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.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2016 Northwest Occupational Health Conference a Huge Success!

Conference contributors, including Dana
Stahl, University of Washington DEOHS
and 2016 PNS-AIHA President, enjoying
the NOHC Conference.
The Northwest Center was pleased to support the 2016 Northwest Occupational Health Conference (NOHC), which was held October 19-21 in Portland Oregon. This annual conference is organized and hosted by the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (PNS-AIHA).  More than 200 participants attended the conference. James Martin, 2016 conference chair and 2017 PNS-AIHA President did a fantastic job in bringing this year’s conference together.

2016 Breysse Lecturer, Dr. Steven Shea
from the Oregon Institute of Occupational
Health Sciences, with Dr. Marty Cohen, 
University of Washington DEOHS and
Maggie Leland, L&I
Dr. Steven Shea Director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences (OIOHS) was the 2016 Breysse lecturer and the first speaker of the day for the Short Course, Health and Safety in the 24/7 Economy on October 19. Dr. Shea’s primary research focus is the effect of circadian rhythms and sleep disorders on human disease.

The short course course covered many aspects of sleep and shift work, including scientific research and the reality of the work that needs to happen over multiple shifts for both employers and employees. The course was coordinated by Dana Stahl from UW DEOHS and 2016 PNS-AIHA President, with assistance from Dede Montgomery from OIOHS and Steve Eversmeyer from Oregon OSHA.

The 2016 Scholarship Winners!
Northwest Center Trainees participated heavily in the NOHC conference, and several were awarded NOHC Scholarships. Congratulations to our 2016 PNS-AIHA Scholarship Winners! We wish you a long and successful career in Industrial Hygiene:

1st Place: Sophie Hegg
2nd Place: Trace Forkan
3rd Place: Emily Zamzow and Siobhan Wock
Honorable Mention: Allyson O'Connor and Chase Billington

The Northwest Center coordinated several sessions for the 2016 NOHC Conference including the NW Regional Panel: Research Advances in the Northwest and NW Regional OHS Workshop: Professional Training Opportunities Program, during which several ERC students shared their training experiences.
UW ERC Students Allyson O'Connor
and Emily Zamzow

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