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  N.C. Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin
October 2008
"When you gamble with safety, you bet your life" ~ Author Unknown
Greetings Friends in the Name of Safety:
We still have a few seats available at our Asheboro, NC APCAP this month, October 27 - 31, 2008! Please make hotel reservations directly with the Quality Inn Asheboro, 242 Lakecrest Road, Asheboro, NC 27203; (336) 626-3680. When making reservations, please mention NCIC, which is the Promotion Code for special room rates!.

To register for our Asheboro Zoo event Click HERE

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.

Tread Lightly on the Environment
If you're like many people, you're finding it more and more difficult to ignore your carbon footprint; that is, you're becoming painfully aware of the effects you're having on the earth every day, just by living your life. It's good to know, then, that there are hundreds of little things you can do to minimize or counterbalance your negative effects on the planet. Here's ten to get you started:

1. Plant a tree - Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, and the shade and wind protection they provide can even reduce your energy bills!

2. Turn the faucet off - A faucet left on unnecessarily for only 2 minutes (about the time it takes to brush your teeth) can waste up to 10 gallons of water!

3. Pay attention to materials - Cloth bags are better than paper or plastic at the grocery store, and Styrofoam can last over 500 years in a landfill without biodegrading - material matters!

4. Pay your bills online - Putting an end to paper bills not only saves paper - it saves energy consumed by their transportation, and also reduces the pollution created by the same process.

5. Shop smart for appliances - Appliances with Energy Star labels use 35 percent less energy than average and can save you as much as 30 percent on your utility bill.

6. Support local farmers - Not only do home-grown vegetables just seem to taste better, but buying from a local farmer doesn't require that the crops be trucked cross-country to be sold.

7. Take care of your car - If you must drive, keep your car tuned up and your tires properly inflated. The more efficient your car is, the less CO2 it emits.

8. Share - Almost any item uses energy to be produced, so any time we share what we already have, we save the energy that would be consumed to produce a new product.

9. Recycle ALL the time - Lots of people recycle within their own household, but when you're at a party or on a picnic, for example, it takes a little extra effort.

10. Change your light bulbs - Compact fluorescent light bulbs last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs and don't use nearly as much energy.
No sleep is no good 
Everyone knows that humans need sleep, and you're never more aware of how much you need it than when you don't get enough. For many people, a lack of sleep is just a matter of poor prioritizing. They might rank a clean house, the latest reality TV show, or a night out ahead of their need for rest.

Sleep gives your heart a much-needed rest, regulates your appetite, energy use, and weight, and gives your nerves a chance to repair themselves. People who don't get enough sleep could also be depriving their immune systems of the energy necessary to keep the body healthy.

Try the following tips to make sure you get your z's:

Establish a routine - Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. This should also include weekends.

Wind down first - Spend the 30 minutes before bedtime doing something relaxing, like taking a bath or reading a book.

Avoid caffeine and nicotine - Like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant and should be avoided whenever possible, but especially before bedtime.

Limit the function of your bedroom - Keep distractions like computers and televisions out of your bedroom. The room should be clearly designated for sleep.

Cough up some dough - You don't have to spend a fortune, but you should invest in a quality mattress and comfortable pillows and bedding.

Exercise - Regular exercise should make it easier to sleep, but only when done several hours before bedtime.

A lack of sleep can seriously affect your quality of life. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. You should never feel guilty for getting your body the rest it needs, and if nothing seems to help get the sleep you need, consult a doctor. Not addressing sleep problems can lead to other issues including illness, inability to deal with stress, depression, and weight gain.
Falling is a risk in every workplace 
Slips, Trips & Falls
In December of 2007, a 37-year-old window washer in New York survived a 47-story fall, but with two broken legs, a broken arm, and many internal injuries. Amazing as this case may be, it is certainly not the norm. In fact, people who fall from even 4 or 5 stories can be killed, and few people who fall from 10 stories or more survive.

While most employees who are injured or killed by falls in the workplace fall from a higher level to a lower level, falls can (and do) happen on level ground as well. Though your risk may be greater if you work in the fall-prone service or construction industry, slips, trips, and falls happen in every workplace. No matter where you work, you can always take steps to lower your risk of being injured as the result of a fall. You should:

- Turn on the lights before you enter a room.

- Wear all recommended fall protection.

- Clean up spills immediately.

- Utilize handrails.

- Keep walkways free of clutter.

- Wear slip resistant shoes.

