IH recruitment – five job openings with Oregon OSHA
Spotting an opportunity to bolster her skills and serve the public, Brandi Davis left the private sector in 2002 to join Oregon OSHA as a health compliance officer.
At the time, Davis figured the new job would be a relatively short stint, maybe five years. She would broaden her skills and then hop back to the private side.
Fast-forward to today. It would be an understatement to say Davis is looking forward to staying put with Oregon OSHA. The senior health compliance officer now has 13 years with an agency dedicated to improving workplace safety and health for all workers in Oregon. And she continues to grow her skill set.
“When you are in a private industry, you become a master at one trade,” Davis said. “When you work for Oregon OSHA, you become a master at several trades.”
Davis is one of up to 28 health compliance officers for Oregon OSHA, a division of the state’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency: the Department of Consumer and Business Services. The division conducts about 900 health inspections annually and about 3,300 safety inspections per year involving employers in the private and public sectors.
The division’s health compliance officers are devoted to carrying out the art and science of industrial hygiene. Combining elements of engineering, chemistry, physics, and other disciplines, it’s a multifaceted world in which they evaluate, prevent, and control workplace stresses and hazards to help workers and their families lead healthy lives.
With five job openings on its health compliance staff, Oregon OSHA is looking for applicants who are committed to protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace and the community. Job responsibilities include handling health evaluations and investigations; taking enforcement action in a broad range of workplaces; overseeing technical training; and assisting employers and employees in reducing environmental threats and pressures in the workplace.
Opportunities for continuous learning are many. Likewise, the chance to conduct a variety of positive work to boost worker health and well-being are abundant. Just ask Chris Ottoson, statewide manager for health enforcement and emergency preparedness for Oregon OSHA. He has more than 30 years of experience in industrial hygiene. “We get to practice our profession in the broadest terms with the greatest impact,” he said.
Brian Hauck will tell you about it. The health compliance officer has been with Oregon OSHA for 18 years. Working for the agency, he said, gives him latitude to tackle problems, access to a stateof-the-art chemistry lab and room to learn as much as possible.
“I really enjoy the variety,” he said, noting that complacency is not an option at the agency.
By contrast, Hauck said, the private sector comes with limitations.
“When you’re working for one specific company, you only learn a couple industry processes,” he said.
And protecting people is no abstract notion, as evidenced by one recent problem Hauck fixed. During a visit to a small foundry, Hauck discovered that employees weren’t wearing respirators as they sharpened and welded raw material into bronze statues.
He convinced the employer to do the right thing. The employees now wear respirators.
“Had we not gone in there, they would have been exposed – day after day, year after year – all of this metal in their lungs,” Hauck said.
For Davis, the job is rewarding on multiple levels. The diversity of the work takes her everywhere from a food manufacturer’s facility one day to a company’s sawmill the next and to a dental office the day after that. She works flexible hours. Mentors and experts in a range of fields and industries are just down the hall where she works.
“You’re working in an environment where you have such a depth of experts that are all around you,” Davis said.
Ultimately, though, it all comes down to focusing on the short- and long-term health and livelihoods of people and communities.
“We get to have an impact with employers to protect employees every day,” Davis said. ▉
For more information about the five job openings on Oregon OSHA’s health-compliance staff, please visit www.oregon.gov/dcbs/jobs/Pages/jobs.aspx.
For more information about Oregon OSHA, go to osha.oregon.gov.
Here are direct links to the job announcements, open until
December 18, 2015:
Industrial Hygienist 2 – Eugene
Industrial Hygienist 2 – Tigard
Industrial Hygienist 3 – Bend