May 2008
N.C. Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin

"Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up." - Robert Frost

Greetings Friends in the Name of Safety:

Please join us in welcoming KIM NADEAU as our newest Team member. Kim has been acting as our Temporary Program Assistant since December and she now is a full-time member of our Team. Please give her a call at 919-807-2603 to welcome her!

Just Around the Corner! NC Statewide Safety Conference is coming May 13 - 16, 2008. Please make plans to attend NOW! You can pre-register online by CLICKING HERE

APCAP is coming to Western North Carolina in June!

If you haven't already registered for our Accident Prevention Certificate Awareness Program June 23- 27, 2008 in Flat Rock, not to worry, you still have time.

You can register by clicking here

We would like to say Good Bye, Good Luck and THANK YOU to a valued employee, Eric Johnson. Eric has dedicated the past ten years of his life serving the employees of North Carolina with their safety training needs at the NCIC. As he transitions into his new position with DENR, we wish him God's Speed in his new job!

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.

Mind Your Mower!

As warmer months approach, so do visions of ballgames, barbecues, and yard work. Though many people dread the constant mowing, trimming, and watering, few realize that the work, particularly the use of a lawn mower, can actually be quite dangerous. Each year, over 70,000 people sustain injuries caused by lawn mowers. Potential injuries include deep cuts, loss of fingers or toes, broken bones, burns, and eye injuries. These injuries can be sustained not only by the operator of the mower, but by anyone nearby.

Since a mower blade can travel at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, it can be very dangerous, but not just for your hands and feet: a blade traveling that fast is also a hazard to your eyes, since any run-over object can quickly become a dangerous projectile. Weed trimmers can also turn yard debris into projectiles.

Before you begin mowing or trimming, it is a good idea to prepare the lawn by checking it for items such as sticks, rocks, and toys. Make a note of objects that are permanent, like pipes, partially buried rocks, or aboveground roots so you can take care to avoid them. Running over a fixed object can potentially shatter the mower blade and throw bits of metal from the machine.

In general, make sure other people, especially children, are out of the area. Do not mow when grass is wet, and be especially careful mowing on inclines. Most importantly, never leave a running mower unattended. When in doubt, always consult your owner's manual and follow its instructions carefully.

Finally, to minimize the risk of injury while mowing, you should wear:

- Clothes that fit close to your body,

- Long pants and sleeves,

- Sturdy leather shoes,

- Protective eye equipment, and

- Hearing protection.
Love a Summer Swim?
    Watch Those Kids!

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 260 children under the age of five drown in swimming pools each year. A backyard pool, a lake, a fountain, or even a shallow pond can all be extremely dangerous for curious and energetic children, even though we don't always think of some of these as places to swim. As summer approaches, it is important to know how to keep your family safe in the water.

Even a child who knows how to swim is not drown- proof, and no one should ever swim without supervision. If a child is missing, always look in the water first; every second underwater decreases the likelihood that a child in trouble will survive. Start with these suggestions to make swimming safer:

- Surround swimming areas with barriers. Fences and walls should be at least 4 feet high.

- Make sure any gates are self-closing. The latch should be out of the reach of children.

- For an aboveground pool, remove steps and ladders when the pool is not in use.

- Keep rescue equipment and a phone next to the swimming area.

That New Car Smell...
    But is it safe?

A trip to the car dealership can induce the kind of exhilaration that allows you to believe that the most important things in the world are paint color and leather seats. To prepare for a potential purchase, you may have spent months looking for a combination of the perfect moonroof and stellar miles per gallon. And, if you're like many people, you've probably also spent some time trying to find yourself the best deal.

What you may not have sufficiently considered, however, is a vehicle's safety features. Of course, a moonroof would be nice, but could it save your life or prevent a crash? Give the importance of the following safety features some consideration before you make your next vehicle purchase:

Anti-lock brakes can shorten stopping distances on slippery surfaces by allowing a driver to fully depress the breaks without skidding or losing control.

Advanced frontal airbags use sensors to adjust for occupant size, seat position, and crash severity to determine to what extent the bags will inflate.

