“OH the Places You Will Go!”


This featured piece is a collaboration between the AIHA SECP and the AIHA Hazard Prevention and Engineering Controls Committee (HPECC) and is a chance for SECP members to hear from practicing IHs about their experiences in the field.

This quarter’s newsletter features Geoffrey Braybrooke, CIH and Christine Baker, CIH, CSP, PMP.

What type of business is your employer and what types of industrial processes do you survey as their IH?

Geoffrey:  I work for the Army Public Health Center. My Division assesses chemical, thermal, and noise hazards for the Army heavy industrial base and for military unique exposures such as those of armored vehicle crews.

Christine: I am involved with consulting for military, local governments, private industry, and international health care organizations. I typically evaluate how OEH professionals execute their occupational health programs. Additionally, I assist organizations in improving their emergency preparedness capabilities through plans, gaps analyses, equipment selection, training, etc.

What do you think is unique/interesting about where you work and the type of IH work you do there?

Geoffrey: Aside from the full range of industrial processes, the wide variety of Army weapon and soldier support systems provides an ongoing learning experience; we have the chance to specialize somewhat in expertise in specific types of hazards such as toxic metals.

 Christine: As a consultant, I will rarely work on the same process or project for more than a year. Sometimes I only get to work on a process for one week. One unique aspect of the consulting work that I do is that I am able to collect best practices from a wide range of customers and share these with others.

How and why did you get involved with this type of IH work?

Geoffrey: This discipline was my first job as an industrial hygienist and proved to be an interesting and challenging work environment.

Christine: After completing my bachelor’s degree in environmental chemistry, but before starting the Peace Corps, I convinced the Portland (OR) Fire Department HAZMAT Coordinator to let me intern there. During this internship time, I asked a dozen people what master’s degree I should pursue and which one would give me the most opportunities down the road. A few individuals that I asked suggested industrial hygiene. My reply to them was, “Great, I’ll do it. What is it?”

What types of hazards do you typically see doing IH where you work?

 Geoffrey: The most common hazards that I assess are toxic gases and metals produced by firing weapons; toxic gases and particulate from metalworking and coating processes.

Christine: I see all types of hazards in my line of work, but I wanted to point out something else that I have noticed. I caution those IH staff members and technicians to continue to self-develop.  During my day to day operations, I have noticed IH staff members that have become conditioned to fill out boxes and forms. We don’t want to be the Occupational Health and Safety professionals that turn their brains off with respect to evaluating the quality of data or how appropriate it is for the situation. An example I want to share would be: Let’s say you’re are evaluating a noise exposure on a mechanic and you notice a 140 dBA exposure within the first ten seconds of that noise dosimetry sample. A seasoned IH would recognize that this probably is not generated from work in that mechanic’s shop and is most likely from the cover being pulled off the dosimeter’s microphone.  This is an example of the specialized knowledge, skills, and ability’s that we develop from field experience, being mentored, continuing education, and years of experience practicing.

What types of controls do you typically see/evaluate doing IH where you work?

 Geoffrey: Most of the controls that I see during day to day operations are Industrial ventilation, respiratory protection, and hygienic and housekeeping procedures.

Christine: In my normal day to day work, I will typically see PPE… PPE… PPE… and training.

What do you consider are the biggest challenges for an IH where you work?

Geoffrey: My Division serves the entire Army and it is sometimes difficult to exchange information with industrial hygienists at the installation level who are doing most of the routine IH work for that location.

Christine: A big challenge in my field of industrial hygiene practice is the ebb and flow of contracts. Sometimes your company has way too much work. Sometimes you have to lay people off.

What are some examples of common recommendations you make doing IH where you work?

 Geoffrey: I frequently provide recommendations for engineering controls and use of respiratory protection. I also make recommendations to develop and maintain written compliance programs that cover the full range of control measures for specific hazards.

Christine: The recommendations I make typically are in the context of evaluating the work of organizations’ OEH professionals.

– Just because reports and other communications might be technically correct, if the customer cannot understand what is being said and do something with the information, then it was all for naught.

– There is no “done” when it comes to improving written communications.




Death by PowerPoint

By Michell Coats

Death by PowerPointTM is a common phrase that we have used or heard.  As professionals engaged in training and presentations, we have experienced a fair share of these presentations.  If we are completely honest, a large number of us are guilty of subjecting others to these types of presentations.  Why does this happen?  How can we minimize the effect?   I recently reviewed an article titled the “The Neuroscience of PowerPointTM” along with several other blog post regarding presentation “tactics”.

