Young Hygienist Snapshot: Martin Calnin

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I met Martin Calnin on my very first day of participating in the UOW’s Masters of Science Occupational Hygiene Program.  I don’t think I need to remind Marty however I think we were lucky to survive the first week!  When I say this I am not referring to the technical content of the course, I am referring to social programme lead by the infamous #hygienegod John Henderson.

Marty has enviable occupational hygiene experience working with the Australian Air Force, Comcare, the Defence Centre for Occupational Health and Bluescope Steel and now lives in the Middle East, currently working as an Occupational Hygienist with RASGAS in Qatar.

So here is 5 mins with Marty:

1. Best location I have worked: Tough question.  I have been pretty fortunate in my career so far.  I’ve worked in the Solomon Islands and am currently working in the Middle East.  My time with Bluescope Steel was great, especially the people I worked with, however working with the Defence Centre for Occupational Health was a great opportunity. Working with the likes of Martin Jennings, Dr. Ian Gardner, Spud Murphy, Nathan Redfern, Sharann Johnson, Phil Hibbs & Co and Jeremy Trotman provided a valuable learning curve in Occupational Hygiene.

2. The best thing about my job is: Too numerous to mention. It’s challenging, diverse, provides a great opportunity to meet new people and places and it always keeps you thinking. At the end of the day however, the best thing about my job is achieving safety outcomes.  

3. Career Highlight: There’s been a few however the Masters Program at Wollongong Uni was a definite highlight.  It was a hard slog however being taught by industry experts such as Brian Davies, Noel Tresider, Marion Burgess and Alan Rogers was a real privilege.

4. If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to:  Thinking on your feet, regardless of how much planning you put into a job, things can go pear shaped pretty quickly.  You also better get used to talking, being a good communicator is essential.   

5. People normally think my job involves: Cleaning peoples teeth, cleaning toilets, bathrooms, or making sure people’s hands are clean.

6. The best thing I’ve been asked to do was:  Getting involved with the OMOH Project with the Defence Centre for Occupational Health, specifically basic workplace characterisations of Defence establishments.  Yet again, a great opportunity to apply core Occupational Hygiene skills across some very interesting workplaces, all with very diverse occupational hazards.  

Another job that has been of real interest is respiratory fit testing.  A routine job you may think, however try giving respiratory fit training to 25 Indian contract workers who speak very little english, and a trainer who’s Hindi is atrocious.  Makes for an interesting afternoon, full of many hand gestures, blank looks and laughter.

7. The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: I was called at the office one afternoon and told that someone had vomited on an aircraft.  The caller stated that as there was a risk for disease transmission, therefore I should pop down and clean it up.  I don’t recall ever getting around to that job.

Martin Calnin

Marty was luck enough to have some OH professionals determine his noise exposure when using a leaf blower


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