Thursday, April 25, 2019
We are pleased to offer our April newsletter for your reading pleasure!
Mark your calendar now for our 87th NC Statewide Safety Conference
May 16 - 18, 2017 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC.

Exhibitor and Attendee registrations are now open! 

Notes from Dennis

Greetings Friends,

The 87th NC Statewide Safety Conference is rapidly approaching! If you haven't registered as and Exhibitor or Attendee, please do so today.

We also are pleased to announce the addition of Eric Johnson and Elizabeth Ward to our group. Eric is now a safety consultant and Elizabeth is our new program assistant. Mel Harmon continues to improve and your prayers for his complete recovery are most welcome!

We are in the process of updating our mail lists and please be patient with us if you are receiving duplication emails. Elizabeth is working diligently cleaning up our lists! If you have any additions or updates, please contact her.

Please give us a call if you have training needs and we look forward to seeing you soon!


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Welcome Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson has joined us here at the NC Safety Conference, Inc. He retired from the NC Industrial Commission in January and with his retirement, the safety section has been closed. We continue to stand ready to serve all of your safety & health training needs and water & wastewater dual credit needs.

Please give Eric or me a call to schedule today! He can be reached by either calling 919-210-7394 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

we have added a Program Assistant position as well. Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth Ward. She may be reached either by email or phone at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling her at 252-529-4415.
Stay Up-To-Date on New Industry Trends

Respirator responsibility

Take proper care of your respirator

A dirty respirator can cause skin infections, and if it's used by more than one person, it can transmit disease. In addition, a dirty or poorly maintained respirator can fail to seal properly around the face, allowing contaminants in around the mask. So HOW OFTEN should you clean and disinfect your respirator? That depends on how your respirator is used. Follow these cleaning schedule standards:
  • Exclusive-use respirators-as often as needed to maintain a sanitary condition
  • Shared respirators-before being worn by different persons
  • Emergency-use respirators-after each use
  • Respirators used in fit testing and training-after each use
Here's HOW TO CLEAN your respirator:
  • Remove all filters, cartridges, or canisters. Disassemble the face piece by removing speaking diaphragms, demand and pressure-demand valve assemblies, hoses, or any components recommended by the manufacturer. Discard or repair any defective parts.
  • Wash all components in warm water with a mild detergent or with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. A stiff bristle (not wire)brush may be used to facilitate the removal of dirt. Strong cleaners and wire brushes can damage the respirator.
If the cleaner doesn't contain a disinfecting agent, soak your respirator's components for 2 minutes in one of the following:
  • A bleach solution made with 1 milliliter of laundry bleach in 1 liter of warm water;An iodine solution made by adding approximately 0.8 milliliters of tincture of iodine to 1 liter of warm water; or
  • A cleanser recommended or approved by the respirator manufacturer.
  • Rinse all components in clean, warm, running water. Drain. Thoroughly rinse components because detergents or disinfectants that dry on face pieces can cause skin irritation. Some disinfectants may also cause deterioration of rubber or corrosion of metal parts.
  • Dry components by hand with a clean, lint-free cloth or air-dry them.
  • Reassemble the face piece, replacing filters, cartridges, and canisters as needed. If you discarded worn or damaged parts (for example, overstretched straps), replace them with new ones.
  • Test the respirator to ensure that all components work properly.
Once the respirator is cleaned, disinfected, dried, and reassembled, STORE it out of direct exposure to sunlight or temperature extremes in such a way that it won't become contaminated before its next use. Generally, this will mean placing it inside a storage container specifically designed for the respirator.

Spring Cleaning 
Take precautions with cleaning chemicals

If you have cleaning responsibilities at work, follow safe work practices. To protect workers from the hazards of cleaning products, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute  for Occupational Safety and Health have produced a bulletin titled Protecting Workers Who Use Cleaning Chemicals at

Here's what you need to know (Many of these precautions apply at home, too.):

* Never mix cleaning products that contain bleach and ammonia. 
* Know which chemicals must be diluted and how to correctly dilute them. 
* Attend training and apply what you learn about the use and storage of 
cleaning chemicals, and about emergency spill procedures for cleaning 
* Wear the required personal protective equipment needed for each chemical, 
such as gloves and/or goggles. 
* Know how to read the labels on all containers of cleaning products and 
chemicals to identify content and hazards. Report containers that are not 
labeled, and don't use the chemicals from those containers. 
* Check with your supervisor about ventilation systems that may be needed 
during cleaning to allow sufficient airflow and prevent buildup of hazardous 
* Know where you can wash up after using cleaning chemicals.

