Monthly Archives: June 2018

Meet Our Interns: Darcy V.

First Impressions of My Summer Internship

By Darcy

My first impressions about my internship at Marine Group Boat Works is that it is small, family-run, and everyone is very close-knit. I also immediately recognized their commitment to environmental sustainability and I am already very impressed with their numerous green initiatives. I did not think that a shipyard would have particularly sustainable practices, but I quickly learned that I was very wrong. The environment is a top priority to MGBW and their primary green initiatives include a solar powered boat yard, a fleet of electric cars, 100% reclamation of storm water runoff, and enclosed sandblasting and painting to prevent hazardous emissions.

My colleagues are all very welcoming and I can tell they want me to learn and succeed. All of my colleagues are very open to letting me join any projects I have interest in and I have already had several people approach me about working with them, which is super exciting. I can tell that the work I am doing will have a real impact on the organization, and I cannot wait to get started! I am excited to get to know the company better, learn more about their sustainability initiatives, and be able to promote the positive impact MGBW has on the environment. I am also excited to work with the environmental and safety compliance team to see the field come to life and learn how to find risks as well as mitigate them. However, I know I have a lot to learn about the marketing aspects of my internship, and I am also a little hesitant about having to approach people working on the boats if they are in violation of an environmental or safety protocol. However, I’m excited for this internship, the people I will work with, and the projects I will get to take part in!

Meet Our Interns: Yarrow L.

About My Internship With The WHO

By Yarrow L.

The main project I will focus on for the duration of my internship is a comprehensive literature review and data collection of log reduction values for various different treatment technologies for drinking water, in order to provide data for the newest edition of the World Health Organization Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. Specifically, I will work on table 7.7 in the guidelines, which pertains to the reduction of bacteria, viruses and protozoa achieved by water treatment technologies at drinking-water treatment plants for large communities. The most recent, fourth edition, guidelines were based purely on “expert opinion” data and did not consider the plethora of data from peer-reviewed studies from all around the world, which the updated edition will do. The table is broken down into treatment processes, including pretreatment, coagulation flocculation and sedimentation, filtration like membrane filtration or granular filtration, and primary disinfection like chlorine, ozone, or UV. For each treatment process, the log reduction value is given for bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.

So far, this task has required a lot of concentration and organizational skills. Tools like Zotero, a reference database, and Web Plot digitizer, a tool for extracting values from graphs, are very helpful in this process. The data I extract is entered into an excel spreadsheet, which will later be put into another database with all the data for the project. I have never seen an excel sheet this large, and in order for the data to be kept neat and decipherable, the spreadsheet must be very organized, which for me includes color coding (yay!). My background in microbiology, and environmental health in general, has made it much easier to understand the studies I am examining.

The main support I will need from my coworkers for this project is assistance in making judgement calls on different studies, and maybe some help with calculations for log reduction values or CT values for example. On my first day, I got an extensive orientation of the project and the different tools like Zotero that will be vital for the project, but for the most part I think it will be fairly independent with as much or as little help and support as I end up requiring. The two other people working directly with me have both been very helpful and will be able to give me support when I need it.

Meet Our Interns: Claire T.

Getting Ready for My Internship

By Claire T.

This summer I will intern at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, focusing of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. For this internship my supervisor and mentor is the Consultation Manager for Region 2. My supervisor oversees all offices in King County, including Seattle, Tukwila, and Bellevue.

For the duration of my internship I will work alongside Safety, Industrial Hygiene, and Risk Management consultants. I will be contributing to a team that helps small businesses in high hazard industries to develop safety and health programs.

I got this internship in a little bit of an unusual way. After a field trip to the L&I Tukwila office (shout out to graduate Ali for setting up the visit) for an informational meeting with some of the regional managers, I discovered an interest in their consultation department. Every year the compliance side of L&I has an internship program and takes on interns, but their consultation side did not have internship positions. After the informational meeting I went up and talked to the Consultation Manager to ask if he would even consider taking an intern on in his department. He seemed open to the idea and we set up a time to talk about possibly creating an internship position. In the end they were able to create the position!

I am really excited to take some of the knowledge that I learned in my coursework and really dive deeper into its practical application. I am also very excited to work with the Industrial Hygienists and learn about all the sampling they do and the instruments they use.

Leading up to my internship as well as my first couple days, I was nervous about what I needed to know to be successful. I was concerned that I wasn’t going to know enough information to be helpful or that some of the workers might see me as a hassle or an extra duty. Even though the first week of my internship isn’t over yet, those fears have already mostly gone away. Everyone is very friendly so far and generally they like to explain their roles within the department.

Kayla C.: About My Internship at UW Environmental Health & Safety

About My Internship at UW Environmental Health & Safety

By Kayla C.

Kayla looking for confined spaces at the UW campus.

My Internship at UW Environmental Health & Safety is composed of two roles: Programming and Shadowing. The programming sector of my internship was the first step and took up a majority of my time. OSHA recently updated its Confined Space Regulations; therefore, UW EH&S needed to update their program to remain in compliance. It had been a while since the Confined Space program was last updated, and the program is now under a new owner. As an intern, I am assisting with a complete overhaul of the program.

