Tag Archives: EHS

Colin: My Internship Project

My Internship Project

By Colin V.

This summer I have been an Environmental Health and Safety intern at Seacast, an investment casting foundry in Seattle and Marysville, Washington. My main summer project was to help design and implement a new fume collection system for plasma cutting. When an operator uses a plasma torch to cut metal, combustible metal dust and other fumes are generated. Of primary concern is Hexavalent Chromium, also known as Hex Chrome. Hex chrome is a sub-micron particulate that can have adverse health effects at low levels of exposure. The PEL set by OSHA is just 0.5 µg/m^3 as an 8-hour time-weighted average. Adverse health effects that can arise from hex chrome exposure include eye irritation or damage, skin ulcers, respiratory irritation and asthma, and lung cancer. The operator wears a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) that provides a filtered air supply to a welding helmet. Implementing a fume collection system would reduce operator exposure and the potential exposure to other workers.

To collect these fumes, I have helped design a system that would use a wet dust collector to quench and collect flammable metal dust, followed by a HEPA filter bank on the end of the ventilation duct would capture any sub-micron particles that pass through the dust collector. In order to design this unit, I have been working with several Seacast employees: the Corporate EHS Manager, the Seattle operations manager, an aerospace engineer, and the foundry manager. To help visualize the setup of the system, I spent part of a day learning how to use a basic CAD program. This allowed me to create 3D mock-ups of the complete system in different arrangements. Using the CAD program made a huge difference in creating a visualization for others to understand, especially when compared to hand-drawn sketches.

The design process is almost entirely complete. Now we are in the process of submitting a Notice of Construction to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. With the current backlog of projects awaiting approval, we found out that it could take up to 4 months for our project to be approved. Since I have to return to school, it is unlikely that I will be able to fully implement the dust collection system and conduct air sampling. However, all of my design and process notes up to this point will likely be used by the team to implement the collection system upon approval.

Toan: How I Got My Internship with Holland America

How I Got My Internship with Holland America

By Toan N.

My name is Toan and I will be a fourth-year student in the environmental health major this upcoming Fall quarter. As of right now, I am interning for Holland America Line at the Seattle location. My team consist of four people: the Safety Operation director, Safety Operation Specialists, and the Occupational Health Manager. Most of my work revolves around helping the Safety Managers and the Occupational Health Manager to maintain fleet safety on subjects such as ship mechanics, noise conservation, the supply chain for the ships. I am very excited to learn about the Risk Assessments and LOTO procedures for maritime work. I am most nervous about the corporate work life. I do not yet know about things such as work culture and office politics.

I got my internship by applying to a lot of available internships in Seattle. I heard back from Holland America Line, and they asked me to submit an online video interview. By June I received an email from them that they wanted me to be their team’s intern.

Raymond: About My Internship with Samsung

About My Internship with Samsung

By Raymond L.

For my internship, I worked at Samsung Semiconductor Inc. in San Jose, California. During my internship, I worked with my manager to make sure that the company follows all regulations set by the state and federal government. I will be responsible for managing hazard communication, informing employees of confined spaces, and assisting audits. I am excited about learning how an audit is performed in the work field and increasing my knowledge about OSHA regulations.

On my first day, I was really surprised by the size of the campus, and the number of amenities it offered to employees. There was an arcade room, gym, and a cafeteria. There are a lot of vending machines place around campus for snacks. I did not expect these many amenities in the workplace, but it does promote work life balance lifestyle since the employees can take a break from working.

Raymond gives a presentation on his internship project to employees at Samsung.

I completed an informational interview with my coworker, and he mentioned he had a bachelor’s in chemical engineering. He said he realized how similar the two fields of chemical engineering and environmental health and safety were, so he went to graduate school for environmental health and safety. He said that he got most of his experience through jobs in consulting, and consulting is a good way to gain some good skills for your resume.

I plan to establish and manage the hazardous chemical database for two Samsung sites, and create safety data sheet binders for employees to view. Also, I had to identify areas with confined spaces, so I can label these spaces to warn employees. I facilitated the administration of site emergency guide questionnaires for six Samsung sites, and addressed any questions they may have in the questionnaire.

I found this internship through indeed, and using the Google search engine. I learned that keeping the job description was helpful for interviews because some jobs take down the description when they interview candidates, so referring back to the job description was really helpful for me. I got my internship by catering my resume to the position, and practicing a lot for the interview process. One thing I did not expect was that a lot of employers don’t respond to your application or they take an extremely long time. Some tips I have for people looking for internships would be to keep applying for jobs early on, and go to Hayley’s office to practice for your interview or to review your resume.

My internship impacted others by keeping employees informed of hazards, so that they can make it back home safely. I was able to help Samsung avoid fines from the government because not having a hazard communication in a workplace is an offense. This experience impacted me because I have more experience that I can put down on my resume, and I have a better understanding of what an environmental health specialist does.

