollen. People who are allergic to environmental allergens are often said to have "hay fever," which can be a problem year round, or can act up at specific times of the year.
  • Insect bites/stings: Over two million Americans are allergic to stinging insects, and have allergic reactions to bee stings, mosquito bites, or spider bites, for example. In some cases, these allergies can be quite severe, and can force a person to carry with them an emergency kit in case of a bite or sting.
  • Medicines: In some cases, the very medicines that are meant to get you healthy could actually make you sick. Penicillin and other antibiotics are allergens for some people.
  • Chemicals: Chemicals found in dyes, household cleaners, pesticides, cosmetics, or laundry detergents can all cause people to have an allergic reaction.
  • Sunlight: Though rare, an allergy to sunlight is possible in which direct sun exposure can cause a rash, hives, or even nausea.

  What Folks Are Saying...

Thank you so very much for the training you did here yesterday on HazCom.  You did a fantastic job and I hope Uncle Sam's budget cuts do not effect this valuable service.
There were 75 people in attendance yesterday, in case you need to know this.
Take care and hope to see you soon.    Brenda Roper, Greer Labs
Just wanted to take a few seconds to thank-you for completing the Confined Space Entry, Ladder and Fall Protection  safety training for Guilford County Schools Maintenance Department recently.  I have heard nothing but good comments from our participants about the training.  I think that it will certainly pay benefits in keeping the participants working safely.  Looking forward to having other classes as your schedule allows and again Thank-you.  James Smith, Guilford County Schools
About NC Industrial Commission Safety 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
Program Assistant
Western Carolina Area & APCAP & APW Coordinator
Southeastern Region & HAZWOPER Trainer

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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Afterthoughts & Regrets
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Be alert of moving equipment
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General Industry

Alcohol and the job
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Fleet Safety
Fatigue can be fatal
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N.C. Industrial Commission | 430 N. Salisbury St | Raleigh | NC | 27603