Kristie is one of the first graduates of the UOW’s Masters of Science Occupational Hygiene Program, and currently works as an energetic Workplace Health and Safety Coordinator at a Peabody Energy underground coal mine in NSW, Australia.
5 mins with Kristie:
Best location I have worked: That’s a hard one. I have been lucky enough to work on various remediation projects and a number of mine sites, always learning and improving skills at each role.
An interesting asbestos remediation project that always sticks in my mind was located in Batam, Indonesia. Instructions were to fly to Singapore, then ferry across to Batam. Upon arrival in Batam, I had to pay for my visa (US dollars), and I would be collected by a site representative. Simple enough I hear you say and I thought so too.
All was going smoothly until Indonesian border security starts questioning me. Unfortunately not being able to speak the native tongue; and watching your Australian passport being waved about and start walking away, can make you feel very nervous. Luckily for me the site representative had arrived and was able to sort everything out. (Heart back in chest, breathe!).
The best thing about my job is: There is never a dull moment. Locations and type of work can vary which always keeps my hygiene mind in overdrive, and makes work very interesting. Also meeting other hygienists and health professionals at different locations is a bonus.
Career Highlight: Being able to travel and work and see some amazing locations. And always surviving, after constantly being thrown in the deep end! I have met some wonderful hygienist along the way (You know who you are!) who are always there for support and assistance. It’s a privilege to know some of the #hygienegods, in particular studying under the fabulous guidance of Brian Davies, Jane Whitelaw and John Henderson.
If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Being flexible and adaptable. Things don’t always go to plan!
People normally think my job involves: Ensuring everything is hygienically clean; from lunch rooms to bathrooms; including personal hygiene (ensuring you can wash your hands correctly).
The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Join the UOW Occupational Hygiene program by Brian Davies at a career fair day. Originally I was studying to be a dietitian. I am passionate about maintaining good health, and I enjoy sharing this knowledge to help others achieve this, whether it is at work or socially.
The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Nothing really comes to mind; I try to view everything as a learning experience. One such experience was my first trip in an underground coal mine, busting for the toilet, where I was taken and to this day I describe as a box trailer with a toilet seat attached to one end, and no brattice anywhere. My guide was my look out at one cut through – and those of you who have been underground can imagine being female and trying to use a toilet!