Young Hygienist Snapshot: Mark Reggers

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Wow blast from the past! Sometimes life gets in the way of a good blog…and that’s the only excuse I have for being so tardy when showcasing the fabulous hygienists of the world. Please forgive the time between posts…and welcome the first young hygienist snapshot of 2016 – Mark Reggers.

Mark first came across Occupational Hygiene through his role as an Account Manager at Protector Alsafe selling safety equipment and training in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. He was always more interested in the reasons why and how a certain level of PPE was determined as a suitable control measure for the customers he was dealing with, so we went to the AIOH 5 day Basic Principles Course to help him to assist customers in good hygiene practice and to be able to identify situations when they should engage a hygienist. Mark enjoyed this course so much he enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Occupational Hygiene through the University of Wollongong in 2012. After a few subjects though he was hooked and continued his studies to complete a Masters degree and pursue a career in Occupational Hygiene. After graduation, he was fortunate enough to be able to transfer across to Greencap (sister company of Protector Alsafe) in April 2015 to start his career in Occupational Hygiene as a consultant and he hasn’t looked back! So here is 5-minutes with Mark:

Best location I have worked: No one location stands out but just the variety of different industries and workplaces is amazing. Being able to going behind the scenes at these workplaces is always interesting.

The best thing about my job is: The variety of work as no 2 days are the same. One day you will be dust monitoring then the next noise assessments then asbestos clearance certificates. Also not being stuck behind a desk in an office and getting out and about is great.

Career Highlight: Being so new into my Hygiene career after choosing a career change I would have to say getting my first job in Occupational Hygiene after completing my studies in 2014. Also attending my first AIOH Conference in Perth and meeting other people who get excited over dust as well. I was told was great they are and I wasn’t disappointed.

If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Early starts on sites, some long days, as well as explaining what you are doing and why.

People normally think my job involves: Hand washing and toilet cleaning.

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Dust sampling where they make chocolate food products. Tastiest dust sampling I will probably ever do.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: There hasn’t been anything that bad yet, but you never know what the next job will be. It wasn’t a Hygiene job but I was helping our Environment team undertake Groundwater monitoring. Wandering around a landfill site in shoulder height grass in 40 degree heat for 10 hours wasn’t the most fun of days.



Instagrams of the Week!

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Here we have it – – – – Instagrams of the Week! 😀

Remember, if you want to see your awesome pictures feature here just tag you grams with #occupationalhygiene  #industrialhygiene  #occupationalhygienist and #industrialhygienist

So what hygiene work happened across the globe this week?

The Occupational Hygenius (awesome name BTW) @the_occupational_hygenius evaluated the effectiveness of “respiratory protection” 

Ingrid @icmagordis even with five bags strapped to her body had a spare hand to take a selfie (love it!)

Meanwhile, Melissa Milo @mel_milo has been looking #distractinglysexy in Western Australia

And Mike Slater @ms6282 recognised where some controls wouldn’t go astray

Young Hygienist Snapshot: Prescillia Chua AKA “Percy” [International Edition]

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When I met Prescillia Chua “Percy” recently in Salt Lake City at #AIHce2015 I didn’t have to spend much time with her to know she has a remarkable amount of energy and a true zest for life.

Percy received a Bachelors of Science from the University of Alberta, majoring in Laboratory Medicine. And after working as a scientist in the Provincial Laboratories through the SARS epidemic, she decided that her social skills muscle needed more flexing. This lead Percy to research occupations that better meshed science and people and, as a result, she completed her Masters in Occupational Health at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Percy’s work journey has been an adventure ever since and includes the oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta (apparently majority of Canadian OH’s do their time there!) to the provincial healthcare system, to her current position as an Occupational Hygiene Officer with WorkSafeBC – – –  the British Columbia provincial regulator of OHS.

Volunteer-wise, Percy has served on the board of the AIHA BC-Yukon local section for several years, including a term as President. Percy is currently the Western Director on the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (the equivalent of the ABIH in Canada).

