kristy thornton

#IOHA 2015 – What London taught Guest Blogger Kristy Thornton

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KristyT

On Friday 24th April, I set off to London to attend the International Occupational Hygiene Association’s 10th International Scientific Conference (IOHA2015). To say I was excited would be an understatement, but after a long flight the last thing you want is to see is #hygienegod Noel Tresider in the hotel foyer looking dapper while you look dishevelled from your flight while you are waiting to check-in, but then again I was in London so I wasn’t going to complain.

The whole IOHA2015 experience was amazing. The conference was professionally run and the delegates were friendly and inviting and to top it all off the sessions were both thought-provoking and interesting both with regards to technical content and career development.

The conference started with Dr Paul Dolan from the London School of Economics talking about ‘You have no idea: the role of automatic processes in explaining and changing human behaviour.’ Paul spoke about behavioural science and influencing change and behaviour. Paul was not a hygienist but his field of expertise related to hygiene and how we can influence the behaviour of workers.

Sir David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge spoke on ‘Friendly ways of communicating acute and chronic lethal risk.” He talked about ways to convey a message that will appeal to workers and keep them engaged. He suggested using “consider the offer” rather than “recommendations” among other useful tools.

Another highlight was listening to Perry Logan from 3M. Perry spoke about communication and leadership and the importance of developing these skills in the younger generation of hygienists.

All the concurrent sessions were educational, but my personal favourite was the Career Development Panel Session where Kate Cole presented along with fellow Australians (Holly Fletcher, Mitchell Thompson and Alan Rogers). The session was really great for the younger crowd, but it also gave the mature hygienists an insight into how they could support and mentor their younger colleagues.

I felt really inspired after all the sessions, but the icing on the cake for IOHA2015 was the networking opportunities and the social events. A highlight for me was a fun run which was organised for one morning of the conference. This was a great way to meet new people in a setting where everyone was relaxed and who wouldn’t get out of bed early to have the chance to chat with Perry Logan while running through Hyde Park?

I met a variety of people from all over the world at IOHA2015 who I know will add to my ‘hygiene network’ and I will be forever grateful to 3M and the BOHS for putting up the award and giving me the opportunity to attend IOHA2015. I would highly recommend any young hygienist to apply for such opportunities when they arise in your own fields and enjoy the experience in its entirety.

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Photo: A few of the many amazing Australians who attended IOHA with Alex Wilson from the BOHS (Canary winner – AIOH conference 2014).

Persistence pays off for Kristy Thornton in her quest to get to London for #IOHA2015

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Attending the International Occupational Hygiene Association’s 10th International Scientific Conference in London #IOHA2015 was always a pipe dream for me. I imagined how good it would be to attend this conference, the networking opportunities, the exhibition, the seminars and the keynote speakers.

Those of you who know me, you will be well acquainted with my “competitive side.” So once I had an idea in my head of gaining sponsorship so I could attend IOHA2015, I knew I was going to give it 110%.

My quest started with numerous attempts dropping hints that I wanted to go to my boss (Kate Cole), who was already attending to present a session. But we both knew I would need to win my way to this conference. So I entered every possible award to gain sponsorship (let’s face it, I live in Australia, London’s not just around the corner). The experience of submitting applications taught me a lot and I realised more and more that I truly love what I do and I am honestly proud to be an occupational hygienist.

Now, I did get a few knock backs and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get to IOHA2015, that was until the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) launched a competition, sponsored by 3M, for a young occupational hygienist to attend IOHA2015. Entries involved creating a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of ‘Getting your PPE Facts right – 5 facts and 5 myths.

I knew this was my last chance to get to #IOHA2015 so I gave this presentation 120% of my effort and crossed my fingers. The competition was tough and a lot of great entries were submitted, but I was the lucky winner of the 3M award and to be honest, I cried I was that excited to be going to #IOHA2015.

So my message to all hygienists is persistence does pay off. If you want something bad enough keep trying until it’s possible, don’t get knocked down at the first hurdle, you will be stronger if you pick yourself back up and keep at it. My IOHA journey was amazing and it was even better than I expected, but you will need to tune into my next blog to hear all about it.

My IOHA journey was amazing and it was even better than I expected, but you will need to tune into my next blog to hear all about it.

The link to my Slideshare presentation is below; feel free to view all the other entries on SlideShare as well by searching “PPE facts & Myths”.

 

Young Hygienist Snapshot: Kristy Thornton

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Snapshot

Kristy is an Occupational Hygienist and fellow MSc OHP graduate of the UOW. She is based in Sydney, but gets to travel around to all sorts of weird and wonderful sites across Australia. Typical hazards that Kristy manages include heat stress, noise, volatile organic compounds such as benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, diesel exhaust gases, and diesel particulate. She also has the enviable task of currently being based at a remediation site with arguably one of the best-views in Australia…and she is also extra lucky as she gets to work for Thiess!

So here is 5-mins with Kristy:

Best location you have worked: A gasworks site in Neutral Bay. Great location for a remediation site, and always something new and challenging to learn. There is never a dull moment on a remediation site (lots of hazards!)

The best thing about my job is: The variety of sites and projects I have been able to work on. I love seeing and learning how things are done whether it be remediation sites, water recycling plants, mines or tunnels.

Career Highlight: Graduating with my Masters from UOW and presenting at the AIOH conference all in the same year. It’s going to be hard to top this year but I am up for the challenge.

If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Thinking on your feet and rolling with the punches…it’s not for the faint hearted but it’s one hell of a ride.

People normally think my job involves: Teaching people to wash hands, or general safety work…little do they know its MUCH cooler than that 🙂

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Conduct a thermal stress assessment using physiological monitoring on a group of workers in a difficult working environment. I learnt a lot during the process and it has given me the confidence to look outside the box for the answers as the issue and associated controls sometimes aren’t as obvious as you may have thought.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Work in a tyvek suit and full face respirator during the summer months, but I wouldn’t change anything about my job!

Kristy