July 2007
NC Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin

"We need you! Work safely"

Greetings friends in the name of safety:

I am spending the week of July 4th on Topsail Island and the weather is beautiful. 'Tis the season! As you make plans to go on vacation with your family, please remember to pack your SAFETY KNOWLEDGE.

Your REGIONAL SAFETY COUNCILS are continuing to work for you as well, so please refer to the calendar section of our Safety Bulletin for more information.

Don't forget our APCAP programs coming up. You can check the dates and locations elsewhere in this Bulletin as well.

Again, we thank you for your support and we pledge to continue to serve your needs. We remain open to your suggestions to improve our programs and promise to continue to provide quality ACCIDENT PREVENTION training programs.

Heat Stress

High temperatures and humidity stress the body's ability to cool itself, and heat illness becomes a special concern during hot weather. There are three major forms of heat illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, with heat stroke being a life threatening condition.

Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are muscle spasms which usually affect the arms, legs, or stomach. Frequently they don't occur until sometime later after work, at night, or when relaxing. Heat cramps are caused by heavy sweating, especially when water is replaced by drinking, but not salt or potassium. Although heat cramps can be quite painful, they usually don't result in permanent damage. To prevent them, drink electrolyte solutions such as Gatorade during the day and try eating more fruits like bananas.

Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is more serious than heat cramps. It occurs when the body's internal air-conditioning system is overworked, but hasn't completely shut down. In heat exhaustion, the surface blood vessels and capillaries which originally enlarged to cool the blood collapse from loss of body fluids and necessary minerals. This happens when you don't drink enough fluids to replace what you're sweating away. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include: headache, heavy sweating, intense thirst, dizziness, fatigue, loss of coordination, nausea, impaired judgment, loss of appetite, hyperventilation, tingling in hands or feet, anxiety, cool moist skin, weak and rapid pulse (120- 200), and low to normal blood pressure.

Somebody suffering these symptoms should be moved to a cool location such as a shaded area or air- conditioned building. Have them lie down with their feet slightly elevated. Loosen their clothing, apply cool, wet cloths or fan them. Have them drink water or electrolyte drinks. Try to cool them down, and have them checked by medical personnel. Victims of heat exhaustion should avoid strenuous activity for at least a day, and they should continue to drink water to replace lost body fluids.

Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a life threatening illness with a high death rate. It occurs when the body has depleted its supply of water and salt, and the victim's body temperature rises to deadly levels. A heat stroke victim may first suffer heat cramps and/or the heat exhaustion before progressing into the heat stroke stage, but this is not always the case. It should be noted that, on the job, heat stroke is sometimes mistaken for heart attack. It is therefore very important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stroke - and to check for them anytime an employee collapses while working in a hot environment. The early symptoms of heat stroke include a high body temperature (103 degrees F); a distinct absence of sweating (usually); hot red or flushed dry skin; rapid pulse; difficulty breathing; constricted pupils; any/all the signs or symptoms of heat exhaustion such as dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, or confusion, but more severe; bizarre behavior; and high blood pressure. Advance symptoms may be seizure or convulsions, collapse, loss of consciousness, and a body temperature of over 108° F.

It is vital to lower a heat stroke victim's body temperature. Seconds count. Pour water on them, fan them, or apply cold packs. Call 911 and get an ambulance on the way as soon as possible.

Anyone can suffer a heat illness, but by taking a few simple precautions, they can be prevented:
  • Condition yourself for working in hot environments - start slowly then build up to more physical work. Allow your body to adjust over a few days.
  • Drink lots of liquids. Don't wait until you're thirsty, by then, there's a good chance you're already on your way to being dehydrated. Electrolyte drinks are good for replacing both water and minerals lost through sweating. Never drink alcohol, and avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee and pop.
  • Take a break if you notice you're getting a headache or you start feeling overheated. Cool off for a few minutes before going back to work.
  • Wear light weight, light colored clothing when working out in the sun.
  • Take advantage of fans and air-conditioners.
  • Get enough sleep at night.
With a little caution and common sense, you can avoid heat illnesses. Check out our video library for a video on Heat Stress.
Got First Aid? (Training that is)
by Michael Nance  