Side-impact airbags guard a passenger's upper body during a side-impact crash.

Side-curtain airbags provide head protection and keep passengers inside a vehicle.

Active head restraints can reduce neck injuries and whiplash if a vehicle is hit from behind.

Stability controls detect and prevent skids and slides to help a driver maintain control of a vehicle by applying braking forces to individual wheels and reducing engine power.

Tire pressure monitoring systems employ a warning light to alert the driver that tires don't have enough air to be safe.

Rear parking sensors alert the driver of a potential person or obstacle behind the vehicle when the vehicle is in reverse.

Even with all these safety features in place, crashes still occur. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conduct crash tests and score specific cars and crashes based on the outcomes. You can find out how your next car might fare in a crash by checking out their respective websites at SAFE CARS and HIGHWAY SAFETY.

    Behavior-Based Safety Training Course

The NCIC Safety Section will begin rolling out our NEW Behavior-Based Safety Training Course in June!

Checkout Mike Bingham's article below!

Please give your Safety Representative a call.
Behavior-Based Safety
by Mike Bingham   Ready to Rumble?

I've said before that safety geeks like abbreviations, acronyms, and parentheses, and I'm certainly as guilty as the rest, so don't be alarmed by the following.

Behavior-based safety (BBS) methodology is a subject that is very likely to cause a rumble whenever it comes up. It is effective, ineffective, a magic bullet, a waste of time, too expensive, very cost-effective, driven from the bottom up, or driven from the top down. It blames injured workers for accidents and removes safety responsibility from management - or it doesn't.

Behavior-based safety; love it, lump it, or learn about it.

Behavior-based safety can be a very effective addition to an existing safety management system. It can't be a system in and of itself just as an adjustable wrench can't comprise an entire tool kit for auto repair. There are just too many issues that require different approaches and tools for any given situation whether in safety, auto repair, or other discipline.

If you are considering implementing a BBS program in your facility, consider using basic project management techniques up front. Look at (read analyze) the safety culture in your facility. You will need accurate information regarding employee perceptions, skill level, management commitment, management's safety leadership, site-specific hazards and other pieces of critical information that, when viewed as a whole, provide a baseline snapshot of your current situation. Use project management techniques to identify at least the famous triple constraints of project management, time, budget, and performance criteria. If you currently use Six Sigma, replicate what you already have in place to smooth the process of designing and implementing a BBS program.

Even the term "behavior-based safety" can have negative overtones in certain contexts. BBS isn't something designed to weed out offenders. It's important that all stakeholders know and embrace this point. It is certainly used to identify at-risk behaviors, and when an at-risk behavior or unsafe act is observed, the next step shouldn't be a response that could be perceived as punishment. The proper response is to determine what caused the unsafe act to occur in the first place, then have all stakeholders work together to fix the problem. If a person is observed working without wearing safety glasses when safety glasses or personal protective equipment (PPE) are required, the observer should work with the observed employee to find out why. Are there eye hazards in the area? Have engineering controls been implemented in an effort to remove the hazard, which would negate the need for the safety glasses in the first place? If engineering controls haven't been attempted, why not? Whose behavior mandated safety glasses to be worn without first implementing proper engineering controls? Again, we try to fix the problem here - not fix blame. Maybe training on the hierarchy of safety and health controls is needed.

Looking further into the unsafe act of not wearing safety glasses when required, we should ask, "Are the safety glasses right for the job? Do they fit the wearer properly? Are they clean? Do they fog up? Are they available? Has the need for them been explained to the wearer in terms he or she can understand? What is the real or perceived "reward" for not wearing them?

It should be getting pretty obvious by now that the employee's behavior can be just a sign of a bigger illness.

Several words and terms in the preceding text are written in bold text. At-risk behavior, observed, observer, observed, engineering controls. These words that have very specific meanings for BBS use, general safety use, and some that follow emphasize classes the NCIC can teach for you.

