Iman O: My Internship Tasks

My Internship Tasks

By Iman O.

During my internship at the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, I accompany
Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CHSOs) on workplace safety and health inspections in
all industries across Region 2 (King County). Inspections include opening conferences, walk
arounds, employer interviews, employee interviews, maybe some sampling, and closing
conferences. I help CSHOs conduct background research, review requested documents from
employers, and sift through the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) for codes relevant to
each inspection. I have had the opportunity to do some smaller inspections over the phone or
email. These are complaints that do not warrant a field inspection or do not have an associated
code that a CSHO could cite.

Iman in her cubicle

This internship requires a lot of research and communication skills. Inspections begin when
there’s an accident, complaint, or referral regarding a workplace hazard. In some of these
cases, the hazard description is vague. The department has a couple main databases that they
use for inspections. These allow us to research employer history, variance history, violation
history, appeal history, etc. I typically do background research with CSHOs on the company
using these tools before going out to inspect. I also found that communication skills are
essential for this internship. Due to the nature of the work, there’s no set schedule and the only
way to join CSHOs is to email them and continuously keep contact with them. There were times
that I had to email individuals I never met asking to join them on an inspection or hearing. The
more practice I have, the easier it gets. As one of the CSHOs I accompany always says, “they can
either say yes or no, and if you don’t try it’s a definite no.”

Almost everyone I have met has been very welcoming and open to me asking all the questions I
can think of. My supervisor is always on the lookout for extra learning opportunities for me and
supports me in gaining as much as possible from this experience. During my internship, I had
one of the CSHOs as my mentor. I really appreciate her and all the time she put into helping me
either with WIN (WISHA Information Network), LIINIS (L&I Industrial Insurance System), or any
other databases the department uses for inspections.

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