- Never carry more than you can handle, and make sure you can see where you're going.

- Make wide turns around corners to give yourself time to see what's coming.

Finally, employers and employees must work together to maintain a work environment that is as safe as possible. If you notice broken stairs, burned-out lights, or slippery areas, make sure your employer knows about it so measures can be taken to keep your work environment safe

NCIC Video Library 

Check out our Video Library !

We are in the process of UPDATING our online Video/DVD listings. Please be patient with us.

To view the rest of our Library and download the REQUEST FORM, please CLICK HERE
Get To Know Your Commissioners
Commissioner Dianne C. Sellers
Governor Mike Easley has reappointed Dianne C. Sellers to a six-year term as Commissioner. Governor Jim Hunt initially appointed her as Commissioner in September 1994 after the General Assembly expanded the Industrial Commission from three members to seven. Effective August 1, 2000, she was reappointed by Governor Hunt to a term expiring in April 2001. Commissioner Sellers previously held the post of Chief Deputy Commissioner for eight years and had served as a Deputy Commissioner for the eight prior years.

She formerly worked as a trust representative in the Wachovia Trust Department; press secretary for U.S. Representative Roy A. Taylor (11th District, N.C.), in Washington, D.C.; and law clerk for Bailey & Thomas, P.A., in Winston-Salem, N.C.

She received a B.A. degree in history from Mary Baldwin College in 1970, and earned a master's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1972. She also studied liberal arts in Austria at the University of Vienna. In 1976, she earned a J.D. degree from Wake Forest University School of Law, where she was president of the Student Bar Association.

Commissioner Sellers is a member of the American Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, and Wake County Bar Association. Currently, she is serving as council member for both the Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee and the Workers' Compensation Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association. She is also chairman of the Adjudication Committee of the Southern Association of Workers' Compensation Administrators and chair of the Credentials Committee of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions. In addition, she received an appointment to the five-member Board of Regents of the International Workers' Compensation College.

To e-mail Commissioner Sellers CLICK HERE.
Strategies to De-stress 
Most people would probably say that a reduction in stress in their lives would be a welcome change. If this is true for you, try the following strategies to reduce tension in your life:

Plan for disasters, delays, and distractions -You might get up 15 minutes earlier than usual; keep your gas tank at least half-full; make copies of all keys and give them to a relative, neighbor, or friend; or make lists instead of relying on memory alone.

Relax - Plan downtime into your day - even 10 minutes of quiet time to think about what's really important can help. You may also find that eliminating or reducing your caffeine intake helps you to calm down.

Be a positive person - Remembering the positive can be difficult, but is extremely powerful in helping to keep stress from dragging you down. You might also find that doing something nice for someone else can lift your mood and replace tension with a satisfied feeling.


Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

By Michael Nance

Remember that tune?  Bet you don't know the band's name.  Okay, okay!  I'll give you a few more lines:

"And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply.  So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat and said imagine that, huh, me working for you."

Written in 1970 by Five Man Electrical Band.  Wow, takes you back doesn't it!  I heard this tune the other day as I was pulling into my neighborhood and staring at a yard full of political signs.  What a sight, I thought.

Tis the season! No, I don't mean fall festivals, Halloween and all of the other celebrations associated with the last quarter of the calendar year. I'm talking about election season. I don't know about you, but I feel like election season gets longer and longer!  Friends, we are right in the middle of fierce competitions at the local, state and federal levels. Not to mention the brutal opposition that occurs each time my father-in-law comes to my house and he and I have our own version of "Hardball"!

The Safety Education Section wants you to know that even in politics your safety can be jeopardized.  Let's take for instance, political signs. These signs pose potential hazards if they are improperly placed. Campaigns invest a great deal of money in these signs hoping to sway voters. Signs can obstruct your view, distract your attention, or endanger the safety of the individual erecting the sign. Personally, a candidate's sign has never won or lost my vote. I think the signs are a nuisance.  But be careful; I was reminded by my wife that it is a serious crime to remove a neighbor's political sign from their yard.  (Your secret is safe with me though).

Another safety issue that comes with election season is stress. We all know stress can weaken the immune system. Just trying to get some actual news from one of the 24 hour news stations is impossible unless you want to watch the political campaigns in action. Even the commercials have ads filled with promises, rhetoric and attacks. I open my mail box (both snail and 'e') and there ya go, political mailers, e-rumors, etc. I answer the phone and am immediately asked to participate in the latest "poll" so each side can pull out some other form of maneuvering probably loaded with scare tactics. Even my two children are participating in elections at the elementary and middle schools and seem confused over who to vote for (granted, they get that confusion honestly since my wife and I are on TOTAL opposite ends of the political spectrum).