So here’s 5 mins with Percy:

1. Best location I have worked: Is it cheesy to say my current location? Vancouver, British Columbia has warm summers, mild winters with endless access to the ocean and outdoors. I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to work and live!

2. The best thing about my job is: As part of my job, I have the opportunity to observe a variety of work sites. Every day is a field trip. I’ve seen OH issues like heat stress in a chocolate factory churning out sweets for the Halloween rush, biohazard issues in an abattoir during “pig day”, noise concerns in coffee roaster during packaging, carbon dioxide exposures during fermentation in a craft brewery (can you tell my passion is food?). I’m privileged to interact with front-line workers to ask poignant questions, and ensure that individuals in the workplace remain safe while they do their job.

3. Career Highlight: Pressing the “submit” button on the online CIH exam, agonizingly watch the progress bar run across the screen… and receiving my CIH on my first go!

4. If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to:  The variety of work, and thinking “on your toes”. No day is the same, despite any scheduling – I could be sitting in a pre-construction meeting for a development, and then get called to respond to an emergency release of a hazardous substance, or investigating an occupational disease claim in chicken coops or examining thermal stress in steel foundry workers. It’s difficult to prepare for such a variety of situations, so quick thinking and being a modern-day MacGyver is important. Lesson learned: duct tape should be in any OH’s arsenal of field resources!

Also, be ready to respond to glazed looks or scrunched faces when asked “what do you do?”… which leads to the next question

5. People normally think my job involves: Breaking down the words “Occupational Hygienist” and “Occupational Health”, people think one of three things:

  • “Occupational” must have something to do with physiotherapy
  • “Hygienist” must do with cleaning teeth (or armpits!)
  • “Health” must mean inspecting food facilities for health violations.

6. The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Have I mentioned my passion for food? I enjoy learning about how food travels “from farm to table” and how our food is made and processed. Any time I’ve had the opportunity to work with the food industry has been a bonus for me.

7. The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Respond in the middle of the night to a death in the workplace. Luckily the fatality was from pre-existing cardiovascular issues (not from an OH exposure) – however this incident wasn’t all that bad considering it could have been much worse; I’ve yet to attend a gruesome fatality (knock on wood!)

Percy Chua#2

Celebrating #distractinglysexy posts of the Week!

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Lab Caution

As a tribute to all the Women Scientist’s out there, we here at the loved all of the #distractinglysexy posts in response to biochemist Tim Hunt’s comments regarding the “trouble with girls” in laboratories.

So what #distractinglysexy work happened across the globe this week?

Geeky Girl Engineer looked #distractinglysexy in her Level A PPE.

It’s not just @AmyRemeikis who’s glad that Curie managed to take a break from crying to discover radium and polonium!


Meanwhile,  Kristy Thornton @ktworkrestplay shows us how to be a distractingly sexy #occupationalhygienist while working at a contaminated land remediation site

And Kate Cole @katecole111 is making all the boys fall in love with her #impossibletogetanyworkdone

#IOHA 2015 – What London taught Guest Blogger Kristy Thornton

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On Friday 24th April, I set off to London to attend the International Occupational Hygiene Association’s 10th International Scientific Conference (IOHA2015). To say I was excited would be an understatement, but after a long flight the last thing you want is to see is #hygienegod Noel Tresider in the hotel foyer looking dapper while you look dishevelled from your flight while you are waiting to check-in, but then again I was in London so I wasn’t going to complain.

The whole IOHA2015 experience was amazing. The conference was professionally run and the delegates were friendly and inviting and to top it all off the sessions were both thought-provoking and interesting both with regards to technical content and career development.

The conference started with Dr Paul Dolan from the London School of Economics talking about ‘You have no idea: the role of automatic processes in explaining and changing human behaviour.’ Paul spoke about behavioural science and influencing change and behaviour. Paul was not a hygienist but his field of expertise related to hygiene and how we can influence the behaviour of workers.