A BBS program is largely driven by a process in which employees (observers) watch other employees (observed) while the observed employee does his or her job. In most cases it is a peer-to-peer process. For this to be effective the observer needs to have a basic understanding of the observed employees job and equally as important, a good working knowledge of basic workplace safety.

To have an understanding of the observed employees' job a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) should have been preformed, from which a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was written, from which employee training was given, to which an observer can compare the behavior of the observed employee to see if there is at-risk behavior or safe behavior occurring, either of which will now be addressed. (That was a mouthful!)

Peer-to-peer observations require that all stakeholders have skills in hazard recognition. Hazard recognition skills can be given through proper training. Observers will need training in coaching skills in order to provide the essential feedback necessary for the BBS program to work.

If all the above rhetoric seems like a list of reasons not to implement BBS, let me try to nudge that perception a little bit. If you have a fairly advanced safety management system in place, BBS may be a valuable addition to your site. If not, your company may be like most companies that have specific training requirements either on an annual or performance-based schedule. If you do, Great! We (NCIC) can teach project management techniques and use the existing training requirements you already have to lay a foundation (Six Sigma-style) to provide JSA and Hazard Recognition training to your observers so they can identify at-risk behaviors, invoke the hierarchy of safety and health controls, to add another tool to your safety toolbox in the form of a BBS program. We can supply the training part of your safety management system.

By the way (BTW), we can provide some BBS training as well. Are you ready to rumble???

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: or call: 919.218.9045

NCIC Video Library
    NEW Safety Videos

Check out our newest additions in our Video Library !

The following Titles are our newest additions to our Library.

BILLY ROBBINS "HOOKED ON SAFETY" Do your employees believe an accident-free workplace is a possibility? Let Billy Robbins convince them it is absolutely possible if they are highly motivated, committed and have a vision for it. In this unique, fast- paced presentation, one of the top motivational speakers in the safety field shows viewers how changed attitudes produce safety. Billys blend of humor, audience participation and the story of his own incident drive home the point that accidents dont just affect your life, but also the lives of everyone around you.

Workplace Violence:Customer Service and Field Personnel

Next to home, our work is often the most familiar and secure part of our lives. Unfortunately, incidents of on- the-job violence have become so common that many people wonder if their sense of personal security at work is a false one.

This program is designed to make employees more aware of the issues related to workplace violence. How even a minor threatening incident, such as verbal abuse, can devastate an employee's sense of security.
Why all violent and aggressive behavior should be reported to management as soon as possible. The subtle warning signs of dysfunctional behavior that might mean a co-worker or other person poses a risk to the safety of yourself and others.
Several vignettes depicting this type of behavior, both in the workplace and outside with the general public.

A DUI Story

This DVD gives a detailed account of the results of the driver involved in an accident where injuries occur and the financial cost to this event. This is a MUST SEE!

Safe Lifting and Handling

Safe lifting techniques are vital to your own personal safety and health. Whether you work in housekeeping, the kitchen or the laundry room; the only person who can prevent back injuries is you!

Specifically designed for a HOTEL-TYPE environment, such as: nursing home, hospital, motel, etc. Why safe lifting is so important and the costs associated with an injured back. Discusses the spine and the three components of the back. Demonstrates the "Lever Principle" and how to lift safely.

To view the rest of our Library and download the REQUEST FORM, please CLICK HERE
Get To Know Your Commissioners
    Bernadine S. Ballance

Bernadine S. Ballance is a native of Windsor, N.C. She was appointed Commissioner in September 1994 by Governor Jim Hunt after the General Assembly expanded the Commission from three members to seven.

Commissioner Ballance's previous experience includes: Deputy Commissioner for the Industrial Commission from November 1993 through September 1994; attorney in private practice with Frank W. Ballance, Jr. & Associates, P.A., Louisburg, N.C.; attorney supervisor, N.C. Central University School of Law Civil Litigation Clinic, Durham, N.C. (part-time during 1990); staff attorney for one year and managing attorney for four years at North Carolina Central Legal Assistance Program, Henderson N.C. office from 1982 through 1987.

