November 2007
NC Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin

"Be Pro-active NOT Reactive Towards Safety."

Greetings friends in the name of safety:

Join us in welcoming Jim Gilreath as our newest member of the Team! Jim joins our Team of Safety Professionals serving the Central Piedmont area. Jim comes to us from Ventura County California with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of safety.

You don't have to be a supervisor, manager, or executive to benefit from networking. Networking is simply the process of getting to know others professionally. When you learn how others do their jobs, you might gain insight into new ideas or practices. You also develop a web of contacts that might prove useful - people you can bounce ideas off of, or get help from if you need it. Networking is a two- way street: If you expect to get help, you should be prepared to give it as well. It's kind of the, "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type of arrangement.

Networking can not only plug you into new ideas, but you might find out about new technologies, software programs, or resources that can help you do your job, like new products or services. The best part about networking is its potential far-reaching capabilities. The person you are in contact with may not necessarily be able to help you, but may know someone else who can. You don't have to be a member of a professional or trade association to network; you can start right at your own workplace.

Signing up for one of the NCIC Accident Prevention Certificate Awareness Program will assist you in your networking efforts. During this week-long course, you will network with other safety professionals with common goals in mind. You can check the dates and locations for 2008 elsewhere in this Bulletin. Here's what some of our past participants are saying about the course:

"This is a wonderful course and everyone needs to attend." - Deborah Williams, Safety Coordinator, ITG/Burlington, Salisbury APCAP Participant

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

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

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.

Don't forget to get your Flu Shot to minimize your chances of getting the flu!
The Joy of Giving Food - Safely

You come home to find a package on your front porch. You eagerly rip open the box, only to have your heart sink. Inside, the sticker says, "Keep Refrigerated" - but the yummy contents inside feel like they're at room temperature! Are they still safe to eat? The tips below will help you ensure that food survives the holiday shipping process.

When sending a perishable food gift:
- Make sure the food is frozen solid or refrigerator cold.
- Use an insulated cooler or heavy corrugated box packed with a frozen gel pack or dry ice.
- Let the recipient know when to expect the package so they can be there to accept delivery.
- Label the package "Perishable - Keep Refrigerated" and provide a complete mailing address and phone number to ensure proper delivery.
- Ship your package by overnight delivery service.

- Open the package as soon as you receive it.
- Make sure the food is still refrigerator cold. If not, don't take a chance on getting sick by eating it.
- Immediately refrigerate or freeze the food.
- If food arrives warm, notify the shipper. It is the shipper's responsibility to deliver perishable foods on time, but it's the customer's responsibility to have someone available to receive the package.

Mail order food gifts
When ordering food gifts through the mail, be sure to specify overnight delivery, and request that the company supply a frozen gel pack or dry ice in the packaging. This will help guarantee that the food will arrive still refrigerator cold.

Following these safety tips will help ensure you give - and receive - food safely.

Safe Turkey Handling Tips

Every year as Thanksgiving nears, the Butterball hotline rings off the wall with people calling about safe handling and cooking procedures for their holiday turkey. Here are a few tips for a safe Thanksgiving meal:

After purchase, frozen turkeys should be placed in a freezer until ready to be thawed. There are three safe ways to thaw a turkey:
Refrigerator - Slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator is best. A frozen turkey requires at least 24 hours for every four to five pounds of weight. Once thawed in the refrigerator, it can remain refrigerated for a day or two before cooking.
Cold water - This method is faster than refrigerator thawing, but requires more attention. The turkey should be in leak-proof packaging or a plastic bag. Submerge the turkey in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes. It will take about 30 minutes per pound to completely thaw a whole turkey. After thawing, cook it immediately.
Microwave - After microwave thawing, cook the turkey immediately because some areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook.

Set the oven temperature at 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2.5 inches deep. If you like, you can tuck the wing tips back under the shoulders, and you may want to add one-half cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Place a tent of aluminum foil loosely over the bird for the first 1 to 1.5 hours, and then remove it for browning.

How do I know when it's done?
Generally, an 8-12 pound unstuffed turkey will cook about 3 hours, 12-14 pounds about 3 ¾ hours, 14-18 pounds up to 4 ¼ hours, 18-20 pounds up to 4 ½ hours, and 20-24 pounds up to 5 hours. If stuffed, add another 15 minutes to the cooking time. The best way to know if it's done is to use a meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 180 degrees F in the thigh. If you cook a turkey with the stuffing inside it, the center of the stuffing should reach 165 degrees F. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving the turkey.