The document addresses several subjects, including safe work practices when using cleaning chemicals. 

According to an analysis of thou- sands of hearing tests on adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), too much noise exposure at home or in the community can damage hearing as much as working in a very noisy place. The CDC study found:
  • About 53 percent of adults with noise-induced hearing damage reported no job exposure to loud sounds.
  • Almost 1 in 4 adults aged 20to 69 who reported good to excellent hearing already had some hearing loss.
  • About 1 in 5 adults who reported no job exposure to noise showed hearing damage indicative of general noise exposure.
  • The presence of hearing loss increases with age.
Other studies show that hearing loss is associated with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and stress. Chronic noise exposure has been linked to worsening of heart disease, increased blood pressure, and other negative health effects. The CDC encourages doctors to ask patients about their exposure to loud noise and hearing issues.
Opinion: OSHA discourages blanket post-accident drug testing
By Al Vreeland, Contributing Guest Author
Since the name of their game is safety, you would think OSHA wouldn't want forklift drivers and overhead crane operators toking on a bong before their shifts. We've grown accustomed to contradictory government directives (e.g., the Affordable Care Act (ACA) encourages employer-sponsored wellness programs, while the EEOC thinks they're the devil). But when a single agency with the sole mission of promoting workplace safety suggests post-accident drug testing may make the workplace less safe, we're gobsmacked.

OSHA recently issued its new rule on reporting injuries. In addition to requiring electronic reporting by certain employers, the new rule "clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer's procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting." Sounds reasonable, right? You don't want to penalize employees simply for reporting injuries; it's what the law requires, and it's essential to preventing future workplace accidents.

The first three elements of this new rule are reasonable, at least on their face. First, employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. Second, they must provide a reasonable (not unduly burdensome) method to make such reports. Third, the rule adopts the prohibition against retaliation for reporting injuries that already exists under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) itself. This change, however, allows OSHA to enforce the non-retaliation provisions through the agency's citation process (similar to citing a workplace hazard) in addition to employees' right to file their own whistle-blower claim.

Regarding the anti retaliation rule, OSHA tried to assuage employers' concerns about their right to enforce valid safety rules (such as requiring employees to wear personal protective equipment in specified areas):
The final rule prohibits employers only from taking adverse action against an employee because the employee reported an injury or illness. Nothing in the final rule prohibits employers from disciplining employees for violating legitimate safety rules, even if the same employee who violated a safety rule also was injured as a result of that violation and reported that injury or illness (provided that employees who violate the same work rule are treated similarly without regard to whether they also reported a work-related illness or injury). What the final rule prohibits is retaliatory adverse action taken against an employee simply because he or she reported a work-related injury or illness.
Fair enough, right? You can discipline an employee for violating a safety rule if the violation results in an injury. You simply can't discipline the employee for the act of reporting the injury. Of course, if it stopped there, you wouldn't be reading this article because nothing would have changed.

Here's the zinger. Right after offering this assurance that you can continue to enforce your legitimate safety rules, OSHA then tells you that you can't. Graciously acknowledging that post-accident drug testing may be reasonable in "some situations," OSHA goes on to say post-accident testing "may inappropriately deter reporting" where drug use is unlikely to have caused the accident or the testing reveals prior use but not current impairment (such as pot smoking).

Does this mean I can't drug test?

Although the rule itself doesn't state that, OSHA concludes that "blanket post-injury drug testing policies deter proper reporting," and therefore, a blanket testing requirement will violate the new rule. In OSHA's view, you can conduct post-accident testing only in "situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use."

OSHA offers examples such as a bee sting or a repetitive strain injury (like carpel tunnel syndrome) to make its case for limited post-accident testing. But its reading of the new rule would go much farther than these obvious cases and require supervisors to make on-the-spot judgments about whether an accident could have been caused by drug use-likely well before they have an opportunity to investigate and gather all of the information about the accident. Our crystal ball says that this will lead to a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking based on information (video surveillance, equipment inspection, witness statements) that supervisors didn't have access to at the time.