She earned a B.S. degree in elementary education from East Carolina University in 1968, an M.A. degree in guidance and counseling from North Carolina Central University in 1978, and a J.D. degree from the North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she graduated with honors in 1981. She was a public school teacher for approximately eight years prior to attending law school.

To e-mail Commissioner Ballance, CL ICK HERE.
The Wonderful World of Cubes
    It can frustrate you!

There's the extremely clumsy guy next to you with the perilous tin can pyramid and the 20-something on the other side of the office whose constant gum- popping makes you want to call her mother. And then there's the lady in the far corner whose cube smells like patchouli and face cream. If you've ever had the pleasure of working in a cubicle, you know that the close quarters can be unnerving at times. Here's the top five ways to avoid being as frustrating as your neighbor:

1. Treat a coworker's cube like an office - three walls or four, no one wants you barging into their space. Knocking gently on the side of a cube's entrance before you enter shows respect.

2. Know how to speak - Inside voices are not just for six-year-olds. Speak quietly and keep personal conversation to a minimum.

3. Beware of big scents - Go light on the perfume, and skip the tuna!

4. Turn it down - It's your music. It's likely that nobody else wants to "Wang Chung."

5. Mind your business - Never read a coworker's computer screen or comment on conversations you've overheard. The ease of eavesdropping in cube-world doesn't make it okay.
Magic Money!
by Michael Nance   It disappears or does it?

Recently my family re-visited Disney world in Orlando Florida. We had been several years ago and discovered that we had unused tickets that were still valid. Then a family relative let us know they had a condo within 4 blocks of Universal. With tickets and accommodations taken care of, our only expense was the gas and food. Whoa, not so fast I said to the wife. I wanted to also prepare for any safety emergency while on the road and while having fun at the parks.

As you may have read in last month's newsletter, the sun really pounds the human skin with harmful UV rays. I'd like to add a bit to that article. Some facts that I discovered at the Disney World Park kind of surprised me. (Sun Safety Alliance website)

-On average, children get three times more exposure than adults.
-As much as 80% of a person's lifetime exposure is estimated to occur by age 18!
-Concrete, sand, water and snow reflect 85% to 90% of the sun's UV rays.

We made a trip to the local drug store and got ourselves a supply of various sunscreens. Not sure if it's true, but I've been told that sunscreen looses its value of protection after a year or so. (Perhaps someone could let me know about that)

Footwear was of great importance. Considering that Magic Kingdom was open for 15 hours and our family spent 14.75 hours there, shoes were very important. Lightweight and waterproof was the criteria when we packed. Though we did not buy the name brand "Crocs", we bought a store knock-off that served the purpose at 80% savings. By the way, did I mention that Magic Kingdom is where your money "magically disappears"?

A few things that I noticed this trip as opposed to the previous visit was the AED devices located at every major ride exit. As you hear from time to time, someone dies from a heart attack and I can only assume that they are trying to prevent the bad press as well as placing a true concern for the customer. Even though signs are posted listing many warnings, some folks are willing to risk it. The mishaps however are another thing. I watched closely the workers checking for the safety bars, belts, etc. Some performed their duties thoroughly, actually checking each safety bar with a good tug and making sure that kids met height requirements. I witnessed families pitch a fit when their child was not allowed on some rides because of their height. I wonder, do these mothers and fathers think that the rules don't apply to them? Do they think the horrible stories of a child falling out of a ride won't happen to them? Others went through the motions and just "touched" the safety devices and didn't seem to worry about the rules. The attitudes were like "how quick can we get these folks in and out". Do these workers realize that their job is on the line with each and every customer, not to mention the lives of the customer?