Sir David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge spoke on ‘Friendly ways of communicating acute and chronic lethal risk.” He talked about ways to convey a message that will appeal to workers and keep them engaged. He suggested using “consider the offer” rather than “recommendations” among other useful tools.

Another highlight was listening to Perry Logan from 3M. Perry spoke about communication and leadership and the importance of developing these skills in the younger generation of hygienists.

All the concurrent sessions were educational, but my personal favourite was the Career Development Panel Session where Kate Cole presented along with fellow Australians (Holly Fletcher, Mitchell Thompson and Alan Rogers). The session was really great for the younger crowd, but it also gave the mature hygienists an insight into how they could support and mentor their younger colleagues.

I felt really inspired after all the sessions, but the icing on the cake for IOHA2015 was the networking opportunities and the social events. A highlight for me was a fun run which was organised for one morning of the conference. This was a great way to meet new people in a setting where everyone was relaxed and who wouldn’t get out of bed early to have the chance to chat with Perry Logan while running through Hyde Park?

I met a variety of people from all over the world at IOHA2015 who I know will add to my ‘hygiene network’ and I will be forever grateful to 3M and the BOHS for putting up the award and giving me the opportunity to attend IOHA2015. I would highly recommend any young hygienist to apply for such opportunities when they arise in your own fields and enjoy the experience in its entirety.


Photo: A few of the many amazing Australians who attended IOHA with Alex Wilson from the BOHS (Canary winner – AIOH conference 2014).

Instagrams of the Week!

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We here at the are loving all of the Instagrams tagged with #occupationalhygiene  #industrialhygiene  #occupationalhygienist and #industrialhygienist

So what hygiene work happened across the globe this week?

Samantha Connell @sammyleigh10_4 cannot switch off the OH mindset! Always protecting the heath of others 😀

Plenty of IH nerds joined together early one morning at #AIHce2015 for the annual fun run

Meanwhile, @_misszaman_ has been getting down and dirty at a gold mine

And @stephavellaneda started her new job at Disneyland!!! Awesome!!!

Persistence pays off for Kristy Thornton in her quest to get to London for #IOHA2015

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Attending the International Occupational Hygiene Association’s 10th International Scientific Conference in London #IOHA2015 was always a pipe dream for me. I imagined how good it would be to attend this conference, the networking opportunities, the exhibition, the seminars and the keynote speakers.

Those of you who know me, you will be well acquainted with my “competitive side.” So once I had an idea in my head of gaining sponsorship so I could attend IOHA2015, I knew I was going to give it 110%.

My quest started with numerous attempts dropping hints that I wanted to go to my boss (Kate Cole), who was already attending to present a session. But we both knew I would need to win my way to this conference. So I entered every possible award to gain sponsorship (let’s face it, I live in Australia, London’s not just around the corner). The experience of submitting applications taught me a lot and I realised more and more that I truly love what I do and I am honestly proud to be an occupational hygienist.

Now, I did get a few knock backs and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get to IOHA2015, that was until the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) launched a competition, sponsored by 3M, for a young occupational hygienist to attend IOHA2015. Entries involved creating a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of ‘Getting your PPE Facts right – 5 facts and 5 myths.

I knew this was my last chance to get to #IOHA2015 so I gave this presentation 120% of my effort and crossed my fingers. The competition was tough and a lot of great entries were submitted, but I was the lucky winner of the 3M award and to be honest, I cried I was that excited to be going to #IOHA2015.

So my message to all hygienists is persistence does pay off. If you want something bad enough keep trying until it’s possible, don’t get knocked down at the first hurdle, you will be stronger if you pick yourself back up and keep at it. My IOHA journey was amazing and it was even better than I expected, but you will need to tune into my next blog to hear all about it.

My IOHA journey was amazing and it was even better than I expected, but you will need to tune into my next blog to hear all about it.

The link to my Slideshare presentation is below; feel free to view all the other entries on SlideShare as well by searching “PPE facts & Myths”.