“The Neuroscience of PowerPointTM” article reviewed neuroimaging findings, research that demonstrates brain processes, and how the brain responds to contextual and direct attention cues.  It concludes with concrete ways to implement the findings and improve the strength of slide-show presentations.  The author explored the ideas that written text and spoken word conflict at levels of perception, comprehension, and retention, whereas images and spoken word do not.  The findings were linked to multimedia learning principles of redundancy and modality, then addressed ways to enhance material comprehension and retention by using cues in presentations that draw the audience’s attention to essential material with cues. 1

“Slides are visual aids and should be designed with this purpose in mind. Notes, study aids and other supplementary material should be produced separately, using tools that have been designed for those purposes.  Don’t ban the hammer – simply use it for what it was meant for.” 2



AIHce will provide several opportunities to learn more about training and communication skills including:

  • New! PDC 303: Death To Death By Powerpoint: Highly Effective Training Through Storytelling
  • How to Deliver a Safety Matters Presentation, Monday, June 5, 2017, 9:30am – 9:55am (PDT)
  • H14: How to Use Creative Nonfiction Narrative to Improve Training, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Don’t forget to observe techniques of presenters that you find interesting and engaging. Ask yourself, “what do they do differently that I can incorporate into my next presentation?”

[1] Horvath, J. C. (2014), The Neuroscience of PowerPointTM.  Mind, Brain, and Education, 8: 137–143. doi:10.1111/mbe.12052

[2] Horvath, J.C. “It’s not PowerPoint’s fault, you’re just using it wrong.” The Conversation. The Conversation, US Inc.  June 25, 2015.


Conference 2017 Highlights!



Event Time Location Event Type
Sunday, June 4
AIHce EXP Social 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Grand Ballroom A-D, Seattle Sheraton Hotel Networking
Monday, June 5
First Timers’ Orientation 6:30 – 7:30 AM Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Grand Ballroom A Networking

First time attending AIHce 2017 and don’t know where to start? Meet other first time attendees and learn how to make the most of all the learning opputunies avaliable!


Opening Keynote: Life in the Form of a Question, Ken Jennings 8:00 – 9:30 AM Check final program Keynote
CES: Resume Critquing 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Employment Services
SECP: Table Topics 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Expo Hall, The HUB Table Talk

Topics address issues of specific interest to young industrial hygienists or to hygienists new to the profession. Seating is first-come, first-serve. The first 25 attendees to appear at this session will receive a discounted voucher for lunch.


·        IH Training Opportunities Through ERCs

·        Career Paths in Industrial Hygiene

·        CIH Exam 101

·        Field Work and Travel for the Industrial Hygienist

·        Networking for the Industrial Hygienist

·        Students in Global Industrial Hygiene

·        Breaking Down Barriers


CES: Career Portfolio: The New Professional Development Tool 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Round Table / Employment Services
CES Seminar – Let’s Get Hired! 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Round Table / Employment Services
MPDC/SECP: The 8th Habit of Highly Effective Industrial Hygiene Leaders 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Rooms 618-620, Washington State Convention Center Round Table
CES: Resume Critquing 3:15 – 4:00 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Employment Services
Expo Hall Networking Reception 4:30 – 5:30 PM Exhibit Hall 4EF, Washington State Convention Center Networking
MPDC Mentoring Networking Event 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. FareStart, 700 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101 Networking
Tuesday, June 6
AIHF Fun Run/Walk 6:30 a.m. Olympic Sculpture Park Networking

Come meet fellow IHs and support the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation (AIHF) Scholarhip fund! Run, walk, (or sleep in) your donations help fund schlarships for students pursuing degrees in IH and related fields.


Ignite 8:00 – 9:00 AM Check final program Keynote
CES: Resume Critquing 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Resume Critquing
CES: Mock Interviewing 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Employment Services
Student Local Sections Council Business Meeting 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Room 3A, Washington State Convention Meeting
SECP: The Sole IH/EHS Professinal in Your Organisation 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m Room 606/607,Washington State Convention Round Table
SECP: Lunch Talks 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Expo Hall, The HUB Table Talk

Topics address issues of specific interest to young industrial hygienists or to hygienists new to the profession. Seating is first-come, first-serve. The first 25 attendees to appear at this session will receive a discounted voucher for lunch.