Top Five Home Hazards

The Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report in 2007 on the top five home hazards. What they found might surprise you. Here they are, in reverse order:

  • Hazard #5: Pool and spa drains. The suction from a drain can be powerful enough to keep a child under water, or trap hair in the drain. You can install a Safety Vacuum Release System which will automatically shut off the pool pump if it detects when a drain is blocked.
  • Hazard #4: Window coverings. Children can strangle themselves on cords that form a loop. You can use cordless blinds or cut the cords to make them shorter and attach a safety tassel on the end.
  • Hazard #3: Tip-overs. Furniture such as bookcases and dressers, and appliances such as TVs or ranges, can tip over and crush young children when they attempt to climb on them. To prevent this, you can anchor furniture or appliances to the floor or wall. Free standing appliances such as stoves can be installed with anti-tip brackets. Also, refrain from putting things on top that children will want to reach.
  • Hazard #2: Recalled products. Stay on top of the latest safety recall announcements that affect your children in terms of toys, jewelry, clothes, baby products, and so on. You can sign up for free recall email notifications by going to www.cpsc.go v/cpsclist.aspx.
  • Hazard #1: The top home hazard: Magnets. Magnets are popular in toys, building sets, and jewelry. When magnets are swallowed by children, it can be a very serious matter. If two or more magnets, or a magnet and another metal object are swallowed, they can attract to one another through intestinal walls and get trapped in place. Magnets don't always pass through the child, but can get caught, causing serious injury and even death, if not treated properly and promptly. You may want to withhold toys with magnets from children younger than age six, and be sure to stop using toys recalled because of magnets.
Know Your Rights If You Have a Disability

If you are disabled but are qualified to perform a job, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. Under the ADA, you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Examples of major life activities include seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for yourself, learning, and working.

The ADA doesn't just cover physical disabilities, but mental disabilities as well, including emotional illness, manic depressive syndrome, learning disabilities, and dyslexia.

Whether impairment qualifies as a disability protected by the ADA can depend on the severity of the disability. If a disability is not severe enough to substantially limit a major life activity, it won't qualify. Progressive illnesses may not qualify in the early stages, but may in the later stages. Likewise, disabilities that are easily manageable with medication may not qualify.

The ADA also protects you if you have a history of a disability, or if an employer believes that you have a disability, even if you don't.

If you have a disability, you must be qualified to perform the essential functions of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation, to be protected from job discrimination by the ADA. Essential functions are the fundamental duties of the job, or the main reason that job exists. An employer can refuse to hire you if you can't perform essential functions (with or without accommodation), but an employer can't refuse to hire you on the basis that your disability prevents you from performing nonessential job tasks.

What is reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that allows an applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process or to perform the essential functions of a job. Reasonable accommodation may include:
  • Providing or modifying equipment or devices;
  • Job restructuring;
  • Part time or modified work schedules;
  • Reassignment to a vacant position (employers are not required to create a new position);
  • Modifying examinations, training materials, or policies;
  • Providing readers or interpreters;
  • Making the workplace readily accessible to people with disabilities.

An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship, meaning that it would require significant difficulty or expense. An employer also doesn't have to grant a specific accommodation that you request, but simply find one that works.

Dummies for Safety
by Mike Bingham  

When someone has a work-related incident or illness, one of the most critical steps toward preventing future incidents like it is to let all other workers know what happened. It's also important to let workers know what is being done to prevent the issue from happening again in the future. And, while there is no substitute for close interaction and open communication among all employees in a facility, one quick, easy way to communicate incidents and raise safety awareness is through the use of a dummy.

There are a number of sources on the Internet where you can buy mannequins at very reasonable prices. I've seen used ones for about $100.00 plus shipping.

You could get one of the mannequins and, if your company has uniforms, you could dress it in one of those uniforms and stand it somewhere so that all employees will have to walk by it during their shifts.

If an injury occurs, use some basic first aid supplies to "doctor" the mannequin in the appropriate area. For example, an employee has a laceration to the right index finger. You could bandage the mannequin's right index finger and hang a note on it explaining the "What, Where, Why, How", and the corrective action that was taken to prevent recurrence. (Notice that the "Who" is missing from the list.) Cheap LED technology makes it possible to buy small, battery- powered blinking lights that can be attached to "new injuries" on the mannequin, as an attention grabber.

