Young Hygienist Snapshot: Letty Wong [INTERNATIONAL EDITION!]

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Letty is a fellow FLI graduate and an occupational hygienist (CIH/ROH) practicing in Toronto, Canada (eh?).  She is an OH consultant working for BluMetric Environmental Inc., a Canadian consulting firm, and leading the Toronto OHS group. Professionally, she has been an OHS consultant pretty much all of  career (with two short stints as an occupational hygienist in a hospital). In the past, she has served on several committees, including the OH learning scholarship committee, and a local construction committee to advise on lead abatement procedures. Last year, she was a mentor for an incoming hygiene student at her alma mater, the University of Toronto. She is also currently on the Board of Directors at her local OH organization, the Occupational Hygiene Association of Ontario (OHAO).

Here is 5-mins with Letty:

Best location I have worked: As a consultant, I get to see lots of different workplaces, and learn about different processes! Some of the highlights include sampling at a scented candle factory, auditing at an aerospace facility, a behind-the-scenes look at a popular global retail chain, indoor air quality at a TV news studio, and a visit to a noodle factory!

The best thing about my job is: The diversity of work! I love being a consultant and I love going to new workplaces and learning about what they do. I love meeting workers, and talking to them about worker health and safety. I have never once been bored at my job.

Career Highlight: The highlight so far, is being accepted into, and participating in AIHA’s Future Leaders Institute (FLI). It was such an amazing, and inspirational experience, to connect with other hygienists who were also passionate about the profession, and about bringing awareness to the greater community.

If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Explaining your profession over and over again!! Not many people understand what I do… it is all part of the on-going education and awareness 🙂

People normally think my job involves: Teeth

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: I love most of the things I get to do at my job, but one of the best things I have done is to be able to speak at my high school about my profession. I love bringing awareness about the profession to young people. I didn’t hear about the profession until I was in fourth year university. I really want to change that, to educate more young people going into university about the profession. They might be a future hygienist! Or even if they don’t choose hygiene, at least they are in a better place to effect H&S cultural change in the workplace.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Once, we were contracted to figure out how to get rid of a “scum” like material on surgical tools. For days, I had to scrub out the instruments with various chemical concoctions, wearing only gloves. It was boring, tedious and really just glorified dishwashing, and I’m pretty sure I got repetitive strain injury from it. Another time, we were asked to help battle legionella in a nursing home. Part of the work involved turning on all of the hot water faucets. I spent a lot of over night shifts turning on and off water taps, while getting harassed by old men and old ladies with no teeth, in their dressing gown, asking us what we were doing. Although I have highlighted these experiences as the “worst” – looking back, I have to say I did learn from both experiences. I wouldn’t necessarily do them again – but it is always nice to have war stories to tell.

Letty Wong

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