How many of you like "Trilogies"? I admit that some movie themes just don't work the second or third time around. Jaws, Jaws II, Jaws in 3D, I got it the first time; a shark's bite will injure you. In a previous article, I mentioned the use of having knowledge of First Aid before and during a hiking trip. This is my trilogy with encounters of nature, sort of. If you missed part 2, go to the web site www.comp.state. nc.us and click "safety" on the right side of the screen. Scroll down near the bottom of the page and check out the May/June Newsletter. While you're there, please browse the entire site for other news, events, and our free services. For part 1, you'll have to attend a 30-hour APCAP.

If I am not mistaken, Lesson Nine of the First Aid 4- hour National Safety Council course deals with the topic of Shock. Though the booklet doesn't address anaphylactic shock in detail, the DVD and the lecture portion of the lesson does. Many folks have been stung in their childhood and never had an allergic reaction. Then without warning, years later you get stung or bitten by an insect and have a major reaction. This happened to me about eight years ago. Several of you have heard me give a short description of events leading up to and during this "special" time for me. I was stung directly on the left eye by a yellow-jacket. Because I had not taken a First Aid course of quite some time, I was not familiar with the symptoms of anaphylaxis shock, but my wife was. I felt itchy and thought I better take a shower. Not realizing I was turning red from head to toe, I stepped out of the shower only to pass out into her arms. She had already called a neighbor and 911. Roughly ten seconds later my first thought was to get clothes on before someone arrived; her thought was to get quick treatment. After all, a person had recently died of a bee sting reaction in our community just two weeks prior.

Several hours later and after excellent treatment by the EMT, I was fine, except for a swollen shut left eye. I now carry an EpiPen in my car and have one for easy access in my garage when working outdoors. By the way, if you carry one, check the expiration dates and replace if needed.

Eight years have passed and I have been "sting free", until this past Saturday. Cleaning yard debris after a storm had passed, I reached down to pick up some fallen limbs and it happened. The wasp decided he was just a tad upset and let me know, right above the right kneecap. I thought to myself, here we go again. However this time, I had an EpiPen to use and had some knowledge of First Aid to fall back on. I was able to limp to the First Aid kit and take an oral medication while putting some ice on the sting area. My eleven year old daughter stood ready to call 911 since my wife was not home. She knew where to get the EpiPen because we have discussed and practiced different emergencies at our home. Fortunately, the EpiPen wasn't needed because I didn't have an allergic reaction, only a baseball size pain area. Unlike most other allergies, insect allergy can cause a life-threatening disruption to breathing and circulatory systems. For one person in 100, the sting of an insect can be fatal. It is estimated that between one and two million people in the United States are severely allergic to stinging insect venom. Each year 90 to 100 deaths from sting reactions are reported, but many more deaths may be occurring, mistakenly diagnosed as heart attacks, sunstrokes or attributed to other causes. More people die each year from the effects of insect venom than from spider or snake bites.

Now I am asking you to think for a moment about your CPR/First Aid training. Has it been a while? If it's been more than 3 years since the First Aid course or 2 years since the CPR course, you are due for a refresher course. Do you have a "Quick Guide" for your First Aid kit? No? Schedule a session and you'll get one. Does your company only train first responders in CPR/First Aid? If so, perhaps you can get a group together and ask for a NC Industrial Commission safety representative to conduct a session for you. Expensive you say? Let me remind you, our courses are free and the workbook for CPR and First Aid is a very small charge through the National Safety Council. In addition to the CPR and First Aid sessions, we'll also cover the AED and Blood borne Pathogens all in the same day. Don't just train a few select people; give your employees additional training that can benefit them at work AND at home. Give us a call and schedule your CPR/First Aid training today. You be glad you did and your employees will appreciate it.

