Tag Archives: L&I

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: Mostafa E.

About My Internship at L&I

By Mostafa E.

As my internship experience proceeds, I look forward to meeting more people from different departments and conducting as many informational interviews as I can. One of my main focuses is trying to understand the details of various positions within the agency to hopefully find something that may fit my current goals and interests. I think that I am progressing in this particular focus and being very proactive with all the work that I do at my internship. I scheduled a “ride-along” later this week with an Industrial Hygienist within the compliance sector, a field that I am currently interested in learning more about. This newly found interest led me to conduct more research on the various master’s programs within Occupational Health, and I am considering graduate school to gain a better specialization within this discipline.

My current projects and tasks have been fairly broad as a result of working with various coworkers within the standards program. Most of the work I accomplished consisted of comparison and analyses documents that are required at different milestones of a project, mostly toward the end. Depending on the length of the amended rules, this task could get monotonous; however, it helps me become accustomed to the language style of rule writing. Another exciting project that I am currently working on is updating the asbestos removal and encapsulation rule. There is plenty of new and existing scientific evidence of the health outcomes from asbestos exposure, therefore it is crucial to modernize the rule so that it reflects the EPA model accreditation plan. These updates will maintain the level of expertise from the workers and supervisors who are trained to remove and encapsulate asbestos. Working on this project also gave me insight into the logic behind the technical services in DOSH. As we meet to manage the project, I learn the reasons behind the specific changes that are made for the benefit of the workers. One example is the added requirement of a refresher course after the expiration of certificates, allowing the supervisor and worker to restore and update their knowledge on safe asbestos handling.

Meet Our Interns: Iman A.

How I found my Internship

By Iman A.

Iman in her cubicle

My internship search began fall quarter 2017 in the internship prep class. I made a spreadsheet of the all the internships I was interested in, both in and out of state. I was initially overwhelmed with my search, so I put it off until winter quarter. I was very particular about the type of internship I wanted to do. Although some might just see this as a departmental requirement, I was thinking of my potential internship as the first step toward my career after graduation. I remember going to Hayley’s office quite a bit during that time for advice on my resume, as well as on other school and career related topics. One day she mentioned that L&I would be coming to our department to do an information session and conduct interviews for a few summer internship positions. At first, I just wanted to go to the info session and get a feel for what L&I was all about. I had heard a bit about them in my construction safety class and was intrigued by the type of work that they did. After talking more with Hayley, I ended up sending in my resume. To prepare for my interview, I did some more research on L&I and specifically the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). I prepared some answers for possible interview questions and did practiced interviewing by doing a mock interview with Diane, the NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) career advisor. With targeted interview advice from both Hayley and Diane, I was able to successfully pass my interview and land an internship at L&I DOSH! One piece of advice for future students would be to have your resume and cover letter ready at all times because you never know when your ideal internship will pop up. Also, the sooner you start your internship search the less stressful it’ll be, so start early to save yourself the trouble.

Claire T.: First Impressions from My First Day

First Impressions from My First Day

By Claire T.

What strikes you most about your workplace?I think what strikes me most about the workplace at Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is how much work goes into accomplishing what seems to be a simple mission: Keep Washington Safe and Working. It is a great mission statement, very direct and indisputably important. However, in order to accomplish this mission endless work is done to ensure that employers are keeping their workers safe. Part of what L&I does is work as a big insurance company. Their job is to insure the workers. It would seem that employers and employees combined would be grateful to have this system in place. However, the reality is that too many people think of L&I and they think of citations, regulations, and a lot of extra work to avoid fines. They do not always think of the countless lives that are saved, the moms, dads, brothers, sister, and spouses that get to go home to their families every day because of the regulations and worker standards that are set in place. The reward of doing this hard work shows in the statistics. At the annual DOSH Symposium that I was able to attend, they showed worker related statistics involving worker injuries and deaths. I am sure seeing those numbers was reassuring to all the L&I employees that they are making a difference.

What strikes you most about your colleagues?
What strikes me most about my colleagues, not just my colleagues in consultations but all the people who work in DOSH, is their attitude. I admire their attitude and work ethic to continue the state’s mission to Keep Washington Safe and Working.

What are you excited about?
I am excited to continue my time at L&I and get a well-rounded feel for how the organization works. I am trying to reach out to as many people as I can to understand their function within their departments. I am excited that everything I am learning here is very transferable once my internship is over. All the knowledge that I accumulate here will help me in the future whether that be with L&I, another state agency, or somewhere in private industry. I look forward to gaining more work experience and developing my knowledge as much as I can during my time here as well as after.

