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!
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!