Young Hygienist Snapshot: Fritz Djukic

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Fritz is a lucky guy. While he was undertaking his Science degree at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 1993, he was being lectured by Dr David Grantham (#hygienegod) who inspired him to pursue a career in Occupational Hygiene!

Up until that point of time Fritz lamented that he really wasn’t sure where he was headed…but since then he has never looked back. Fritz has worked as a regulator, a consultant and for industry.  I bumped into Fritz a few years ago when he was in his current role as an Inspector of Mines (Occupational Hygiene). Like most of us, Fritz did the tedious hard yards, and spent many hours, days, months and years in mines, sugar mills  and factories taking the measurements while observing the task. He credits his past roles in the field for giving him a greater appreciation for the importance of measurement and the people he now serves (the mine workers!).

Here is 5-mins with Fritz:

Best location I have worked: There have been some pretty good ones ranging from inspecting cooling towers throughout the Whitsunday Islands to a Silica Sand mine in the middle of Kinkuna National Park, to the tiny Quarries located in platypus country in the QLD tropical tablelands.

The best thing about my job is: The variety, the challenge and the people I work with. I have great flexibility in my role and to a large degree I am self-managed.

Career Highlight:  Without doubt it has been very satisfying to be directly involved with raising of the occupational health and hygiene profile in the Queensland Mining Industry. I have worked with some brilliant people within both industry and government along the way. There is much still to do but we have come such a long way in a relatively short time.

If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to:

  1. Getting all the jobs from the too hard basket.
  2. Understanding that managing emotion and outrage can be just as important as managing actual risk.
  3. Grow a thick skin because some people just don’t want to hear what you have to say or value the importance of the role we play.
  4. Being able to deliver a consistent message to all the different layers of the organisation
  5. Learning how to get quality sleep at night with a full bank of charging pumps in your room flashing all night.

People normally think my job involves: Providing advice on personal hygiene and cleaning toilets.

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Please go over to Hamilton Island for the Easter weekend to ensure lighting levels on the Tennis Courts are satisfactory. The fishing rods and snorkelling gear were packed well before the lux-meter!!

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Go undercover into a small (backyard) gold mine and recover/neutralise a suspicious substance (sodium cyanide) while being particularly careful not to get shot at!!!


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