Meet Our Interns: Claire T.

Getting Ready for My Internship

By Claire T.

This summer I will intern at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, focusing of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. For this internship my supervisor and mentor is the Consultation Manager for Region 2. My supervisor oversees all offices in King County, including Seattle, Tukwila, and Bellevue.

For the duration of my internship I will work alongside Safety, Industrial Hygiene, and Risk Management consultants. I will be contributing to a team that helps small businesses in high hazard industries to develop safety and health programs.

I got this internship in a little bit of an unusual way. After a field trip to the L&I Tukwila office (shout out to graduate Ali for setting up the visit) for an informational meeting with some of the regional managers, I discovered an interest in their consultation department. Every year the compliance side of L&I has an internship program and takes on interns, but their consultation side did not have internship positions. After the informational meeting I went up and talked to the Consultation Manager to ask if he would even consider taking an intern on in his department. He seemed open to the idea and we set up a time to talk about possibly creating an internship position. In the end they were able to create the position!

I am really excited to take some of the knowledge that I learned in my coursework and really dive deeper into its practical application. I am also very excited to work with the Industrial Hygienists and learn about all the sampling they do and the instruments they use.

Leading up to my internship as well as my first couple days, I was nervous about what I needed to know to be successful. I was concerned that I wasn’t going to know enough information to be helpful or that some of the workers might see me as a hassle or an extra duty. Even though the first week of my internship isn’t over yet, those fears have already mostly gone away. Everyone is very friendly so far and generally they like to explain their roles within the department.

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.

Jueun O: About my Safety Internship

About my Safety Internship

By Jueun O.

In front of my desk at WA L&I

This summer, I have been working as an intern at the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). The Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act is administered by its Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). The purpose of this law is to ensure that Washington’s employers provide their workers with safe and healthy workplaces. L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) has Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs), who conduct inspections to help ensure that employers comply with workplace safety and health rules.  My job as an intern is to assist inspectors with opening and closing conferences, conducting employee interviews, sampling, identifying, and evaluating hazards.  Here in the Region 3 Tacoma office, we have 5 industrial hygienists and 7 safety inspectors. The safety inspectors are those who have specialized in physical hazards or procedural problems such as inadequate machine guards, stair railings, or equipment lockout procedures. Industrial hygienists are those who specialize in occupational health hazards, such as chemical vapors, asbestos, respirator issues, and noise. During these past ten weeks, I have accompanied Region 3 DOSH staff, including industrial hygienists and safety specialists, on field visits to discover any potential hazards within the work-place. I think that this internship is a good opportunity for students who major in environmental health because this position is closely related to the area of studies that we learned in our classes. Through this internship, I was able to learn about numerous sampling techniques, hazardous chemicals used in specific work places, and the skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to ensure workplace safety.

What I enjoyed most about my internship is being able to complete each assignment in a unique way and having the opportunity to help people keep safe and satisfied with their work environments. I have participated in 8 compliance inspections and 2 samplings so far. It has been a great learning experience to actually put what I learned in class into practical and realistic applications! Working with a variety of different people has given me an opportunity to reflect about how I want to work in the future, which made this internship very helpful for me.

Meet Our Interns: Jueun

How Did You Prepare For Internship Interviews?

Intern: Jueun O.

In front of my new desk at WA L&I

Because English is my second language, the thought of an interview was very frightening and intimidating to me. The day before my interview I could not sleep at all and thought about ways to get out of my situation. Even up to the day of the interview, I felt very reluctant to open the door and enter the interview room out of fear. After two previous interviews at other organizations, I was very discouraged and worried that I would not be capable of fulfilling my internship. The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences’s Internship and Career Services Manager, Hayley, supported me by encouraging me to continue applying and interviewing for internships. She helped me tremendously by giving me a few commonly asked questions and practicing my answers with me. I went to my third interview thinking it was my last opportunity and was even more nervous than before my previous interviews. However, the interview went on more positively than my previous interviews and I knew my practice helped! John, the Compliance Manager for the Department of Labor and Industries told me I could start my internship the following Monday. I was overcome with shock and happiness and (not trying to be dramatic but) I felt as if my dream came true.

What I want future environmental health students to learn from my experience is to not hesitate to ask your advisor for help because they are always excited to help you in any way they can.

I am going to participate in an internship program for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) industrial Hygiene for 10 weeks. I will assist Industrial Hygienists and watch what they do during opening and closing conferences, employee interviews, and sampling, identification, and evaluation of occupational hazards. I am looking forward to the many things I will learn and experience during my internship and experience at the work field.