OSHA kindly acknowledged an exception for drug testing that is required by state workers' compensation laws or federal regulations (such as Department of Transportation testing). If required by law or regulation, the testing won't be considered retaliatory. 

What should you do now?

Although the electronic reporting requirements don't take effect until January 1, 2017, the anti retaliation provisions take effect August 10, 2016. While we think OSHA's interpretation of its own rule is an agency overreach, that issue will have to be sorted out in the courts. In the meantime, you should review your post-accident testing procedures. If you have blanket (automatic) testing for any accident, consider revising the policy to require testing only when there is a reasonable possibility that drug use contributed to the cause of the accident. Specific suspicion of the employee isn't necessary. Also, if possible, consider limiting drug screens to tests that measure current impairment, not just prior use. As an alternative, if you're concerned about drug use, you could also increase the frequency of random testing.

You may contact Al Vreeland at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Albert L. Vreeland is a founding member and Managing Shareholder of Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C., in Birmingham, Alabama. Al has represented employers in the entire range of employment litigation from Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, OSHA and ERISA to claims under the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. His cases have ranged from the claims of a single disgruntled employee to statewide, regional, and nationwide attacks on his clients' hiring, promotion, termination, pay and benefits practices. Al also defends his clients before state and federal appellate courts. He is the editor of Alabama Employment Law Letter.
In addition to his litigation practice, Al regularly counsels clients on preventive employment measures and on handling risk-laden employment decisions. His counseling practice has an emphasis on issues of corporate restructuring, such as sales, acquisitions and reductions-in-force. Al works with clients to analyze the risks of proposed corporate changes, including the risk of union accretion, employee benefit liability, WARN obligations, and adverse EEO impact. 
Chemical spotlight:
Wipe Out
Handle solvent-contaminated wipes safely

Wipes contaminated with hazardous waste solvents don't have to be managed as hazardous waste-as long as you follow very specific requirements. It does matter what types of solvents are used. Before following the management procedures discussed in this article, find out from your supervisor which hazardous waste solvents in your workplace qualify for these procedures.

Regardless of whether the wipes will be disposed of or cleaned and reused, the solvent-contaminated wipes must be properly managed at the facility before being sent for cleaning or disposal.

Here's what you must do: 
  • Store and transport the wipes in nonleaking, closed containers. This means there is complete contact between the fitted lid and the rim, except when adding or removing wipes.
  • Make sure that the container is labeled with these words: "Excluded Solvent-Contaminated Wipes."
  • Securely close the container lids and openings when the container is full, when wipes will no longer be added to the container, and before transporting the containers.
  • Make sure that the container can contain free liquids, should they occur. "Free liquids" means liquids that are visible in the container or unabsorbed by the wipes.
  • Accumulate the wipes for no longer than 180 days from the first date a wipe is stored in the container. After 180 days, the wipes must be sent for cleaning or disposal.
  • Manage free liquids as follows:
    -Ensure there is no free liquid in the container holding the wipes when they are sent for cleaning or disposal.
    -Ensure that the wipes themselves contain no free liquids before being sent for cleaning or disposal.
    -Manage any free liquids removed from the wipes or wipes container as a hazardous waste.
In addition, if you have responsibilities for keeping required records, here's what you need to document: 
  • The name and address of the laundry, dry cleaner, landfill, or combustor to which you're sending the wipes;
  • That the 180-day storage limit is being met; and
  • The process being used to meet the "no free liquids" requirement.
News & Notes
Toll on Targets

Bullies often target coworkers who exhibit a desire to cooperate and have a non-confrontational inter- personal style. According to a 2012 poll of more than 650 bully targets, the top five reasons they were bullied in the workplace are: 
  1. Bully threatened by target's technical skills
  2. Bully's abusive/toxic personality
  3. Target not a political game player
  4. Bully threatened by target's popularity with others
  5. Target perceived as weak
One of the most detrimental aspects of workplace bullying is the impact on bullied targets' health and well-being. The Workplace Bullying Institute's 2003 survey shows the top five health-related issues that targets experience as a result of being bullied are: 
  1. Anxiety, stress, excessive worry
  2. Loss of concentration
  3. Disrupted sleep
  4. Feeling edgy, irritable, easily startled, and constantly on guard (paranoia)
  5. Stress headaches
Sewage system quiz

If your residence is not on a community or city sewage system, you probably have one of two common sewage systems: an aerated treatment unit or a conventional septic system. Either way, do you know how to maintain your system?

