Young Hygienist Snapshot: Liam Gunning

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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.


One thought on “Young Hygienist Snapshot: Liam Gunning

    jane said:
    May 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    See, I knew toilets had something to do with it!!!

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