On the job | Jennifer Kim
Protecting worker health and safety through workplace inspections
Editor’s note: This summer, 26 students in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) are getting hands-on experience as interns with government agencies and private companies. In our occasional “On the Job” series, we feature some of their stories.
Jennifer Kim, BS, Environmental Health
Intern with: Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH)
DOSH enforces workplace safety and health rules through training, education and inspection of Washington worksites for unsafe working conditions. As a summer intern with DOSH, most of my job involves accompanying compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) on workplace inspections.
I assist CSHOs with employee interviews and conduct sampling at a variety of workplaces. So far, I have visited a grocery store, a dental office and construction sites as part of my internship, and I have a new appreciation for how much work is required of employers to keep their workers safe.
Back in the office, I write citations, compile information on businesses prior to inspections and calibrate sampling equipment.
Working here has taught me how much I enjoy day-to-day variety in my job and the flexibility to set my own schedule, which is common for CSHOs.
Early in my internship, I was afraid I would not be helpful to my office, but I quickly learned that CSHOs aren’t afraid to ask questions or turn to their co-workers for advice and ideas. This made me feel comfortable asking questions. Most of the time, we go search for the answer together!