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 N.C. Industrial Commission
Safety Bulletin
December 2008
"Luck runs out but safety is good for life."—Author Unknown
Merry Christmas Friends in the Name of Safety:
Serving You! Friends, what can we say? You have allowed our staff to come into your workplace and become part of your families. We consider ourselves blessed and humbled to work with so many great people across this state.

Our services have been embraced by your employees, our workshops have been well attended, we have begun several new programs this past year and you have supported them completely. 

The best news is that accidents are being prevented, workers' comp claims are being reduced and workers are going home safely! Oh, and your employers are not having to pay out additional money to provide these services to their employees. The NC Industrial Commission Safety Education Section is providing these services to you as yet another service from the State of North Carolina. 

As you are aware, the state budget is in dire straits. As our elected officials begin to seek ways to reduce expenditures, they are examining all areas of state government. We are asking for your assistance to procure letters from businesses where we have provided training stating whether or not the training is helping or has helped reduce injuries and accidents in your facilities. We are particularly interested in the percentage of reduction in Workers' Comp Costs and injuries - we don't necessarily need actual numbers aside from the percentage of reduction in injuries, reduced costs by _____%, etc... 

Please send to Dennis' email address at
and your support will be greatly appreciated!

We are still trying to finalize our 2009 APCAP schedule. We will be adding an ADVANCED APCAP in 2009. In order to participate, you must have completed the basic 30-hour APCAP. The ADVANCED APCAP will be two days of intense training to further assist you with your Safety & Health program.

In 2009, we will offer BOTH COURSES concurrently on the same date and location in order to better serve you.


  • February 9 - 13, 2009 - Fayetteville, NC
  • March 9 - 13, 2009 - Wilmington, NC
  • June 15 - 19, 2009 - Smithfield, NC
  • August 17 - 21, 2009 - Flat Rock, NC
  • August 31 - September 4, 2009 - Atlantic Beach, NC
  • October 26 - 30, 2009 - Asheboro Zoo, Asheboro, NC
We look forward to seeing you at one of our programs in 2009. Again, let us say "THANK YOU" for allowing us to be a part of your family.

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.

Have a plan in case of disaster!
Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires are just a few of the phenomena that have caused people to lose their homes, their possessions, and sometimes even their lives. While you often can't prevent them, you can be prepared for them.
While most people know that they should have an escape route mapped out in case of a fire, or a designated place to go in case of a tornado, these and other disasters might require you to think in a bit more detail. To be as prepared as possible, considered the following questions:
- Have you had first aid or CPR training in the past year?
- Do you have a designated meeting place or an emergency contact person (preferably outside of your geographic area) in case your family becomes separated?
- Where will your pets go?
- Do you have a disaster supply kit with enough food and water for 3 days?
- Is your first aid kit complete?

Air Contaminants:
Know your limits!
When you work with hazardous chemicals, the air around you can become contaminated. OSHA sets exposure limits to ensure that employees breathe safe air while they work.
OSHA's air contaminants standard lists various chemicals along with their permissible exposure limits (PELs). PELs are the highest amount of an air contaminant that employees can safely be exposed to for a certain amount of time. Your employer must tell you the hazards of the chemicals you work with, including the hazards associated with air contaminants.
To keep exposures at or below the PELs, employers use engineering or administrative controls. An example of an engineering control is exhaust ventilation equipment. An example of an administrative control is substituting a less toxic chemical. If these methods don't provide enough protection, employees must wear respirators or other types of personal protective equipment.
You can find exposure limit information on a chemical's material safety data sheet.
NCIC Video Library 

Check out our Video Library !

Finally! We have completed UPDATING our online Video/DVD listings. The new listings are in RED.

To view the rest of our Library and download the REQUEST FORM, please CLICK HERE
Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is practically colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating. It is one of the most common industrial hazards. An estimated 10,000 persons seek medical attention or miss at least one day of normal activity each year because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Studies from the Center for Disease Control indicate that there are as many as 600 deaths annually in the United States due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

OSHA limits workers' exposure to no more than 50 parts of carbon monoxide per one million parts of air (50 ppm) averaged over an eight-hour workday. The seriousness of exposure to carbon monoxide is influenced by three main factors:

1. The concentration of carbon monoxide in the environment,
2. The duration of the exposure, and
3. The exposed person's breathing rate.

