Thursday, January 19, 2017

Northwest Center Trainee Selected to Present at UW Global Health 10th Anniversary Celebration

Occupational Health at the Human-Animal Interface trainee Julianne Meisner was selected as one of 15 students to present her work at the UW Department of Global Health 10th Anniversary Celebration. Governor Insley, Melinda Gates, and other global health leaders from the Pacific Northwest will be in attendance at the exclusive event.

Julianne will present her poster "Zoonotic disease, animal injury, and other occupational hazards of rural livestock keepers in norther Uganda" at the event. We are so proud of our outstanding trainee for receiving this prestigious invitation. Read more about Julianne's research here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ERC Trainee Takes Her Training to ExxonMobil

Emily Zamzow, a current ERC student, was first introduced to academic research while working for Boise State University on a NIOSH funded research study examining diesel exposure to underground miners in 2014. Throughout this project she worked with Dr. Chris Simpson of the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), and he introduced her to the exposure science masters program through DEOHS. 

Currently as a second year MS student in the exposure science program, she works in the Simpson Lab analyzing biomarker samples from underground miners to determine their exposure to diesel. She hopes her project will help build the body of knowledge surrounding diesel exposures to ensure the health and safety of future underground miners. 


Being an ERC student has equipped Emily with the skills to work in industry and provide essential industrial hygiene support. In the summer of 2016, she was employed as the industrial hygiene intern at the ExxonMobil Joliet, Illinois refinery. Throughout the summer, she assisted in exposure monitoring of workers to ensure worker safety and compliance with all regulatory and ExxonMobil standards, guidelines and best practices. The refinery environment is diverse and thus, exposure monitoring was done for a wide range of potential hazards including chemical hazards, noise, lighting, asbestos and respirable dust. With her training from the ERC and the University of Washington, Emily was able to help ensure worker safety at the ExxonMobil refinery.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ERC Trainee Graduates to Boeing

ERC Trainee, and recent MS graduate, Darrick Dickerson turned his Industrial Hygiene dreams into reality through his training at the Northwest Center!

During the summer of 2016 Darrick interned at Boeing as part of his Master's program with the NWC.

"During my internship I gained extensive hands-on experience with industrial hygiene equipment, and developed my skills in assessing potential health hazards and communicating risks in a manner that is understandable to customers who don't have a background in occupational health and safety," said Darrick.

Darrick was able to compliment his classroom learning with real life experience at Boeing. "I was able to refine my risk communication skills, gain familiarity with government and company regulations, and practice compliance enforcement in a hands-on environment," said Dickerson. "Perhaps the most important skill I developed through my schooling was how to assess occupational exposures and safety concerns, and determine the best way to reduce or eliminate hazards. Through my internship I was able to practice these skills in the real world."

Upon completion of his Master's degree and internship Darrick was offered a full-time position with Boeing as a Safety Specialist. He now helps Boeing to refine workplace processes and investigate areas of improvement to reduce current and future safety and health hazards. He also helps ensure that the company remains in compliance with federal and state regulations. "I love the work I do," says Darrick, "I feel great knowing that my work benefits the lives and wellbeing of those around me!"

Monday, November 28, 2016

ERC Student Summer Internship at UW's Major Capital Projects Division

Construction Management Safety and Health (CMOSH) Trainee, Christopher Mak, spent his summer interning for the University of Washington's Major Capital Projects Division, where he participated in a case study on Temporary LED Construction Lighting at the UW Animal Research and Care Facility Construction Site.

Temporary LED lighting
at the project site
(Photo: Chris Mak)
Mak’s research focused on UW’s implementation and utilization of low-voltage LEDs for temporary construction lighting, and understanding why it was chosen over other options. His case study built off of previous research conducted by Yi Jie Huang in 2014, where Huang studied temporary construction lighting at the UW's Bothell Phase 3 Project.

Key findings from his case study included more consistent compliance to the lighting requirement, better maintenance of lights when LEDs were used. He also found that there is a need for a temporary construction lighting schedule to understand energy costs, and a material cost database for better access to cost data. These findings will help inform the University of Washington on how temporary LED lighting can be used to its full benefit.

Over the course of 8 weeks, he spent 15 hours a week on-site participating in site walk throughs, safety meetings, and even follow-up procedures of a near-miss incident that occurred during his internship, in addition to conducting his case study. While nobody was injured in the near-miss incident, the follow-up meetings and investigative reports provided Chris with a unique learning opportunity and gave him a taste of the day-to-day life of an EH&S professional. The internship also gave Mak the opportunity to shadow Skanska's EH&S officer, Chiung-I Hwang.

CMOSH Trainee Christopher Mak
"Through this internship I was able to see the daily operations of a multimillion dollar, publicly owned construction project. I witnessed safety and health practices through 'morning stretch and flex', job site safety meetings and announcements, and CPO's campus-wide safety meeting and site walks."

Monday, November 21, 2016

DEOHS Industrial Hygiene Program Alumni Present at NOHC 2016

DEOHS Alumni Sarah Wolz, MS and Liz Kindred, MS presented at NOHC 2016. Sarah, current Program Content Coordinator for the Northwest Center's Continuing Education Program, summarized her experience at NOHC.

"It was a pleasure to 'tag team' present at NOHC '16 in Portland this year with Liz Kindred, Safety Officer at Harborview Medical Center and fellow UW DEOHS alumni. Liz's presentation covered the 'state of the issue' and all the planning, training and preparations Harborview made for accepting potentially infected patients during the often chaotic Ebola virus outbreak in 2014. 
Our CE presentation highlighted a Washington Labor & Industries SHIP-grant funded training and education project we completed last year with the Harborview Emergency Department and the WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare. Using the Ebola outbreak, preparations, and the necessity to wear high-level PPE as a 'case study' for looking at occupational safety, we employed simulation technology, virtual reality technology, and a semi-quantitative risk assessment tool to study certain procedures healthcare providers must do while caring for an Ebola-infected patient. We looked for where there might be "failures" in the procedures that could lead to occupational exposure, and developed step-by-step protocols to try to engineer these failures out of the system. 
Two sample training tools were developed: a stepwise app for the protocol to be used on handheld devices to refresh caregivers' training and improve safety by guiding them through critical steps, and a simple virtual reality "google cardboard" glasses tool, using 3D/360 degree images of the patient isolation room and learner feedback technology. Both tools were demonstrated at the Northwest Center for Occupational Health & Safety/Continuing Education booth at NOHC.  
While Ebola virus may not be a current threat today, we all know that status can change rapidly with a re-emergence or other similarly contagious emergent disease. Occupational health professionals understand the importance for preparedness and the rigorous training required. We hope this presentation sparked interest in exploring the uses of new technologies in developing more interactive and interesting tools for effective training and education."
Resources from the above mentioned Ebola patient handling course are available on the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety's Continuing Education Program website. Resources include presentation slides and recordings, instructions to download the developed app, and downloadable resource sheets.
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