Editor's note: Michael Nance is the NCIC Blue Ridge & 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

by Randy Jackson   Destructive. . . Deceiving. . . Determined. . . and Deadly

It was a day like any other late June day; partly cloudy, warm, humid and there was a threat of those pesky showers and thunderstorms that develop during the afternoon and evening hours. As evening approached, the storms began to pop; just like kernels of corn popping in the micro-wave. Without warning lightning bolted from a storm and struck a house on Southwind Drive in Greensboro setting it on fire. Just like that, without warning thousands of dollars in damage to the home and its contents confronted the family who lived there. Luckily, none of the family members were hurt by the lightning or resulting fire.

A twenty-nine year old Georgia construction worker was working on a new home south of Cumming, Georgia. Lightning hit the home, traveled through the building and hit the man, sending him into cardiac arrest. Despite life-saving efforts, the man died. This tragic incident took place at the end of June.

That is how it happens, and what makes lightning so dangerous. We go about our normal business and suddenly the strike comes; in most cases without warning. We tend to experience the lightning threat so many times over the course of the year we pay little attention to it. We feel safe in believing that "it will never happen to us". When it does, we are usually unsuspecting and unprepared.

In my consulting work, I have people tell me all the time that their plan for lightning safety is just fine. "In fact", they say, "We have never had a lightning incident take place at our facility." Factually, their statement may be correct; operationally their perception is seriously flawed.

One of the characteristics of lightning that makes it so dangerous is that ninety-one per cent of the time it involves just one victim. We would view the threat with much greater thought if each lightning incident involved multiple victims. In an average year, North Carolina experiences about a half-million ground lightning strikes, so the potential is real. Unfortunately, our state continues to rank among the top in the country in lightning deaths, injuries and associated damage.

Your lightning safety plan should not be limited to just the workplace environment; but should also address home and family safety as well as recreation. One of the fastest rising casualty rates involves youths participating in sports and recreation. For the safety professional, the main task may be keeping employees safe "on the job" but should also focus on keeping them safe "off the job." You may not be responsible for an employee away from your facility, but their injury or loss may very well affect your operational environment and bottom line.

Here are a few things to consider about lightning:
  • Most people believe they know more about lightning than they really do.
  • About 20% of lightning victims die; 80% survive.
  • About 70% of those who survive a lightning encounter suffer serious physical or mental effects from the strike.
  • Many victims suffer serious burns.
  • There is no such thing as "heat lightning".
  • One storm can produce thousands of ground strikes over its lifetime.
  • One of the fastest rising casualty rates is young men aged 10-30 involved in sports or recreation.
  • Lightning can enter windows.
  • Being inside your home or office does not always make you safe.
  • Parking lots may be an accident waiting to happen.
  • Most outdoor workers have little if any warning of approaching lightning.
  • Many people fail to adequately protect their expensive computer and electronic equipment and work and at home.
  • It is not the rubber tires of a vehicle that protect you.
  • Lightning can travel underground and attach itself to pipes, wires and other objects allowing an easy pathway into a building.
  • Lighting can strike from a seemingly cloudless sky.
These are just a few of the topics we commonly discuss. If it has been a while since you have done any lightning safety training; now might be the perfect time. Keep in mind that lighting is frequent, random, costly, and deadly. We cannot stop lighting from taking place, but we can reduce the risks to our facilities, employees and families.

Randy Jackson is owner of the Hazardous Weather Preparedness Institute and is a "Certified Lightning Safety Professional" Jackson is a former TV Meteorologist and current Staff Meteorologist for WZTK radio with over 25 years of experience. For information on lightning safety classes contact Jackson at www.weatherpreparedness.com

Insight. . .