Jennifer: Getting Ready for My Internship at LNI

Getting Ready for My Internship at LNI

By Jennifer

For my internship, I get to work as a Safety and Health specialist with the State Department of Labor and Industries (LNI). The department splits up Washington State into 6 regions; amongst the 6 regions, I work in Region 1 which includes Snohomish, Skagit, and Kitsap county. My home office is located in Everett where I get to work with many consultants and compliance officers. Most of my work days include going out into worksites with either a consultant or compliance officer on inspections, assisting with air/noise/spot sampling, compiling information about employer’s accident histories, and more.

Jennifer completes sampling forms during a health inspection of a welding shop.

In addition to learning about the field of worker safety and industrial hygiene hands on, I think that I am also excited to explore and learn more about the different kinds of businesses and how they operate. I will be able to go out onto constructions sites, warehouses, grocery stores, and even doctor offices to learn about how they manage to keep workers safe on the job. I think I will become more knowledgeable in how industries function and therefore become a more well-rounded member of the field. I am also excited to put my communication and people skills to the test. I know that a big part of being a state worker at LNI requires going out and meeting/working with new people every day and so I’m excited to start networking and discovering new strengths and weaknesses in myself. One thing that I am nervous about is whether I will be able to build any kind of relationship with my coworkers. If there is one thing I learned from past jobs is that the people you work with can make or break your experience on the job. However, I am pretty optimistic because I was able to meet some people before my internship starts and everyone was very welcoming and they readily expressed how excited they were to have an intern.

I got my internship when Hayley released an email of an internship opportunity with LNI. I was hesitant at first because the process for applying did not include anything else except an interview. However, I’m glad that I decided to go for it because the two supervisors I interviewed with were very nice and it gave me a chance to practice my interviewing skills (even if I didn’t get the job). I think that taking the internship class (ENV H 480) really helped me feel prepared for the sudden interview because I already had a resume ready and I had all the interviewing skills in the head. If there is one piece of advice I want to give future students, it is to not be afraid to just try. Just apply to that internship you are so certain you won’t get because the reality is that nobody knows for sure.

Sandy J.: About My EHS Internship Project

About My EHS Internship Project

By Sandy J.

Sandy in the field with a direct-reading instrument during formaldehyde exposure monitoring

During my internship at the UW Environmental Health and Safety, I organized and analyzed the  database for formaldehyde exposure monitoring on UW campus and affiliated hospitals. I also  was assigned to construct an internal Formaldehyde Exposure Monitoring Plan. First, I read all of the the paper and electronic formaldehyde exposure monitoring reports from 1994 to present. There were about 700 entries! Then I created a spreadsheet that organizes this information under important variables, which could help future users understand and utilize it as a tool. I brainstormed a lot about what the important determinants are in terms of formaldehyde exposure. During my upcoming presentation of this database, I plan to present significant trends in the exposure of UW employees, and what we can learn from these trends. To create the Formaldehyde Exposure Monitoring Plan, I needed a strong understanding of the potential exposure scenarios and sampling methods. Because I wanted to create a tool for the future industrial hygienists to use in their formaldehyde monitoring, I had to think about what they would like to know and what they should pay attention to that is specific to formaldehyde use at UW. I went on numerous monitoring surveys around campus with an industrial hygienist. Every field survey taught me more about working on an EHS team and of course, formaldehyde exposure. I made sure to take notes, pictures of the facilities, and engineer controls. I always asked questions before and after the surveys. I am still working on these projects. The projects consist of a great amount of information that need careful presentation and organization, and I will make them awesome by revising many times and asking for peer review. As I am finishing up my internship and these projects, I am supported by the industrial hygienists in the department, my supervisors, and my coworkers who are more than willing to help. My deliverables will not only reflect my learning from this experience but all of the work and support that the Environmental Health and Safety team provides.

Sandy J.: How I Got My EHS Internship

How I Got My EHS Internship

By Sandy J.

Sandy in front of her office at UW EHS

After taking the ENV H 453 Industrial Hygiene course, I developed a great curiosity for more education about safety and prevention in the work environment. I just liked the idea of protecting people that work in their space up to 8 hours a day every day. Due to the hard work of environmental health and safety specialists, my family and friends are safe and happy in their workplaces. I have a hard science background with double majors in Biochemistry and Environmental Health, so I also wanted to find a niche that includes both biological or chemical science, and safety and prevention. One day I decided to do some research on UW’s Environmental Health and Safety Department, which is an administrative department that serves to provide safe working environment for UW employees. I emailed the Senior Director of the department with my questions and was not even sure if I would get a response. She responded with a very welcoming message and we scheduled a time to speak on the phone a few days later. When I talked to her on the phone for about 30 minutes, I was so happy that someone was listening and understood the capacity of my curiosity and passion. She was working with her team on the exact fields I was hoping to learn about. She then referred me to the Assistant Director of the department and I scheduled to meet with her for more inspiration and guidance. My meeting with the Assistant Director of Research and Occupational Safety was more than pleasant and to my surprise it became an interview for an internship. It was one of my happiest moments in college, because I saw that if I took actions on my interests and passions, I could find opportunities for myself. Not only did I discover that something like biosafety and industrial hygiene existed, but I also gained an opportunity to be a part of the work and it truly has been a life-changing experience!