Young Hygienist Snapshot: Dusty Bennett

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Snapshot

Dusty is a Certified Occupational Hygienist and heads up GCG’s office in Townsville, QLD. He gets involved in pretty much everything, and is an all-round nice guy!

Here is 5-mins with Dusty.

Best location I have worked: For locations that really stand out, Groote Eylandt in NT has been an amazing experience every time I’ve visited (not that a couple of afterhours fishing trips had anything to do with that!).

But, Laos takes the cake. A stark contrast to its neighbour Thailand, Laos is a very simple no fuss country. The people are incredibly friendly, but occupational health is a step back in time. A rather challenging place for Hygienists. As much as I loved working there, I didn’t enjoy being an illegal immigrant… But that’s a story for another day.

The best thing about my job is: The look of relief on people’s face when the ‘black art’ of occupational hygiene is debunked and they understand what needs to happen next to keep their people safe. But in terms of the profession we work within, it’s comforting to know that I can pick up the phone and ring a peer (some I’ve never met) and know they will always be willing to help. The people we work with are what make the job a pleasure.

Career Highlight: Starting a new GCG office from scratch after taking the leap of faith from an industry based role. I never imagined how challenging it would be and how much work it would take to grow, but I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved in such a short period of time. I’ve also had a hand in training and mentoring dozens of people along the way, to know they’re all helping improve worker health is very rewarding.

If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Getting your hands dirty, particularly while you learn the trade. The best way to control exposures is to know how the process works and what each task involves.

People normally think my job involves: It has changed a little over the last 10 or so years. Early on, people would look at me like I was speaking a different language when saying I’m an Occupational Hygienist. People are now more familiar with the word ‘hygiene’, but more often than not people think I change sanitary bins.

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Blowing up unexploded ordnance in Laos left over from the Vietnam war, big boom! Professionally though, being involved with Workplace Health Without Borders (WHWB).

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Taking gas measurements during a shutdown about 7yrs ago in a recently drained high concentration acid vessel. Tip- don’t assume it’s rain water from the recent shower on the tank stand when you go to crawl inside. Sitting in acid isn’t fun, particularly when it’s cold and you’re wearing cotton drill pants, that tingly feeling for the next hour isn’t the chill.

Dusty

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