1. Tell us a little bit about your role at Examinetics, and how your role contributes to the overall mission of Examinetics.
As an Occupational Health Specialist, a.k.a. “Field Tech”, I am always on the road visiting our clients for their health services. I drive our mobile medical units to the client site for their annual OSHA compliance testing or other services. I am often the first person our clients actually meet face-to-face and become the face of Examinetics. I would say 90% of what I perform is hearing conservation. It is my goal to always give the client the best possible service, whether that is audio testing, or the full service of audio, respirator fit, pulmonary function, vitals and vision.
I ensure that test data is collected so it can be processed and analyzed – and then returned to the client. At the same time, I provide clients with instant access and results to audio and respirator fit test onsite. Additionally, I am a Certified Field Trainer for new field techs. It is my goal to ensure that each and every one of our Occupational Health Specialists provide the best, most accurate information and service to our clients.
2. How does your role contribute to the health and safety of America’s workforce?
Concerning noise exposure, I help ensure that our clients’ workforce are wearing the correct hearing protection. Unfortunately, not everyone can wear every type of earplug, as they may not fit well. The OHS Field team also makes certain that employees are aware of noise exposure throughout their daily work and home life. The goal is to reduce potential hearing loss from all areas of life. The annual testing and training equips employees with the knowledge to protect themselves against hearing loss.
When it comes to respiratory protection, the importance of wearing a properly sized respirator cannot be overstated. Typically, employees will grab the first available respirator. This can be dangerous as not all respirators fit well on the employees. In the field, we not only test for the proper fit, but also instruct employees on the fit, style and size respirator for each employee. With our fit testing, we ensure they are wearing a respirator that actually seals on the face, protecting them from exposure to potential hazards.
3. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
For me, the most rewarding part is when I can see that I have reached someone on the importance of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and how it applies to them and their loved ones. To do this, I simply show them the proper way to use hearing protection and respirators. Many times, I find that employees do not know how to use their equipment well, which ultimately make the PPE fit uncomfortably.
Another reward for me is happy clients. I enjoy being able to empower clients and assist their efforts to protect their workforces, not only for OSHA compliance, but also for the overall long-term health effects for their employees.
4. Considering your role and different experiences in your work, please share a personal safety and/or health tip that may be relevant for clients.
My tip is to educate yourself on the importance of PPE, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or if you don’t want to wear it.
Before Examinetics, I thought like most of the workforce population. PPE? No way! It’s too much hassle and it’s uncomfortable. I had a million reasons. However, to this day, I suffer from hearing loss. Had I known then what I know now, I would not struggle to hear some sounds.
My uncle passed away from lung cancer. Occupationally induced lung cancer is preventable today. During his time, respirators were not worn on the job. However, by the time respirators were mandatory, it was too late.
You only have one pair of ears and one set of lungs, so protecting them is vitally important.
5. As a certified field trainer, what advice do you give to new occupational health specialists? What is important to know?
“Welcome to the adventure!” This is how I usually start my initial contact with new OHS techs. Like most jobs, this job is what you make of it. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity for work for Examinetics. I get to travel, meet amazing people and do something very important. In my experience, there are several significant things to know when joining as a field tech.
I always stress outstanding customer service skills. Testing day can be stressful for our clients, so it’s important we present ourselves as competent, professional health providers and make the day as smooth as possible.
Flexibility is a must. Each location of a large corporation has their individual way of getting their workforce testing completed, and we must adapt to it. While we always must meet OSHA/DOT protocols, we can be accommodating to meet the expectations of the employer.
Have a question? Ask! Although we may often work alone, someone is just a phone call away. The only bad question is the one not asked. As a Certified Field Trainer, I am available to my former trainees at any time. Remember, you have other resources such as supervisors, help desk, nurses, audiologists, maintenance and more to call as well.
Bonus question: What tips and tricks have you learned working on the road?
The best travel tip I can offer is go, do and enjoy. Treat each city as if it were a travel destination, explore, talk to the local people and visit the parks.
I have become a very seasoned traveler and look forward to seeing my schedule when it updates. I never know where I will be, or what company I will be testing. I am a naturally curious person, so learning about my client is a perk of the job. I have seen many different industries in action like railroads, food plants, distilleries, casinos, manufacturing plants, coal mines and salt mines.
I’ve also visited amazing places, all thanks to Examinetics. To name a few, I have visited Niagara Falls, Mt. Rushmore, Boston and many other great cities. As much as I love visiting the major attractions, I have fallen in love with so many small towns: McCook, NE; Alliance, NE; Sioux City, IA to name a few. My favorite is Cameron, LA where I can sit on the Gulf Highway watching the shrimp boats.
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