Of course the more injuries that happen, the worse the mannequin will look. If it starts to resemble a mummy, well, there may be room for safety improvements in your facility! Your company's required PPE can be placed on the mannequin as another visual aid. Announcements can be held in the mannequin's hand. Have the mannequin hold a smoke alarm in one hand and a battery in the other when it's time to change smoke alarm batteries at spring and fall time changes. Your imagination is the only limiting factor in finding possible ways to communicate with the dummy. Team with others for new ideas!

To quote the famous philosopher, Dennis Parnell, Director of the NCIC Safety Education Section, "We've got to get out of the box. If we stay in the box, someone is going to cover us up!"

So give it some thought; could this idea be used, or improved and used, at your facility as an innovative way to advance the safety culture?

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

Working in Cold Conditions

For many types of jobs, work doesn't stop when it gets cold outside. A common misconception is that only bitter cold temperatures can cause problems, when the reality is that even in mildly cold weather, if your body is unable to warm itself, serious cold- related illnesses and injuries may occur. Certain injures could even result in permanent tissue damage and death. Cold related illnesses can slowly overcome you if you become chilled by low temperatures, brisk winds, or wet clothing. Two of the most common cold related illnesses and injuries are frostbite and hypothermia. While frostbite is dangerous and can cause permanent injury, hypothermia is a medical emergency, and if not handled properly, can cause death.

Frostbite involves the freezing of tissue in the skin. Skin becomes pale and waxy-white, and the skin becomes hard and numb. It typically affects the extremities - fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears, and nose.

During hypothermia, normal body temperature (98.6ºF) drops to or below 95ºF. Symptoms are fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, cool bluish skin, slurred speech, clumsy movements, and irritable, irrational or confused behavior.

What you can do
- Know the signs and symptoms of cold related illnesses and injuries, and know what to do to help a coworker in trouble.
- Wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions. Layer clothing so you can adjust for changing conditions. Most of the heat leaves your body through your head, so wear a hat. Gloves are important to protect the hands.
- Don't work in the cold alone - use the buddy system.
- Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports- type drinks). Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, though decaffeinated is fine). Eat warm, high-calorie foods like hot pasta dishes.
- Take frequent, short breaks in warm, dry shelters to allow your body to warm up. And if possible, do your outside work during the warmest part of the day.

Give one of our Staff a call today if you are interested in this program!

Insight. . .
  • Owls are one of the only birds who can see the color blue!
  • During your lifetime, you'll eat about 60,000 pounds of food. That's the weight of about 6 elephants!
  • Dolphins sleep with one eye open!
  • The world's oldest piece of chewing gum is over 9,000 years old!
  • In space, astronauts cannot cry properly because there is no gravity, so the tears can't flow down their faces!
  • About 3,000 years ago, most Egyptians died by the time they were 30!
  • More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones!
  • A sneeze travels out of your mouth at over 100 M.P.H.!
  • Your ribs move about 5 million times a year, every time you breathe!
  • There are more plastic flamingos in the U.S. than real ones!
  • Easy Bake Ovens (and Others)
    by Michael Nance  

    My immediate family consists of my wife and two children ages nine and eleven. If you ask my wife, we actually have three kids in the family, if you include me. I am often considered a "child" ever since the argument I had with my eleven year old daughter in which we got into a "did not" - "did so" crossfire. I also love shopping for some of the toys that I never had and often consider whether or not I will enjoy it, never mind who I am shopping for. With the holiday season upon us, we all will be shopping for those gifts and toys for our kids or grandkids. Even though our family has past the point of worrying about choking hazards to a degree, we still keep an eye out for toys that have the appearance of hazards. With the recent news of lead in some paints, it's just one more thing to consider. Here are some familiar tips and advice on toys and children.

    According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), last year an estimated 140,700 children under the age of eight were treated for toy- related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Before buying a toy for a child, always consider age and maturity level. Almost all toys today have a recommended age sticker on the front of the packaging. Also keep in mind these points:

    1) Toys intended for children over age 3 should never be given to infants or toddlers. These toys may have small parts that can pose a choking hazard for young children.

    2) Children under age 8 should not be given toys with sharp edges or toys that run on electricity (not including batteries).

    3) If you're buying for an older child, consider the risks the toy may pose for a younger child in the house. While an electric football game may be great fun for a 10-year-old, it can be unsafe for his or her 2-year-old brother. This doesn't mean older children should be denied certain toys, but they should be taught to keep their toys away from younger siblings.