Harmful levels of carbon monoxide are a danger to anyone who works around equipment that produces it. However, there are greater occupational risks if you work in or around warehouses, boiler rooms, blast furnaces, diesel engines, docks, garages, mines, petroleum refineries, toll booths, or tunnels. People who work with acetylene, pulp and paper, or carbon black are also particularly at risk.
Carbon monoxide poisoning produces symptoms ranging from headache, dizziness, disorientation, troubled thinking, and abnormal reflexes to coma and even death. Because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are so similar to the flu, many people mistake them for the flu or are misdiagnosed and are never treated. Situations like these can lead to serious problems, even death, so it is important to take the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning seriously.


What's in Your Wallet or Attitude?

By Michael Nance

I want to start by thanking everyone who has graciously allowed me to be a part of your accident prevention programs. This year has been very challenging to all of us; gas price surges, economy worries (both business and home), stock market ups and downs, and the elections. With more holiday celebrations just around the corner I hope that you and your families will be safe in all that you do. For some, it's a time of multiple parties that involve alcohol, so be responsible. Take note of others that may be having too much. All alcohol has "drinkability." 
Perhaps you're going to have a nice, big, warm fire in the fireplace. Well, that's great if you prepare properly. Remember to have a source of fresh air and be careful to not introduce dangerous fumes into your home. Keep flammables away and of course, if you have a decorated tree it should be as far as possible from the heat. Remember to check for items on the mantle. Don't forget like I did one year,...the candles that were up there. They didn't melt all the way, just leaned way over as if taking a nap. My wife was not happy. If you're using that chain saw to prepare the wood, always use the correct PPE such as chaps, safety glasses, face shield, hearing protection, and safety boots. Watch out for bystanders. (Not too mention those pesky spiders)
During this past year, we've all been reminded about "safety attitudes." It's one of the building blocks of a successful program in the workplace. But it doesn't have to stop there. Consider these ideas for creating, changing, and uplifting attitudes over the holidays. You've heard the phrase "What's in your wallet?" well, what's in your attitude. These can be with a group or alone:
1) Visit a local nursing home. Maybe someone who can play the guitar can do a few tunes, someone can read a short story, etc. Make some treat bags and ask the residents to share a favorite holiday memory or share yours with them. Organize these visits during an extended lunch period. If you have a Polaroid, take a group photo with the resident and leave it with them so they can brag about it. They will.

2) Send a hand written letter with the card to people you haven't talked to in a while, or maybe to some troops overseas. Perhaps a small gift pack to several members of the military.

3) Get a food drive started or help one that is already established in the work place. Think about the impact if a company with 300 folks brought in 4 cans. Wow, that would sure help out and it's not much more than the change in the ashtray to each person.
If gift giving is part of your celebration, think about the person(s) that have everything already or that is very hard to shop for. A good first aid kit, fire extinguisher, disposable camera, and a roll of duct tape make a perfect "Safety" gift. Sure, you might get some, Oh,.....<pause>......that's "nice" feedback, but they'll remember who gave it to them the first time they really need it. For under $40 bucks too.
Since gas prices have began to fall, many of us may be considering taking a few "road trips." Remember to practice defensive driving and take some preventative measures in the maintenance of your vehicle. Sure we'll change the oil, clean the windshield and vacuum the interior, but what about the air pressure check of the tires? For that matter, how about the tires themselves? Contrary to popular belief, you can't judge a tire by its cover. Most automotive experts agree that along with tread depth and proper tire maintenance, tire age is also crucial to your safety on the road. A cryptic code of four numbers at the end of the 12-digit DOT serial number can tell the consumer which week and year a tire was manufactured. Can you tell when your tires were made? Tires made in the 1990s have three numbers at the end of the DOT code, while tires made after 2000 have four numbers. For example, if the four numbers are "3104," then the tire was made during the 31st week of 2004. If you happen to have old tires (made prior to 2000), and the three digits are "467," the 46th week of 1997. So the next time you buy "new" tires, ask to see them first and inspect the DOT code. You don't want to buy new "old" tires. Aged tires have a higher potential for tragic tread separations.
Again, many sincere thanks to the thousands of North Carolina employers and employees that have participated in NC Industrial Commission's Safety Section accident prevention programs. We are developing new topics and programs that you have requested and look forward to serving you in 2009 and beyond. Remember, we are working for you!