·        Building a Career Portfolio – Sponsored by Career and Employment Services Committee

·        Industrial Hygiene in the Oil & Gas Industry – Sponsored by the Oil & Gas Working Group

·        Communication Etiquette in the Digital Age – Sponsored by the Communication & Training Methods Committee

·        Top 5 Hazards in the Workplace and Ways to Control Them – Sponsored by the Hazard Prevention & Engineering Controls Committee

·        Emergency Response & Incident Preparedness for the Young Professional – Sponsoredby the Incident Preparedness and Response Working Group

·        How Mentoring Relationships Can Set You Up for Professional Success – Sponsored by the Mentoring & Professional Development Committee


CES: Resume Critquing 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Employment Services
CES: Speed Networking 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Networking / Employment
SECP: Prespectives on Preparation for the CIH Exam 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Room 303, Washington State Convention Center Round Table
Mentoring and Professional Development Committee Meeting 4:30 – 6:30pm Willow B, Sheraton Seattle Hotel Meeting
AIHce Power Hour 6:30 – 7:30 PM Sheraton Hotel, Metropolitan Ballroom Networking
Wednesday, June 7
27 th Annual Student Poster Session 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Expo Hall Poster Session
CES: Mock Interviewing 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Hall 4B, Level 4 Washington State Convention Center Employment Services
MPDC: Education Session: Mentoring – Experiences, Advice and Real World Application 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 p.m. Room 307/308,   Washington State Convention Center Round Table
SECP: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Room 613/614, Washington State Convention Center Round Table
Closing Keynote: The Brains Behind Leadership 2:15 – 3:15 PM Check final program Keynote
Students and Early Career Professionals Committee Meeting 3:30 – 5:30pm Aspen Room, Sheraton Seattle Hotel Meeting



Evolving Industries of Seattle

By: Michelle Coutu

Prior to be settled by European settlers, the area now known as Seattle, Washington was inhabited by Native Americans. The modern city was incorporated in 1869 and experienced its first economic success supplying lumber to the rapidly growing city of San Francisco. After a severe era of economic depression in connection with the panic of 1893, which hit Seattle hard, it rebounded and redefined itself as the main supply point for the Klondike Gold Rush. The American Messenger Company (to become UPS), Nordstrom, and Eddie Bauer were all founded during this economic boom in support of prospecting expeditions and propelled Seattle’s economic success into the early 20thcentry.

World War I saw the beginning of Seattle’s reputation as a transportation innovator. Seattle shipbuilders produced over 20 percent of the United States wartime ship tonnage. It also sparked the growth of Boeing, a once local airplane manufacture, which continued to excel with the advent of World War II. However, the 1960s and 1970s saw another down turn for airplane manufacturing in Seattle due to the loss of government contracts, the oil crisis, and manufacturing delays regarding the Boeing 747 aircraft.

Nevertheless, Seattle continued to reinvent itself. Moving into the 1980s saw the arrival of Microsoft, which had been having difficulties with recruitment at their original headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once Microsoft was established, other tech and web based companies, such as Amazon, began to develop in the city. Today Seattle continues to prosper based on the growth of the tech industry.

Countdown to Conference! AIHce 2017 Seattle, WA


Every year we look forward to meeting up with old friends, making new ones, and learning about the newest hazards and monitoring technology at the annual American Industrial Hygiene conference and exposition (AIHce). This year will also see a new conference format designed to meet the needs of today’s busy professionals. With PDCs now taking place before and after the conference and exposition you can find a learning experience that fits your schedule. Speaker sessions have been blocked into one hour sessions in order to allow participants more options to attend to more sessions; but never fear, all your favorite events and sessions are still there. In fact, due to the overwhelming popularity of the Ignite sessions it has been given a new place of prominence as the general session, on June 6.


AIHce 2017 Update

Preparations are already underway for the 2017 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition.    “AIHce 2017 will feature some exciting changes to the format of the conference. The updated conference schedule is intended to be more user-friendly and efficient; all education sessions will be 60 minutes in length, with breaks in between to allow attendees to easily get from one presentation to the next. AIHce 2017 will also include a variety of education formats to create engaging learning environments that actively involve participants. Education sessions will be grouped into tracks, allowing attendees to share the conference experience with those who are interested in similar subject areas…”  Excerpt from AIHA Release No. SPR-16-0825-01 


Things to look forward to in the new AIHce format:

Professional Development Courses (PDCs) will be held Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday (NEW for 2017).

Case Studies and Scientific Research presentations at AIHce 2017 will be 20 minutes in length, while full sessions at AIHce are 60 minutes.

Technical Session (60-minute) – These will address topics within OEHS and be delivered in any format from panels to workshops, interactive problem solving, and more.

Professional & Student Posters

Ignite (5-minute) – In an Ignite session each speaker has 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds, so the entire presentation is five minutes long.

Session Tracks – sessions will be grouped in to tracks within a subject area

Closing General Session on Wednesday afternoon

Committee Meetings will be scheduled in the early morning or at the end of afternoon to avoid competing with education sessions


For more information on the exiting new changes, visit http://www.aihce2017.org/proposals/Pages/default.aspx


Complied by

Michell Coats, CIH, CSP, CHMM

Senior Industrial Hygienist