To complete the overhaul of the program, we first started incorporating the new regulations into the written program. This consisted of multiple drafts which were reviewed many times. As the program is finalized, the supporting documents also need to be updated. This included various forms, FAQ pages, training materials and the department’s website. I am working on incorporating the updated documents into the final program update. I was surprised to learn how much writing takes place in the field of environmental health, and how many review stages some documents go through before they are final.

The second stage of my internship is auditing all of the confined spaces around campus. This entails locating old lists, reaching out to people with access to them, and then re-evaluating the spaces against the new regulations. This is a field intensive process and requires physically going out to spaces to assess for hazards. I enjoy this aspect of my internship a lot because I have the chance to put into practice all the training and paperwork that I’ve been working on.

Overall, my internship has been an eye-opening experience. Outside of my Confined Space project, when I’m in the office I am able to see all the different things that EHS specialists are able to do. There are many career-possibilities for an EHS and so many routes that can be pursued. Even if you are working at one organization, like UW, you can be involved with things like confined spaces, hazard analysis, air quality, water quality, fire safety, asbestos, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Meet Our Interns: Corinna O.

Getting Ready for My First Internship

By Corinna O.

Corinna O at her new desk at WA L&I DOSH

This summer, I’ll intern at the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) in Tacoma, WA as an Industrial Hygiene Intern. L&I is responsible for the safety, health, and security of Washington’s workers. The diverse state agency helps employers meet safety and health standards and inspects workplaces for hazards. I will work with industrial hygienists and safety specialists, commonly known as Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs).

Earlier in the year, L&I representatives visited UW to give an information session and conduct interviews for intern positions. I was hesitant at first because it was my first interview for a position relating to my degree and I had no previous employment in occupational health and safety, but I decided to try for the opportunity anyway. The information session was very insightful and it made me feel better going into the interview because I felt more prepared after hearing about their mission and the qualities they look for in their employees. I was interviewed by two regional compliance managers from Regions 2 and 3. They noticed on my resume that I’m from Tacoma, which is part of Region 3, and the regional manager said that there might be a position for me at the Tacoma office. I was so surprised and happy, and after discussing further about my academic experience in industrial hygiene and my interest in the position, I felt more confident. A couple weeks after the interview, I got a call back and was told that the regional manager from Region 3 wanted me to come to the Tacoma office to do a meet and greet. I got hired and here I am! I’m looking forward to getting hands-on experience in occupational health and safety.

For 10 weeks, I will accompany CSHOs on field visits, assist with sampling, opening and closing conferences, conducting employee interviews, evaluating of ventilation systems, and noise monitoring. When in the office, I will make phone calls to follow up on abatement documentation and support CSHOs with technical research. I will also help maintain and calibrate sampling equipment, and place orders for sampling supplies and PPE, as needed. Finally, I will also accompany safety CSHOs to construction sites in order to understand the safety side of their business.

I am most excited about going out into the field and assisting with the inspections. I’m also excited, but more so, curious about the political aspects of compliance. I am both excited and nervous about working in a position relating to occupational health and safety. However, I believe that the coursework that I’ve taken at UW has given me the foundation and knowledge to do well.

Meet Our Interns: Kayla C.

About My Internship at UW’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety

By Kayla Cayton

Kayla looks for confined spaces around the UW campus.

How I Found My Internship

I got my internship by cold-emailing. I was given my supervisor’s contact information and emailed her asking her about internships in her department. She replied and told be to come in for a chat about it, and she offered me a position on the spot! I was very lucky and I am very excited!

My Internship at UW EHS

I am completing my internship at UW Health and Safety. I will be working under the Assistant Director for Occupational Safety and Health, and be working closely with an Occupational Health and Safety Specialist. I assist with a few projects, but my primary focus will be revamping and updating their Confined Space Program. I am excited to work with my supervisor and other co-workers because they seem very knowledgeable and I think that I will learn a lot from them. I am a little nervous about starting because I do not have a lot of previous knowledge about Confined Spaces or program management, and I will have a lot to learn! However, I think I will have good guidance and with a little help from my coworkers, I will be fine.

My First Day

On my first day, I was a little overwhelmed. My supervisor and coworker were very helpful and explained things to me to give me a little bit of a foundation. We talked a lot about the goals for my internship, my tasks, and a determined a general plan of action. This was very helpful because it helped me visualize what I needed to do. I was excited to get started because my coworkers seemed excited to have me there to help them with their work.

About My Internship Project

My goal for this quarter is to update and improve the confined space program for UW. The regulations changed and therefore the whole program needs to be updated to remain in compliance. This requires updating all necessary forms, the written program, training materials, the website, as well as updating the inventory. My primary goal will be to update the paperwork and the written products first, and then the second half of my internship will be physically evaluating all spaces and updating the inventory with the new evaluations and requirements. I will be doing this with assistance and guidance from my team and I am looking forward to learning more!