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
By Mike Bingham

It used to be that the word "grounded" struck fear and dread into my very heart. The word usually followed my being caught in some sort of mischief when I was a kid, like the time I wired up three small light bulbs in what I thought was a parallel circuit. I wired in a knife switch, explained the whole thing to Dad, and after he reluctantly gave me permission to plug it in I closed the switch and watched the bulbs explode and bounce glass off the ceiling. The arc flash was small but impressive, but Dad wasn't amused. He made me dismantle the apparatus and pronounced the dreaded word - grounded.
Many years later I came to understand parallel circuits, series circuits, voltage ratings (wonder what the three exploding bulbs were rated...), and the term grounded took on a different meaning. Today hearing the words, "not grounded" can cause me fear and dread just as "grounded" did in days of old.
With electricity current will flow from a source, through a load, and back to the source. Remove the load and no current will flow. Remove a wire going to or from a load and again no current will flow. The source uses the earth as ground, so an energized wire will let current flow through it to a load and back to the grounded end of the source. The source, load and wires are called a circuit.
If you use a power tool or piece of equipment with a metal frame or cover, everything is safe to touch as long as the current follows the intended path through the equipment. An electric heater with a metal housing is an example. If the current flows through the wire to the heating elements and back to the source, and doesn't flow anywhere else, you could safely touch the heater's housing whenever you wanted. But if the wire gets frayed and touches the heater's metal housing, and you were to touch it, then you would likely receive a shock if you were touching earth ground or objects connected to earth ground because you would become a wire yourself, diverting some of the current to ground.
One good safety measure is to use tools and equipment that are either double insulated or have three-conductor cords with ground prongs that are intact. The ground wire in the three-conductor cord connects to the metal body of the device and provides a path to ground for current that gets out of bounds, so to speak, and could cause a user to get shocked were it not for the ground wire.
Equipment grounds must be checked and maintained in order to have maximum safety benefit. One way to check grounds is to use an ohm meter to verify that the ground wire has continuity from the ground prong on the cord to the body of the device. There are AC sensors available that you can touch a device with to verify the ground. If the sensor lights up when you touch it to the device in question, the ground is missing. What if the ground prong is present and the ohm meter shows continuity but the sensor lights up? It could be that the receptacle is defective. You can buy a receptacle tension tester to use as part of your ground maintenance program. Receptacles do eventually wear out. If the tension tester says everything is OK but your AC sensor shows a problem, there could be a broken or disconnected wire in the circuit - a problem that must be corrected.
Always verify that each instrument you use is working correctly and follow its manufacturer's instructions. Consider setting up a preventive maintenance task and schedule regular ground testing to ensure no one is hurt or killed by such a simple thing.

If you aren't sure how to do proper ground tests, consider having a licensed electrician come into your facility and do the testing for you.


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

Inspiring Others?

Being a mentor can be challenging, but studies have shown that it can be as rewarding for the mentor as for those on the receiving end. To be a successful mentor:
See others' strengths - One of the main purposes of a mentor is to help others feel up to the task of whatever they are expected to do. You must be able to see other people's strengths and understand how they can be best put to use, remembering that there is always more than one way to accomplish a task.
Set high standards - Quite often, people aren't aware of how much they are capable of achieving. Challenges alone can motivate some people, and setting high standards can help to keep people interested.

