Occupational Health

Health and safety in the real world

Growing up in the Middle East, Hamzah El-Himri experienced firsthand what can happen to communities when health and safety regulations are lacking.

“I grew up hearing stories about extremely hazardous work environments, where people I knew died from workplace accidents,” said El-Himri, a 2015 BS graduate of the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS).


In the mostly un-air-conditioned Pacific Northwest, summer temperature spikes can be uncomfortable. But for outdoor workers and other vulnerable groups, they can be deadly. 

Research led by the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) has found that on hotter days:

Learning beyond the classroom

From Washington’s swim beaches to Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers, students from the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) are getting an up-close look at their future careers as health and safety professionals this summer.

Nearly 40 DEOHS students are working as summer interns across the US. Their workplaces include state government agencies, county health departments, private companies and nonprofit organizations.

A champion for worker safety

Stanley Freeman joined the University of Washington in 1977 for what was supposed to be a one-year stint to launch an industrial safety program. That short-term job turned into a 20-year career as he discovered his passion for teaching.

Freeman, senior lecturer emeritus in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), died April 5 shortly after his 90th birthday. His memorial service will be held Thursday, Aug. 2.

Risky business

Eating salmon may be good for you, but catching them for a living could be hazardous to your health.

Commercial salmon fishermen in Alaska suffer from hearing loss at more than five times the national rate and also face higher rates of other serious health problems, according to a new study led by a researcher in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) and others from the School of Public Health.

Making workplaces safer through science

Vanessa Vargas showed up for her first day at her new job with her heart pounding so loud it nearly drowned out the sound of construction equipment at the Seattle building site where she had been hired as a carpenter apprentice.

Vargas was the youngest person on the work site, the least experienced—and the only woman.

“My adrenaline’s going, and I’m just trying to be careful of every move I make so I look like I know what I’m doing,” Vargas recalled. “You don’t want to make any mistakes.”

On the front lines of climate change

Miriam Calkins

PhD, Environmental and Occupational Hygiene


Harvard, Massachusetts

Future plans

Associate Service Fellow, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

“Trade workers have higher (environmental) exposures than the general public because they are working in industries with concentrated chemicals or a longer duration of heat exposure. These workers often have less agency to change their environment.”

- Miriam Calkins