So, how are we going to make it to November with all of these political signs and added stress? Well, there is no specific "political stress relief" program (yet) and it is only going to get worse. I'd like to say try to tune it all out and hope for the best. But that's hard to do and burying your head in the sand doesn't do anything.  Just today the stock market took its hardest point hit ever, 777 points.  I sure hope there's been some rebound by the time this is printed.  I know personally of some folks that have lost thousands on Wachovia stock this week.  The only thing we can do is become educated the best way we can and vote.  Vote so your voice can be heard.


The Safety Education Department has a topic titled "Emergency Action Plan" and it deals with different types of emergencies that could take place at work.  I always try to include home-life stuff in all of my sessions and this topic is no exception.  One question (or hands-on) activity I like to do is ask; "If you are given 15 minutes to get everything out of your house that you can, what would you get."  Photos?  Computer?, your Beatles Album collection?  (Assuming your family is already safe).  At the very least you should save the Van Morrison stuff.    Seriously, having an evacuation plan at home is just as important as having a written plan at work.  Many lives could be saved if only there were an Emergency Action Plan.  Especially with kids in the house.  Try it sometime during a family night.   Get everyone together and talk about the plan and then actually do it.  You might be surprised just how much your kids retain the information.  Not to mention the questions that they might ask.  Granted, some of their questions may be a little off base but remember; if they asked, it is important to them.

After your emergency action plan drills, turn off the TV and turn on the stereo.  Get some of those classic tunes out and turn it up.  I just got a thought.  Maybe I can turn my speakers towards the neighbor's window and play the "Sign" tune.  Below 85 decibels of course.  I might need a secondary emergency action plan.

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
Serving in Safety
By Mike Bingham

One of my favorite sayings comes from Zig Ziglar, who said, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want".

Now Mr. Ziglar's quote seems pretty simple at first, but I had to digest it for a while before I really started to see it link up to the things in my world.  When I started bouncing the idea off of safety it started to come home to me.

As a "safety person" it is awfully easy to be perceived as a roadblock when it comes to your trying to be diligent in building or maintaining a safe workplace.  It can seem like the safety person is always the bearer of bad news.  If we point out a problem in a machine design or work process, regardless of how valid and serious the problem is, we can be placed in a situation in which it will be difficult or impossible to win.  Sometimes even the best solutions cause strife. Anyone can find reasons a process or idea won't work or why it will be hard to do.   Our observations can be seen as interference, no matter how hard we try to help the situation.  Our task, then, is to find out what people want and help them get it.

"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want".   In a given safety scenario, we need to identify all the stakeholders and identify exactly what they want, then try to help them get it.  Of course we can't compromise our duty to maintain a safe workplace just to give other people what they want.  We have to find the way to give them what they want in a safe, effective manner. 

If a guard on a machine is inadequate, we, as "safety persons", have to find a solution that safely serves all the stakeholders.  We would be the resource that initially follows the hierarchy of safety controls.  Can we eliminate the hazard, and as a result eliminate the need for a guard?  If not, can we engineer the hazard out so there is no exposure to the hazard?  If we are forced to keep a guard of some sort on the machine, we should be the person who talks with the stakeholders and helps build a guard that serves the whole enterprise as interference-free as possible.

To do this we would help the engineering or maintenance department understand the problems and constraints if needed.  We would help the operator by listening for concerns and helping design the guard to facilitate the activities he or she will conduct at the machine.  We would help the operators make their process safer, faster, easier, and more comfortable.  We would help the supervisor get more and better product off the line and on the truck faster and safer.  We would put the results on display with the Worker's Comp carrier to reduce costs to our company.

"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want".  As "safety persons" our job is to provide a service to others people around us. We are consultants who will often have to explain, train, and educate others. If we are successful in helping other people get whatever it is they want, they will be back for more.  More people coming back will help us get whatever it is we want, things like watching co-workers go home safe at the end of their workday, knowing we prevented an injury, knowing we 'fool proofed" a process so everyone now gets a free ride. We get to come to work with the expectation of being able to serve others through our chosen occupation, and that's some pretty good ground to walk on! 

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

Trainers need training too!

In most organizations, employees must receive some sort of training during their employment. However, few employees will have identical learning styles, and perhaps even fewer employees will have identical backgrounds. Both factors affect how employees process information.