Be receptive and available - If you set high standards, but you aren't available when mentees start to feel overwhelmed, challenges are likely to have a negative affect. When you're available to coach and listen to your charges, however, challenges may start to seem more achievable.

If you haven't considered being a mentor to someone, you just might want to think about doing it. You can make a difference!

Now you know. Dennis :)


Fun and useless tidbits

Unusual Celebrity Deaths:

Duane Allman - musician

1971 --- motorcycle accident.

Attila the Hun

453 AD --- bled to death from a nosebleed on his wedding night.

Lucille Desiree Ball

1989 --- died after undergoing heart surgery.

Velma (Margie) Barfield
1984 --- 1st woman executed in US since restoration of death penalty in 1967. (For poisoning her fiancée.)

Marie Curie - chemist, discovered Radium
1934 --- leukemia, caused by exposure to radiation.

Martha Washington-1902 --- 1st woman to be pictured on a US postage stamp. The 8-cent stamp was issued in November 1902.
Carlos Santana-1998 --- 1st Hispanic to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Why do we procrastinate?
About 20 percent of people make a habit of procrastinating, and for some, it results in missed opportunities, late fees, and blown deadlines. There are three major reasons that people procrastinate:
1. Theythrive on excitement and the adrenaline rush they get when they must hurry to meet a deadline.
2. They are overwhelmed or cannot make a decision about how to proceed.
3. They fear failure.
Individuals may also have very personal reasons for putting things off. For example, someone who has trouble accepting authority might attempt to postpone those tasks which have been assigned by superiors. Likewise, someone who is depressed might struggle with his energy levels and therefore find it difficult to get started on a project.
If you are a procrastinator, you might think that putting things off is a harmless personal choice, and while it is a personal choice, it may not be harmless. By procrastinating, you put added pressure on yourself, and the kind of stress this generates can weaken your immune system, potentially leading to more frequent illness.
Procrastination can also hinder teamwork by making it difficult for team members to trust that work will get completed, and often puts an unfair burden on those who do not procrastinate.
For some people, acknowledging the reason they procrastinate is helpful to curb the behavior. For example, if you realize that a project overwhelms you, it may be possible to break it down into manageable pieces. If you fear failure, realize that putting off the work not only has the effect of increasing your fear, but cuts down on the time you have to ensure the project is a success.
What Folks Are Saying


Thank you so much for the Defensive Driving class. Everyone enjoyed and received a lot of good information from the class.

It was nice to see you again and I hope to see you again in the future.

Thank you again,

Glenda Hollowell
Colony Tire



As we are wrapping another successful year of Safety Training. I felt that it should be brought to your attention what an impact Mike Bingham has contributed to Henderson County's bottom line. Mike is a top notch professional that truly puts his heart and soul into what he does. Mike is an extremely knowledgeable professional that has contributed to Henderson County's 50% reduction in Workers Compensation claims over the last 2 years, with an approximant cost savings of $196,000 in Actual Workers Compensation claims costs. He really connects with our staff from regular employees to Department Heads. In addition to providing the required training per OSHA, he provides job specific training that fits Henderson County's needs. Mike adds such a magnificent flare to his training sessions he continues to maintain the employees interest training classes after training class. In fact the attendance for Safety training continues to increase. Mike continues to be a role model for me and my career as Risk Manager for Henderson County. I feel so fortunate to have a resource on many Risk Management questions that I have. The amount of time Mike saves me with training and providing me with valuable answers to questions that I may have truly has freed me to provide a better service to Henderson County employees and citizens. This I feel has contributed to additional savings from Henderson County not having to hire a service to provide our training. Mike is not just someone we look at as our Safety Trainer he is part of our TEAM.

I can honestly say on behalf of the employees and me that we look forward to another outstanding Safety Training year with Mike being a major contributor with our new successes.


Yvonne Moebs, Risk Manager
Henderson County, NC


I would like to let you and your crew just how much I enjoyed last month's training. That was probably one of the most informative and helpful training sessions I've attended in my 27 ½ yrs. of State service. You all are to be commended. Being funny and positive really helped to make the days interesting and kept a lot of us older folks, lol, from falling asleep. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing you all again next October in Asheboro.