    There are many other things to consider but I also feel compelled to write, "Use Common Sense". A child's age can help guide your toy buying, but a vivid imagination and common sense are also important. Imagine all of the possible (but reasonable) ways a child could be hurt by a toy. Then, keep these safety considerations in mind.

    a) Quality - Look for well-constructed toys. Make sure stuffed animals have reinforced seams and securely sewn buttons and eyes. Even though it's getting harder to find the same quality in the same toys we had, it's worth the hunt. The metal Tonka dump truck took me two weeks to locate. I didn't want the plastic version that I knew wouldn't last.

    b) Size - Consider the weight and size of a toy. A small child could be hurt if a heavy toy fell on him or her. A child who is just learning to ride may need a smaller bike to avoid big spills. Sometimes planning for when they get bigger is not always the best route.

    c) Toxicity - Make sure toys do not contain toxic paint or lead. The CPSC recommends looking for art products labeled with the designation "ASTM D-4236", which means the product has been reviewed by a toxicologist and labeled with cautionary information.

    d) Protective gear - If you give your child a bike, roller blades, or a skateboard this year, don't forget the helmet, knee pads and wrist guards. This is a good time to remind you to check out your first aid kits for proper inventory. You've heard me say it; kids will do what their parents do. Don't expect them to be thrilled over PPE if you aren't.

    I guess the huge solid fuel model rocket will be put back on the shelf, even though I really want one. I'll also have to really think hard about the electric guitar my son wants. Perhaps I'll give in as long as headphones can be used. I learned my lesson with the drum set.

    One final thought here, don't forget that kids will experiment. I did. (Is that a surprise to some of you?) I wanted to find out how the "lite-bright" worked so I took it apart. While it was plugged in. Need I say more? Or how about the time I wanted to see what would happen if this wire was switched with this one. I didn't know the insulation would melt that fast or the wires would get that hot. But hey, the train did run backwards!

    I guess there is payback for all those "special" times. My daughter begged for an Easy-Bake Oven for two years. Well, Santa finally gave in and she got one. Three weeks later after the included packets were gone, she decided to experiment with crayons. After getting the smoke detector to stop and turning on the attic fan, I sat her down and explained how dangerous that was. Many years later she has transformed into a fairly responsible young girl. Even the best behaved, most mature child can use a seemingly safe and age- appropriate toy in a dangerous way. Protecting children from unsafe toys is the responsibility of everyone. Careful toy selection and proper supervision of children at play is still -- and always will be -- the best way to protect children from toy-related injuries.

    This year, think about giving Safety Gifts to your adult friends and family. Everyone needs a First Aid Kit and a roll of duct tape (Shurtape makes a dandy product). Maybe include a disposable camera for everyone's glove box. How about a really good flashlight? A quality set of jumper cables. If my dream comes through and my wife tells Santa it's okay, perhaps all of the above will be needed with my high powered go- cart. After all, I'm still called a "child".

    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

    We tend to joke about being allergic to work, but people who suffer from occupational asthma actually are. If you experience symptoms of allergies or asthma in the workplace that seem to get better when you're away from work, you may be a sufferer as well.

    Occupational asthma is a disorder that is caused by inhaling allergens, chemicals, fumes, gases, dusts, or other irritants on the job. Symptoms are usually reversible, meaning that when the individual is removed from the irritant, the condition improves.

    The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) estimates that about one in seven adult cases of asthma are actually caused by the workplace. Symptoms are the same as for non- occupational asthma - wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and eye irritation.

    With occupational asthma, symptoms of asthma may develop for the first time in a previously healthy worker, or childhood asthma that had previously cleared may recur due to new exposure. In some cases, individuals with no prior history may develop asthma if exposed to conditions that trigger it. Workers who smoke are generally at greater risk for developing asthma.

    This is another good reason to wear your Respirator when working in conditions that may warrant them. Give a call for Fit Testing and Respirator Training!

    Now you know. Dennis :)
    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 -
    Western Carolina Area - 919-218-9045

    Randy Cranfill -
    APCAP & APW Coordinator - 919-218-2986

    Markus Elliott -
    Southeastern Area and HAZWOPER Trainer- 919-810-5788

    Jim Gilreath -
    Central Piedmont Area

    Mel Harmon -
    Work Zone Traffic Control and Defensive Driving Instructor - 919-218-3374

    Eric Johnson -
    Mid-State Area and Water/Wastewater Coordinator - 919-218-3567

    Michael Nance -
    Blue Ridge & Southern/Western Piedmont Areas - 919-218- 9047

    Ginny Schwartzer -
    Program Assistant - 919-807-2603

    Alvin Scott -
    Eastern & Northeastern Areas and Defensive Driving Instructor - 919-218-2792

    Dennis Parnell -
    Director Safety Education - 919-218-3000

    We Are Working for You!
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