Take this quiz to find out: 
  1. It's OK to occasionally discard cooking oil, grease, or paints in the kitchen sink.  True  False

  2. It's important to ensure that power is always supplied to the aerator for aerated treatment systems.  True  False

  3. Inspect your system yourself thoroughly at least every other year.  True  False

  4. Have your system pumped out at least every 7 to 10 years.
    True  False

  5. If you notice slow-draining toilets or drains, get your system inspected.  True  False

  6. It's OK to use septic tank additives instead of periodic pumping.  True  False
If you need First Aid/CPR/AED training, please give us a call at 252-203-3192 or email Dennis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
Eric at 919.210-7394 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule.

You can click the link below to download
our brochure.  
First Aid/CPR/AED Training
Sewage system answers
Follow these important guidelines on maintaining your sewage system: 
  1. False. Don't discard cooking oil, grease, paints, or other substances down the drain or kitchen sink.

  2. True. Ensure that power is always supplied to the aerator for aerated treatment systems. It's also important to clean the aerator's filter periodically.

  3. False. Unless you have been trained to do so, have a professional inspect your system periodically (every 6 months is a guideline).

  4. False. Systems should be pumped out at least every 3 to 5 years, depending on loading.

  5. True. Observe your system for problems such as slow-draining toilets or drains, plumbing backups, sewage odors, gurgling sounds, or wet spots in the yard. If you notice any of this, have your system inspected.

  6. False. Avoid septic tank additives that claim to improve performance-there's no substitute for periodic pumping and a professional inspection.
Do you need safety training?

The NC Statewide Safety Conference, Inc. is now offering safety training from individual classes to all-day workshops, water and wastewater credit hours, First Aid/CPR/AED, Flagger Certification, Defensive Driving and more.

For more information, please call or email:

Dennis Parnell
Executive Director                                                  Brochures
(252) 203-3192 or                                              Defensive Driving 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.         Flagger Cert.
                                                                         Water & Wastewater
Mel Harmon                                                        Safety Leadership
Safety Consultant                                                Competent Person Trenching
919-704-0831                                                     Forklift Training
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.             First Aid/CPR/AED
                                                                          Funeral Service
Eric Johnson                                                        Safety Conference Services
Safety Consultant
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Elizabeth Ward
Program Assistant
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Training Calendar 
2017 Upcoming 6-Hr Dual Credit Water & Wastewater Workshops                                           
April 18, 2017
Burlington, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
April 25, 2017Marion, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
April 26, 2017
Biscoe, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
April 27, 2017
Concord, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
May 4, 2017
Lumberton, NC
May 16, 2017
NC Statewide Safety Conference
Koury Convention Center 
Greensboro, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
May 25, 2017
Weaverville, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
June 1, 2017
Valdese, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
June 13, 2017
Carrboro, NC

6-Hr Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
June 21, 2017
Carthage, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
June 22, 2017
WSACC Concord, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
July 11, 2017
Swan Quarter, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
July 18, 2017
Franklin, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
August 1, 2017
Durham, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
August 3
Elon, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
August 22, 2017
Mebane, NC

6-Hr. Dual Water & Wastewater Workshop
August 29, 2017
Goldsboro, NC

Regional Safety Councils

The NC Statewide Safety Conference, Inc. sponsors 5 Regional Safety Councils. The Western Carolina is now merged with Western Piedmont, Central Piedmont merged with Mid-State, Western Piedmont and Blue Ridge and Southeastern is merged with Mid-State, Blue Ridge and Eastern Carolina. For further information, please give us a call at 252-203-3192 or visit our website look under Safety Councils.

More about safety councils
NC Statewide Safety Conference, Inc.

       CLICK HERE         

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NC Safety Conference, Inc, PO Box 1608, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870-1608
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About Us

This is the largest conference of its kind on the East Coast. Many networking opportunities with safety professionals and awesome vendors! Please join us in the name of safety! The Conference shall function as a non-political, non-commercial organization with special emphasis on accident prevention and safety motivation.