  • The first person to be killed in an auto accident in the United States was Henry H. Bliss, a 68-year-old real estate broker. On September 14, 1899, in New York City, Mr. Bliss stepped from a streetcar, turned to assist a woman passenger, and was hit by a cab.
  • The Travelers Insurance Company probably issued the first accident policy in the United States to James Bolter of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1864. The policy covered Mr. Bolter for his walk from his job at the Post Office to his home on Buckingham Street. Cost of the premium: 2 cents.
  • The first fatal plane accident occurred on September 17, 1908 - - the pilot in that crash was none other than Orville Wright. In mid-flight, the propeller broke and the plane plunged 150 feet. Orville suffered multiple hip and leg fractures but Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge of the U.S. Signal Corps., who was also on board, died.
  • The ancient Greeks thought that if they ate parsley, they wouldn't get drunk. They were wrong.
  • There is a town in Maryland called Accident. It sits on a major state highway linking western Maryland with the rest of the state. On the approach to the town is a road sign that doubles as a warning and is always true, no matter what the traffic condition. The sign says: ACCIDENT AHEAD

Reducing Slips in the Workplace
by Mike Bingham  

Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace are an on- going concern for many companies. Let's look at slips, in particular, though, to see what techniques we can apply toward reducing them. Slips result from a loss of traction between the worker's shoes and the walking or working surface. Good old-fashioned housekeeping can greatly reduce the risk of slips in the workplace. Repairing leaks from equipment and roofs, promptly cleaning up leaked fluids, spilled beverages, and even standing guard over the puddles until they are cleaned up are all good, basic preventive measures. Slip resistant footwear is another good tool.

Repairing the source of the slip hazards gives everyone in a facility a free ride, as the exposure has been eliminated. "No exposure" always results in "no accident" caused by the exposure that was removed.

In the rare cases where the slip hazards can't be eliminated, effective housekeeping can reduce the risk of slipping. Promptly cleaning up a leak or spill is another way to eliminate an exposure. Simply putting out a "Caution" or "Wet Floor" sign isn't enough. The hazard is still there. When we mix hazards and people, the result is an exposure. Mix exposures with people and we get an accident as a predictable outcome.

Proper, slip-resistant footwear is lower on the list of preferred remedies, but has a definite value in preventing slips. It is important to note that there is no footwear available that will work in all situations. The footwear is used only if hazards can't be eliminated, or as a supplement to the prevention methods in use - never as a first line of prevention.

But what if your housekeeping efforts are contributing to slips in your workplace? It could be worthwhile to look at the type of floor cleaners your facility uses to ensure that they aren't leaving a slippery residue themselves. Certain soaps, when used in floor scrubbers or mop buckets will leave a film on the floor that will become slippery again whenever water or other liquid contacts it. There are companies out there that will come in and measure your floor's coefficient of friction (COF) with special tools, and can give you a printout of how much traction is available. If appropriate they can recommend a cleaning product that leaves no slippery residue when it dries.

The National Floor Safety Institute has a good website where you can check out some products and get some good info regarding slips, trips and falls. Next time you're on the internet, look it up and see if there's something to help you reduce slipping on your floors.

Editor's Note: Mike Bingham is the Western Area Safety Representative for the North Carolina Industrial Commission. He is one of 10 members of the NCIC Safety Section who are WORKING FOR YOU! to reduce injuries and Worker's Compensation costs in North Carolina. Mike has 27 years experience in industry, from entry-level assembly work through various technical and managerial positions. He says he is fortunate that his job is also his hobby. 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.

Deadly Temperatures Can Be Reached Quickly in Vehicles
by Daniel Nottingham  

An "unscientific" experiment was conducted by the National Weather Service. The object was to determine how quickly an automobile would heat up to levels that would pose a health hazard to children and pets left in a vehicle with the air-conditioner turned off.

On a sunny day the automobile was parked with the sun to the rear of the car, and the front driver and passenger compartment was shaded from the direct rays of the sun. The automobile was dark blue. It may have absorbed heat quicker and more efficiently than a light colored vehicle.

The experiment consisted of putting an electronic thermometer inside a closed automobile, and one outside of the vehicle to measure ambient temperature in the shade. The temperatures both inside and outside of the vehicle were then compared against each other at timed increments.