How is it at your place of work? Is there a serious attitude of safety because it's "required"? Hopefully that's just secondary to the priority of a safe working environment. After all, our true purpose for most safety rules is to go home the same way we came into work, including visitors, customers, etc. Without injury, without equipment failure, and without production errors. Even though the folks at Disney and Universal are concerned with making a few bucks and providing a fun family vacation, they do have concern for the overall safety of the customer. While there are a few employees that skimp on safety, sooner or later, they will be caught and hopefully before an injury occurs. I only made two reports to what I thought were safety issues will in Orlando. One was slippery conditions in an area where people lined up for their turn. Someone had dropped the king sized (and probably expensive) soda on the floor. It was a dimly lit area and on a slope. I have no idea if it was addressed or not. The other safety concern was when a roller coaster worker had to be called over because my sons' seat belt on a ride would not latch. The ride operator was ready to let us fly and I had to express concern fairly loud before someone came over to help out. Once I did get help, I noticed everyone around me double checking their belts. No one checked for properly latched safety devices and I did let the "Town Hall" know, along with the names of the two workers. Again, who knows if it fell on deaf ears. But I felt I did what I could do.

Don't get me wrong, I think the folks at Disney and Universal are great people and have an outstanding safety record considering the amount of people, the types of rides, and the overall massive scope of operation. However, all it takes is for ONE deadly mishap, and it's on the news. No different from the companies in North Carolina or any other state. With that said, we can sit back and marvel at our safety records and our production achievements right? No so fast. Safety is a 24/7 priority and it must be taken seriously. You can't simply go through the motions of checking the safety bars, you have to dig in and "be" safety. Give your safety rules a tug. After all, it's primary to prevent injuries and fatalities. It's secondary to prevent citations and have the record of training up to par. Hopefully that makes sense.

Let's think about what we do in the name of safety. Get all employees involved and really make everyone aware of why things are the way they are. If something seems strange, ask questions. Form a safety committee and spend some valuable time performing a hazard analysis. Report unsafe conditions. You can prevent accidents. Put some of those magic dollars to use for safety. You might just be planting a money tree.

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
    Inspiring Trust

Tru st is a fundamental element of a business relationship, whether it is between a business and a client, or a boss and an employee. Additionally, since trust can be the one factor that makes or breaks a business relationship, it is extremely important to make building trust a priority in the workplace.

To build and maintain your trustworthiness with others:

1. Tell the truth. Though this seems obvious, telling the truth in the workplace often comes with admitting a mistake, which can be scary, even for adults. But remember, even putting a positive "spin" on your error is, in reality, a lie. Being honest, though it sometimes means admitting fault, beats losing the trust of your team or your boss.

2. Keep your promises. Do your best to keep from making commitments you cannot keep. While you might be popular when you are willing to help anyone in need, you will appear untrustworthy if you cannot deliver.

3. Behave ethically. Do the right thing, and do so consistently. Contradicting yourself is one of the quickest ways to be seen as untrustworthy.

4. Communicate. Communication is the best way to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them. When an organization's goals, values, and methods are not communicated, employees may begin to feel misled.

5. Focus on shared goals. Putting the interest of the team before your own personal goals is a great way to build trust within a team.

Once lost, trust is one of the most difficult things to recover, and being inconsistent, selfish, dishonest, or closed-minded is a quick way to lose it for good. Think of trust as the confidence people have in each other and the organization as a whole. If its own staff doesn't believe in the organization, it's likely no one else will either.

Now you know. Dennis :)
    Fun and useless tidbits

There are over 58 million dogs in the U.S!

Dogs and cats consume over $11 billion worth of pet food a year!

Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!

Humans blink over 10,000,000 times a year!

In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II was named an "Honorary Harlem Globetrotter."!

Every second, Americans collectively eat one hundred pounds of chocolate!

A fetus develops fingerprints at eighteen weeks!

An earthquake on Dec. 16, 1811 caused parts of the Mississippi River to flow backwards!

A person uses approximately fifty-seven sheets of toilet paper each day!
N.C. Industrial Commission Safety Education 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
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!
N.C. Industrial Commission


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This bulletin is designed to give general information only. It is not a law book. Further information may be obtained by writing a letter to the Executive Secretary or Workers' Compensation Information Specialists, North Carolina Industrial Commission, or by consulting with an attorney of your choice, which may be at your expense.

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