In the summer of 2012, the Occupational Health Internship Project (OHIP) offered six interns the opportunity to collaborate on labor union projects designed to address high-hazard issues previously identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Interns Cindy Chimal and Leslie Mendoza investigated workplace dangers that lead to falls in the residential roofing industry. With assistance from the Roofing/Waterproofing Industry Apprenticeship program, they were given access to a number of construction sites. In turn, they interviewed apprentices and journeymen about fall hazards and prevention measures and presented their findings with Roofers Union Local 40.
Lindsay McCormick and Carmen Martinez investigated hazards endemic to recycling operations. In collaboration with International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6, they interviewed 28 workers at two facilities. Dust, needle pricks, and ergonomic-related symptoms were some of the occupational risks underscored by interview participants. LOHP is now developing a training program for recycling workers based on the hazards identified by the OHIP students.
For their OHIP project, Madeleine Barab and Rachel Krow-Boniske researched the impact of verbal and physical assaults on employees with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. From their research, they were able to develop workplace improvements and training recommendations to share with union leadership.
Nazima El-Askari, coordinator of public programs for the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP), also coordinates OHIP. “While I hope these internships inspire a new generation of occupational safety and health professionals,” says El-Askari, “I am grateful to work with our interns as they inspire me as I continue my career in occupational health and safety.”
To learn more about OHIP, visit: http://www.lohp.org/projects/ohip.html.
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