Capt. Marilyn Jean Martin


Advanced Accident Prevention Certificate Awareness Program Coming in 2009

The North Carolina Industrial Commission's (NCIC) Safety Education Section is wrapping up the development phase of its new Advanced Accident Prevention Certificate Awareness Program (APCAP). This new class is a two-day event offered only to persons who have completed any one of the original 30-Hour APCAP classes that have been offered throughout the state over the past two years. It will build on some of the topics covered in the original 30-Hour and will add some new subjects.

Subject matter is intended to assist people with workplace safety responsibilities in reducing work related injuries and illnesses by building on concepts presented in the original 30- hour APCAP.

The first session in the course will be, "Project Management for Safety Folks." This class will cover basic project management techniques and will provide a foundation for the rest of the sessions in addition to providing a durable tool that can be used over and over again not only in safety, but in many other business activities as well.

The next session will be a class titled, "Worker's Comp How To." It will be presented by seasoned Worker's Comp personnel from the NCIC and will provide an excellent opportunity to get information straight from the source.

"Body Mapping for Ergonomics" will build on the Ergonomics class taught in the original 30-Hour sessions. It will provide a fun, unique method of identifying and fixing ergonomic issues.

"Safety and Health Audits" will be the next class and will expand upon the 30-Hour APCAP class "Safety and Health Programs." The activities will include discussing written plans and comparing them to the real world of the shop floor. Gap analysis will be covered.

On the heels of "Safety and Health Audits', the next topic will be "Observation-based Safety and Health Audits." Participants will use a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) from their workplace to identify which behaviors are critical to ensuring safety. Discussion on how to conduct observations will be a big part of this session. Previous 30-Hour APCAP classes taught JHA, and the Observation-based S&H class will put that knowledge to use.

The first day will conclude with "Recognition Programs." In this class participants will use a template supplied by the NCIC to fill out a sample written plan that can be taken back to their workplaces and submitted for approval.

The second day will begin with "Safety Committees," a class on roles and responsibilities of a safety committee. Training and motivating the safety committee will be included as well.

The participants will move into the "Safety Math" class which is a basic overview of common metrics used by employers and safety personnel. Things learned here will carry over into the next class, "Selling Safety to Management."

Up next is "Safety Rules." In this session participants will submit their sites' safety rules to the instructors who will review them and help fill out an application for acceptance into a potential money-saving program related to the NC General Statutes 97-12 rule. If applicable, site visits can be scheduled for companies who want to take advantage of this program.

The last class of the event will be "Contractor Safety," wherein participants will fill in a contractor safety sample plan with their own site's information and have a second document ready to submit to their management for approval. Certificates will be awarded at the end of the second day, concluding the class.

We will be posting registration information in December!


astern Water/Wastewater Workshop

December 17, 2008

Please join us for the Eastern Water & Wastewater Six (6) hour Workshop to be held in Tyrrell County.

Date: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Topics are as follows:

  • Safety Attitudes   
  • Bloodborne Pathogens   
  • Jobsite Safety   
  • Working in Cold Conditions   
  • HAZCON   
  • Lockout / Tagout

Location: Tyrrell Hall(Across from Hess/Wilco station)

906 Hwy 64 East

Registration at 7:45 AM         
Classes begin at 8:00 AM-4:00 PM

Refreshments at the breaks and lunch will be provided by the Eastern Water & Wastewater Network.

Cost for the workshop will be $15.00.

For additional information and registration, call or email PARKER NEWBERN at 252-331-3044.

