Young Hygienist Snapshot: Craig Hendry [INTERNATIONAL EDITION!]

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Craig worked as a stonemason in Scotland for around 8 years before leaving to study a degree in Industrial and Environmental Hygiene. Upon graduating, he worked as an asbestos surveyor and then an industrial hygienist in a consultancy. He later joined ExxonMobil where he has been for over 13 years. Craig started supporting a refinery in England and provided occasional support for aviation, retail, distribution and shipping. He stayed for 8 years and then moved back to Scotland about 5 years ago to work at a Chemical plant. As part of that role, Craig supports the chemical plant and the global IH function which includes assisting in corporate SHE audits of refineries/chemical plants. He has recently been given a support role with the upstream function.

Craig is a chartered member of the BOHS and passed the BOHS Diploma in Professional Competence in Occupational Hygiene in 2009….I also finally met him last week! Here is 5-mins with Craig:

Best location I have worked: I was part of an audit team that conducted a SHE audit at an ExxonMobil refinery in Nicaragua.  We were there for nearly 2 weeks and Nicaragua was such an interesting place to visit and the people were really friendly.  We were there during election time and there were quite a few pro and anti-government demonstrations going on.

The best thing about my job is: I get the opportunity to travel a fair bit and with travelling to other locations, you can start to understand some of the difficulties with implementing IH requirements across global operations.  What may not be a major obstacle in the UK could present significant challenges elsewhere.

Career Highlight: I would probably say passing my BOHS Diploma has been my main career highlight but at work I wouldn’t say there has been a big career highlight but smaller achievements such as assisting in successful SHE audits or providing successful IH support during plant shutdowns

If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Ensuring that you know how to conduct monitoring surveys and know the relevant methodologies and the potential inaccuracies with these methodologies.  Even if you don’t routinely do surveys anymore, you still need to be able to interpret results.  You need to be flexible as you may get asked to respond to concerns at short notice and also be prepared for questions relating to issues that you have no experience in

People normally think my job involves:  Most people in ExxonMobil understand what I do but I guess most people outside of work think it relates to food hygiene or health and safety.  I haven’t had anyone ask if me if my job is related to dentistry.  Most of the time I tend to say I work as an Industrial Health advisor and not an Industrial Hygienist as I used to get a lot of blank stares.

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: I would probably say the opportunity to provide support to other locations.  I have been lucky enough to provide support to SHE audits in Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia and a few other locations, IH survey on a Crude Oil Tanker in Singapore, IH reviews in Italy and upstream support in Angola and Liberia.  I would say travel certainly allows you to view things a bit differently.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: I wouldn’t say that I have had that many bad experiences but I guess in my early days being asked to present a 2 hour noise training session to about 200 people was quite nerve wracking although thankfully went quite well.  Not something that would bother me now but at the time I was quite nervous presenting to such a large audience.  Also having to climb to the top of a tower (using tower ladders) to conduct some monitoring, only to find I forgot something and had to go back down and back up. The tower was pretty high up!


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