Tag Archives: employee health and safety

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.

Meet Our Interns: Deanna L.

First Impressions from Day One

By Deanna L.

My first day at Amazon was a great learning and hands-on experience. What strikes me the most about my workplace is how fast-paced everything is here. I work at an Amazon Fulfillment center as an EHS intern and there is always something to do. As this is a warehouse facility, there are many safety measures to take to make sure each and every employee is working safely. Before taking on this role, I didn’t realize how hands-on the Safety Team is and how much safety is held as a priority.

One of the first things I noticed about my colleagues is the diversity of my coworkers’ backgrounds. Some members of the Safety Team have Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) backgrounds, while others have Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) backgrounds. They all came from different EHS educational backgrounds; some worked outside of Amazon, and some worked exclusively at Amazon. Needless to say, there is a lot of experience between the members of the Safety Team and each individual has their own unique perspective on safety incidences. One thing that I learned since becoming an intern is to take advantage of my network. I have worked to build lasting relationships with my co-workers that I can carry on post-internship. With these connections, I hope that in the future I can ask for references or advice regarding the EHS field.

The work of an EHS intern is very fast-paced and detailed. Each day, there are a series of audits to complete per OSHA requirements. When completing these audits, it is important to be detail-oriented so that you do not miss any safety hazards. Additionally, there are a multitude of tasks to complete each day. This can range anywhere from attending meetings, filling out (Job Safety Assessments) JSA’s, or reporting incident investigations. There is always something that needs to be done at the office, so it is important to come prepared to work.

What I am most excited about for my internship is to see how I have grown over time. This includes seeing how my knowledge has advanced as well as my professional relationships. I hope to successfully complete my project, challenge myself to grow my professional skills, and do my absolute best while at Amazon.

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.