Trainers in the business world must be acutely aware of the kinds of challenges they will face in teaching a diverse workforce. For example, in any one group of employees, there might be one student who cannot manage her time, another who has difficulty sitting still, and yet another who struggles to overcome cultural differences in a classroom setting. Trainers who invest time in learning to negotiate different learning styles and cultural differences will be the most successful.

Trainers can ease classroom trouble by using open-ended questions, speaking slowly and clearly, and welcoming feedback from students. Most of all, trainers should expect that employees will be diverse and respect the differences they bring into the classroom.

Now you know. Dennis :)


Please join us in welcoming our latest group to complete our Accident Prevention Certificate Awareness Program
As always, it is one of our greatest pleasures participating in this series of training throughout our great state. The networking, learning and fellowship is PRICELESS! We look forward to Asheboro Zoo, please join us!


Fun and useless tidbits
Aspirin went on sale as the first pharmaceutical drug in 1899, after Felix Hoffman, a German chemist at the drug company Bayer, successfully modified Salicylic Acid, a compound found in willow bark to produce Aspirin.

In an article in 1998, The Journal of the American Medical Association claimed that adverse drug reactions may cause more than 100,000 deaths a year in the US alone.

American and Russian space flights have always included chocolate.

Bananas are America's #1 fruit.

In 2001, there were more than 300 banana-related accidents in Britain, most involving people slipping on skins.

At the age of 26, Michelangelo began sculpting his monumental statue of David. He finished it seventeen months later, in January, 1504.

Jayne Mansfield decorated her "Pink Palace" by writing to 1,500 furniture and building suppliers and asking for free samples. She told the donors they could then brag that their goods were in her outlandish mansion. The pitch worked, and Jayne received over $150,000 worth of free merchandise.

  Coming November 6, 2008, Smithfield Town Hall

alive at 25

Town Offering Teen Driver Safety Class

Due to the high number of teenage fatalities on Johnston County roadways, the Town of Smithfield will offer a four-hour driving class for teen's ages 15 to 19 entitled "Alive at 25." The class will be held on Thursday, November 6, 2008 from 5 until 9 pm at the Smithfield Town Hall Council Chambers. The Town will purchase books for all employees' teen drivers wishing to attend. Non-town employees' children will have to pay $5.50 for an instructional book.

The deadline to register is October 22. The instructor for the class will be Mel Harmon with the N.C. Industrial Commission Safety Education Section. For more information or to sign up for the program call or email Smithfield Town Clerk Debbie Godwin at 919-934-2116 Extension1108.
What Folks Are Saying
Mr. Harmon,
Your presentation at Murphy Medical Center a
few weeks back about defensive driving was
excellent. It opened my eyes about a couple
of things I was in the habit of doing that
was not safe.
I would like to know how to get one of the
booklets that I think was titled "Alive at
25" for the young drivers. I would like to
give this to my two sons, 18 and 16.

Thanks for your help and again for the good
program you brought. - Vance Ingle, P.T., MMC
Rehab Manager
Dennis, just wanted to send you a THANKS for
letting the City of Fayetteville enjoy Mel
Harmon for a few hours.

Mel taught a DDC-4 class in City Hall today;
in attendance were CDL drivers, Police
officers, Fire Fighters and supervisors. As
usual he did a great job and kept everyone's
attention. I heard nothing but positive
comments from those in attendance.

We are grateful to the NC Industrial
Commission for the outstanding training that
you provide to the citizens of North
Carolina. - Greg Schaefer, Safety Officer
City of Fayetteville
I would like to say thank you for the week of
meetings at the Sheraton in Atlantic Beach, I
felt that it was probably one of the best I
have attended. I felt such a warm welcome,
not just to me but to my family also. The
professionalism was outstanding. I really
enjoyed getting to know the people and felt
that everyone was so friendly and kind. I so
enjoyed the fellowship, the teamwork was
wonderful, and I came away with very valuable
information to share with our employees back

Looking forward to future meetings together!
 - Lonnie Sorrell, APAC, Greensboro
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
Quick Links
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One Resort Drive
Asheville, NC

Quick Links
The Deputy Commissioners serve as judges in hearings for contested cases. Deputy Commissioners must be attorneys and have a background in workers' compensation cases.

Click here to e-mail Stephen Gheen, Chief Deputy Commissioner
Quick Links
NC Workers' comp Educational Conference
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