With the automobile cooled to 83 degrees Fahrenheit by the vehicle air conditioner, the engine was turned off and the monitoring was started at 1245 PM CDT. After only ten minutes the automobile interior heated to a deadly 119 degrees Fahrenheit, with the outside temperature at 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

Listed below are the complete results:

Time Inside Outside
1245 PM 83 92
100 PM 120 93
115 PM 123 94
130 PM 125 93
145 PM 127 94
200 PM 129 94
215 PM 130 95
230 PM 131 95
245 PM 132 95
300 PM 133 95
315 PM 134 95
330 PM 134 95

When hot temperatures occur, it is important to not leave children or pets in parked vehicles. Not even for short periods of time. As this study showed, temperatures can reach deadly levels in a matter of minutes.

From the Desk of Dennis Parnell, Director Safety Education. . .

I came upon this two-part article on changing your safety culture and thought I would share it with you this month, enjoy and learn! This is PART ONE. Part Two will appear in the August Safety Bulletin.

Building safety consciousness and accident prevention measures into the corporate culture has helped ServiceMaster Co. to significantly reduce on- the-job injuries and workers' comp costs. It's well-known that wearing seat belts can save lives. No cars are built today without them. Yet, every day thousands of people get in their cars and don't buckle up. Resulting injuries are related to a failure in behavior, not technology. The same type of problem occurs frequently at work sites.

"Studies clearly show that 90 percent of all workplace injuries are attitude, behavior and culture based." says Dr. William Selkirk, administrator of risk management for ServiceMaster Co., headquartered in Downers Grove, Ill. He also believes that problems such as worker's comp claims, injuries and theft can stem from the organization's "hidden culture" - the "unspoken rules that are adhered to." Quite often, the employee culture is counter to management goals and counterproductive. But with the proper management, culture can be changed at any point, Selkirk says.

When ServiceMaster determined three years ago that most injuries were related to behavior, not engineering, "we changed the way we addressed safety issues," the company's risk manager explains. Among the results of that change are:
  • A cut of $2.4 million in workers' compensation costs over two years and a noticeable reduction in the number of back injuries, slips, cuts, burns and stress claims. At one client site, Northrop Industries in California, workers' comp claims plummeted from 101 claims costing $650,000 to only eight claims one year later - with a price tag of $32,000.
  • A return on investment from most sources of 500 to one for every dollar expended during the same time period.
  • Employees notice the difference in culture right away. Soon after they go on the ServiceMaster pay-roll, they get a whole day of safety training.

U.S. companies spend an estimated $110 billion on workers' comp claims each year, and many organizations treat these claims as an inevitable cost of doing business. For years, ServiceMaster was no exception, losing millions of dollars on workers' comp, notes Selkirk. Because the company is largely self- insured, it had a deductible of $1 million per incident and a potential, with 15,000 employees, of at least 15,000 incidents. In reviewing these numbers, the company decided in October 1992 to staunch its losses by looking at safety in terms of employee behavior for the first time. Selkirk designed a five-star program to resolve the problem.

Pre-employment screening. Service-Master uses a test developed, published and validated by London House to make sure that the company hires the right type of person - one who doesn't use drugs, is honest, value-driven, tenure-oriented, customer- oriented, respectful and responsive to authority - in short, a "safe" employee. Selkirk claims that the pre- screening measures are 90 percent accurate. They look at the attitudes and psychological makeup of applicants in terms of attributes such as risk taking, relations with customers and co-workers, tendency toward violence and stability in employment.

ServiceMaster uses attitude profiles instead of clinical psychological profiles, which are illegal. Even though there could be resistance to such testing, Selkirk notes that it meets guidelines of the EEOC, the Department of Justice, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The company conducts ongoing reviews of the tests for legality. The screening has been given to thousands of applicants "and there's never been any case law issues created by this."

