Young Hygienist Snapshot: Ritesh Patel

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Ritesh began his career as an Industrial Hygienist and EHS Coordinator in India about 11 years ago after completing his master’s degree in Industrial Hygiene (MIH). He is an Industrial Chemistry graduate (B.Sc.). He has worked as a site and regional occupational hygienist and an EHS professional for multinational pharmaceuticals and chemicals manufacturing companies. After becoming a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) in 2009, he moved to Industrial Hygiene and Safety consulting company and worked as an Asia Pacific Project Manager leading a small team of occupational hygienists and health and safety consultants. He has worked at 100+ different workplaces conducting variety of qualitative and quantitative occupational hygiene assessments in Asia Pacific region including India, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Bangladesh etc. Ritesh moved to Australia two years ago to live with his wife. He is a full member of AIOH and currently works for Hibbs & Associates as a Senior Occupational Hygienist based in Sydney, but travels around Australia and abroad for work. Here is 5-mins with Ritesh!

Best location I have worked: There have been many exciting ones, but a few recent ones are travelling from WA, Australia to North East China and from Gladstone to Weipa voyage through the Great Barrier Reef and crossing the Northern Tip of Australia “Cape York Peninsula” on-board a cargo vessel while conducting occupational hygiene assessments for various chemical, physical and biological agents.

Also – Silver Springs QLD; driving on dirt roads, through bushes (some areas were affected by bush fire few months before my visit), no mobile network, no other vehicle on the road. I could see one car after driving through several Km on dirt roads. I spent a week visiting various oil and gas operations conducting occupational hygiene assessments.

The best thing about my job is: A new challenge every day! Working with different people and working at different locations. Utilising my knowledge and skills for people and community to make a positive and a healthier difference in their lives and learning every day!

Career Highlight:

  • Master’s degree in Industrial Hygiene in 2003 in India;
  • Passed exam in 2009 at first attempt and became a CIH
  • Moved from site/regional occupational hygiene role to occupational hygiene consulting and worked at several workplaces in the Asia Pacific region;
  • Moved to Australia in September 2012;
  • Became a full member of AIOH in 2014.

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

  • Know how to link your background qualifications, knowledge, skills or passion to occupational hygiene. It’s a vast multidisciplinary science + art
  • Work on situations with very limited information
  • Doing your own research – know where to get credible and relevant information
  • Communicate with and persuade people from different disciplines, cultures and levels of understanding

People normally think my job involves: Most people think it is something about housekeeping and personal hygiene services …, some people question “Occupational hygienist, what is that?”

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Travel and assess several different workplaces in the developing countries in Asia Pacific region and assisting in implementing interim and long term controls to minimise workers’ exposures to various hazardous chemical and physical agents.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: I don’t think anything!

Ritesh2 Ritesh

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