Extension Cords and Holiday Lighting
By Randy Cranfill

With the holidays approaching, lights and decorations will soon be showing up in homes and businesses across the country. Electrical extension cords will frequently be used to supply electricity to these lights. Most people never check their extension cords before they use them, but they can cause electrocution, burns, serious shock, and fires.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. The most frequent causes of such fires are short circuits, overloading, damage, and/or misuse of extension cords.
These hazards can be prevented by following these important safety tips:

1. Visually check each cord and lights to make sure they are in good condition.
2. Check for cracking and fraying for these are indications that they needs to be replaced.
3. If the cord feels hot unplug and replace the cord.
4. Keep all outdoor extension cords and light strands clear of wet conditions.
5. Never use outdoor extension cords, lights and electric decorations that are not protected by GFCIs.
6. Avoid running extension cords and light strands through doors and windows.
7. Never run extension cords under furniture, carpeting, or behind baseboards for they can present a fire hazard.
8. Do not place extension cords across walkways for they can cause people to trip and fall.
9. Unplug all holiday lighting before leaving home or going to sleep.
10. Don't let children play with extension cords, light, and electric decorations.

Please take a few minutes to help make your holidays a safe one.

It's that time of the year! Holidays, family time, lots of food, and sometimes an unwanted visitor!
Foodborne Illnesses and how to avoid them.

By: Eric Johnson

It is estimated that 76,000 illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year can be traced to the food we eat. More than 250 known diseases are contracted through food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, metals, and prions. Foodborne-disease outbreaks (FBDOs) happen every year, sometimes affecting multiple states and many people, which can be traced back to of variety of food items.

For example, during the months of September and October in 2006 two FBDOs occurred that could be traced to fresh produce. The first, caused by a bacteria called Escherichia coliform (E.Coli), infected approximately 200 people in 26 states from California to Maine. This outbreak was traced back to contamination of fresh spinach. Additionally, during those two months in 2006, a bacteria called Salmonella was implicated in a tomato contamination that affected 183 individuals in 21 states. Back in 1985 a large isolated outbreak, caused by the pathogen Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens), occurred in Connecticut after a group of factory workers enjoyed their employee banquet. The culprit causing this outbreak, which affected approximately 600 employees, was determined to have been the gravy, which had been improperly cooled and then reheated prior to being served at the banquet.

These three bacteria, E. Coli, Salmonella, and C. perfringens, represent some of the most common causes of foodborne illness. These illnesses are easily diagnosed due to tests that allow for the detection of the pathogen in a person's system. Additional information regarding these bacteria is included as follows:

E. coli: This bacteria is carried in cattle or similar animals. Illness from this bacteria is caused by consumption of food or water contaminated by small amounts of feces. The symptoms resulting from this infection include severe and bloody diarrhea and painful abdominal cramps. 3-5% of cases lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome that can lead to temporary anemia, profuse bleeding, and kidney failure.

Salmonella: This is a bacteria carried in the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals. It is contracted by ingesting a variety of different foods from animal origin. The symptoms resulting from infection by this bacteria include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

C. perfringens: This is a rod-shaped bacteria that lives in environments that do not contain oxygen, such as in the intestines of humans and domesticated animals. These bacteria produce spores that exist in soil, sediment, and areas prone to human or animal fecal pollution. The symptoms resulting from infection by this bacteria include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that usually resolve in 1 to 2 days. Ingesting large numbers of this bacteria could lead to necrotic enteritis, leading to severe damage to the intestines, which can be fatal.

As stated before, illnesses caused by these pathogens can be definitively diagnosed due to tests that can detect the pathogen in a person's system or in the food that was consumed. However, many foodborne illnesses are caused by pathogens that cannot be detected or have not been identified, thus these sicknesses remain undiagnosed. In fact, nearly 82% of illnesses and hospitalizations, and approximately 64% of deaths caused by foodborne illness each year remain undiagnosed.

This inability to diagnose many of the illnesses caused by our food has led to complication in detecting when FBDOs are occurring in the population. Additionally, although some foodborne diseases cause extreme symptoms such as kidney failure, paralysis, or even death, many cause common flu-like symptoms such as vomiting and fever. Because of this, many cases of foodborne illness simply go unreported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has instituted procedures that aid in the surveillance of foodborne illnesses in order to determine and act upon any FBDOs that may occur.