Selkirk notes that up to 10 percent of ServiceMaster's workforce is contingent and that it is "more critical to make sure that anybody who is a contingent worker goes through this pre-employment screening because there is less incentive to stay loyal." Among the liabilities of hiring contingent workers (and workers in general) is the potential for espionage. For example, ServiceMaster has employees working for customers such as Northrop, where they clean the hangars that house the stealth bombers; for Monsanto, which has secret chemical formulas; and for GM and Ford, where the latest car designs might be "lying out on the table."

"Because housekeepers have the keys to everything," says Selkirk, "we're deeply concerned with what they see in our customers' work and what they share outside of it."

Find the hazards - before they find you. Engineering hazards such as damaged equipment, frayed electrical cords and insufficient training are identified through comprehensive safety audits done at least twice a year. These audits help to discover risks and comply with OSHA guidelines. But the primary challenge is identifying "human factor" hazards such as flaws in organizational systems, stress, low literacy and workplace morale, attitudes toward safety and outside pressures. ServiceMaster has staff psychologists who survey at least 30 percent of the employees working for client companies that have had workers' comp problems. Read the conclusion next month.

Please give us a call for your ACCIDENT PREVENTION training. Now you know. Dennis :)

Spaces Still Available for 30 Hour Course in Bryson City
    Southwestern Community College Swain Center, August 6-10, 2007

Haven't been to the NC Industrial Commission's 30 Hour Accident Prevention Certificate Program yet? What are you waiting for? And best of all, it's FREE!

Click here for more information on upcoming APCAP programs.

Online registration is open now for Bryson City APCAP, August 6-10, 2007. Register NOW!

Here's what some of our previous participants are saying about the program. . .
"This is a wonderful course and everyone needs to attend. " - Deborah Williams, ITG/Burlington, Salisbury APCAP

"One of the best training sessions I have attended. The trainers are excellent." - Tom Lee, VA Medical Center, Salisbury APCAP

"The variety of topics that were covered in this training assisted me in refreshing ideas that I can use to improve safety in my workplace." - Diane Hollar, Vantage Foods, Wilkesboro APCAP

"My primary job is HR, but this class has helped me considerably with understanding safety procedures and the importance of an active written policy." - Logan Helms, City of Newton, Wilkesboro APCAP

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.

Mike Bingham - binghamm@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Western Carolina Area - 919-218-9045

Randy Cranfill - cranfilr@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
APCAP Coordinator - 919-218-2986

Markus Elliott - elliottm@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Southeastern Area - 919-810-5788

Mel Harmon - harmonm@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Mid-State Area and Defensive Driving Instructor - 919-218-3374

Eric Johnson - johnsone@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Southern Piedmont Area - 919-218-3567

Michael Nance - nancem@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Blue Ridge & Western Piedmont Areas - 919-218-9047

Ginny Schwartzer - schwartg@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Program Assistant - 919-807-2603

Alvin Scott - scotta@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Eastern & Northeastern Areas and Defensive Driving Instructor - 919-218-2792

Tania Whitfield - whitfielt@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Central Piedmont Area - 919-218-9049

Dennis Parnell - parnelld@ind.commerce.state.nc.us
Director Safety Education - 919-218-3000

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Upcoming Events. . .

  • July 12, 2007 - Eastern Carolina Safety Council Quarterly Meeting, Parker's BBQ, Greenville, NC, 6pm
  • July 19, 2007 - Blue Ridge Safety Council Quarterly Meeting, American Red Cross, Shelby, NC, 6pm
  • July 25, 2007 - NCALGESO Annual Conference, Hilton Riverside Hotel, Wilmington, NC, 8 am
  • July 26-27, 2007 - Wilmington Safety and Health School, Hilton Riverside Hotel, Wilmington, NC

30 Hour Accident
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August 6-10 - Bryson City, NC
September 10-14 - Atlantic Beach, NC
October 8-12 - Winston Salem, NC
November 5-9 - Sanford, NC


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