Young Hygienist Snapshot: Will O’Callaghan

Posted on Updated on


Will is an Industrial Hygienist based in WA currently studying at Edith Cowan University . Are you wondering what the difference is between an Industrial Hygienist and an Occupational Hygienist? It’s about the same as the difference between ketchup and tomato sauce. Same same…just depends where you are in the world!  Here is 5-mins with Will:

Best location I have worked:  They have all been good but I would have to say that the Ranger uranium mine had a lot going on.  I was working as a Radiation and Hygiene Advisor, we had every kind of monitoring you could poke a stick at (radiation, noise, dust, heat stress, chemicals, legionella….it had it all). Plus to live in the middle of Kakadu was a great experience. Although I was on an audit 2 years ago in my current role with ConocoPhillips where I was held overnight by immigration officers on a remote tropical island in Indonesia – that was a fun way to finish an offshore audit.

The best thing about my job is:  The variety, every day I get to do something different, and as I look back over my Occupational Hygiene career I have got to do some interesting work. I have had some amazing opportunities in different industries and locations that has made it a rewarding if not a challenging career choice.

Career Highlight: Well I would have to agree with Brooke Best and say forming the HOTTies has been a highlight. Occupational hygiene can be a solitary job at times especially when working remotely or in a new industry as I found myself a couple of years ago. The AIOH conference shows us that there other people out there going through the same thing and that you aren’t alone (even if you do live in remote NT). What started as a networking process has really turned into a nice social experience.  I live in Perth now but still do some monitoring at our sites in the NT so I’m a FIFO HOTTie….. Check out our Facebook page ‘HOTT – Hygienists of the Territory

People normally think my job involves: Definitely something to do with personal hygiene… but it’s that look of uncertainty mixed with suspicious concern that you get when you mention the job title. I tried to come up with something better like Occupational Exposure Specialist but even that sounds dodgy.

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Last year I was able to travel to ConocoPhillips’ head office in Houston for a company conference. There I met other company Industrial Hygienists then gave a presentation on the hydration monitoring we undertake for the Australian Business Unit for heat stress management. That was a great experience.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Asbestos air monitoring inside the gas offtake of a coal-fired boiler in a power station…. They didn’t turn off the boiler, we just isolated the offtake and put in some water wall controls (which were pretty cool and completely appropriate for the task… it was all risk assessed) but I couldn’t help but think that I’m standing inside an operating boiler, surrounded by super-heated steam pipes and looking for asbestos residue under refractory work when just on the other side of the wall was a coal fired inferno about 5 stories high….That air monitoring job was completed very efficiently!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s