The CDC has defined a FBDO as the occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illness resulting from the ingestion of a common food. The ability to monitor FBDOs has steadily become more effective in recent years due to the electronic Foodborne Outbreak Reporting System (eFORS). This electronic database allows local, state, territorial, and federal health agencies to report food-borne illness cases as they happen. The CDC then monitors this database and performs any investigations needed into multiple cases of the same illness, or patterns of illness in the population. This database has made it possible to react to FBDOs that may be occurring within the population quickly and effectively, maximizing the ability of health care providers to treat those that have been affected and increasing the safety and awareness of consumers.

Although strides have been made to cope with FBDOs as they happen, there are a few simple habits that you can personally do that significantly decrease your chances of contracting a foodborne illness. When purchasing, transporting, storing and preparing food there are measures that should be taken in order to ensure the safety of the food you are consuming. Many foodborne illnesses arise out of carelessness in the handling of our food prior to consumption. The following is a list of practices that can be followed to minimize the likeliness of contracting a foodborne disease.

Choosing the Right Food at the Right Time:
When shopping, get canned and packaged foods first before heading to the refrigerated sections of the grocery store. Make sure cans are not bulging or dented. Check for cracks in jars and avoid jars with bulging lids. If canned or packaged goods are sticky on the outside this could indicate a leak, and these products should be avoided.
Choose pasteurized milks and cheeses, as well as juices and ciders that have been pasteurized or treated. Pasteurization is accomplished by significantly elevating the temperature of the product during processing, thus killing any microorganisms that may cause illness.

Select eggs that are refrigerated and check the eggs, before leaving the store, for any cracks. Cracks can allow microorganisms to enter the eggs, thus increasing the chances for illness.

Wait to select frozen food and perishables, such as meat, poultry, and seafood, until the end of your shopping trip, and bag these products separately in plastic bags so the drippings do not contaminate other food in the shopping cart.

Bring a cooler full of ice to keep frozen and perishable foods cold if your return trip from the grocery store will be longer than one hour.

Refrigerate (40°F) or freeze (0°F) perishables immediately upon arrival home from the store.

Store eggs in carton in the refrigerator. Avoid storing them in the door because the temperature is warmer here due to the door being opened and closed.

Meats, poultry and fish can be placed in the refrigerator in the packaging from the grocery story if they are to be cooked within 1-2 days. For longer storage, these items should be wrapped tightly and placed in the freezer.

Produce should be cleaned prior to preparation in order to remove any dirt and grime. Pay special attention to cleaning produce that will be eaten raw because there will be no heat involved during preparation to kill lingering bacteria.

Wash hands, utensils and cutting boards that have come in contact with meat or poultry before preparing other foods. This reduces the possibility of cross contamination.

Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Ground beef should reach an internal temperature of 160°F, and eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.

Make sure to refrigerate any leftovers promptly so contamination is not allowed to occur.

These prevention measures are needed to limit the possibility of contamination of our food as it travels from the farm to our tables. However, if contamination does occur, and a foodborne illness results, it is important to report this to your local health department. With the information you provide, health officials can gain a better understanding regarding the initialization, transmission, and other contributing factors to FBDOs.

Sources for More Information
For more information please visit:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FBDO toolkit
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Info on Foodborne Illness
Eric Johnson is the Mid-State Safety Representative and Water/Wastewater Coordinator and covers a fourteen county area around Raleigh. Please call 919-218-3567 to schedule training.

Eric Johnson is the Mid-State Safety Representative and Water/Wastewater Coordinator and covers a fourteen county area around Raleigh. Please call 919-218-3567 to schedule training.

About NC Industrial Commission Safety Section
The NC Industrial Commission Safety Education Section stands ready to assist you with your Safety training needs. We offer a variety of courses, designed to suit your needs. Please give one of our Industrial Safety Representatives a call.

Director Safety Education
Program Assistant
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 
at or
Kim Nadeau at
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May 12 - 15, 2009

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N.C. Industrial Commission | 4339 Mail Service Center | Raleigh | NC | 27699