My Internship at the Department of Labor & Industries
By Francis K.
I am currently interning with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries hygiene compliance team in Region 3 (Pierce, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam Counties). My day to day activities include inspecting regional workplaces, scheduling interviews with employees, and creating sampling plans that may assist with inspections. For example, if we need to do noise exposure monitoring I have to know what time the employers’ work shift starts so I can make sure our noise dosimeters are calibrated and fully charged.
The most important skill needed in this workplace is being able to communicate clearly and effectively all while maintaining composure and being professional. We routinely work with employers that can be hostile, which is understandable as they can incur serious fines. I always tell the employer that the compliance teams aren’t out to get them, but we are only there to make sure that the employer is running a business that is safe and effective.
The support system here at Labor and Industries is amazing. In my office alone you are combining 90+ years of experience between five employees.
It is important when you first get into an internship to make as many connections as possible. This includes reaching out to other sections, and finding somebody you can consult with in case a question arises. It is also important to find a mentor who will help guide you through your internship, and can give you criticism on what you need to work on and what you are doing as an intern to make the most out of your experience.
Overall, I would recommend interning at L&I to any Environmental Health undergraduate wanting to learn more about industrial hygiene and the Washington Administrative Codes that business owners have to abide by.