Liam is a Certified Occupational Hygienist and a fellow graduate of the MSc OHP Program at the UOW. Liam and I sat the COH exam together on the same day last year (also known as the single most terrifying experience of your life) – and we have someone both survived to see the other side of it! Here is 5-mins with Liam:
Best location I have worked: I have worked in interesting places all around Australia. I find that the big sites with the highest risk are usually the most interesting. Some of the best places I have worked include off-shore oil facilities, UG mines, and oil refineries. Working off-shore was awesome, I was able to see and talk to nearly everyone on the facility and get to know what they do. Working in high risk environments where you can make a big difference through implementing controls is usually the most rewarding thing.
The best thing about my job is: That I get to learn about everyone else’s job and meet lots of different people.
Career Highlight: Passing the COH exam was pretty special
If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Explaining to engineers why we do personal monitoring and not area monitoring. [Side note: story of my life!]
People normally think my job involves: I basically have the same conversation with everyone who asks me what I do.
Questioner: What do you do for work?
Liam: I’m an Occupational Hygienist.
Questioner: *blank stare
Liam: I assess worker’s exposure to stuff like noise, chemicals, and dust….
Questioner: Oh, I thought you cleaned toilets, ha, ha, ha.
Liam: *blank stare
Any advice on how to change the flow of this conversation is welcome!
The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Back in the asbestos auditing days, auditing old and dingy places for asbestos was usually a drag. One in particular was an old toilet block in a secluded location. The toilet block was to be demolished as it had a reputation for attracting people using it as a place to meet up and conduct business other than what would normally be conducted in a toilet block. The audit didn’t take long to complete. However in that time there were way too many people disregarding the “do not enter” signage for my liking.