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Alumni Corner

To our alumni:
This alumni corner is set up so that current undergraduate students at Binghamton can find out more about varied careers and paths toward those careers that you have taken. If you are willing to share your experience, please contact annatan@binghamton.edu.

THOMAS SLAWTA (BA Biology 1973)- Industrial Hygienist, Lockheed Martin Corporation

My job is pretty broad, which is nice. I have to evaluate various hazards, such as employee chemical, noise and radiation exposures. To do that I have to use all sorts of neat test equipment and then compare results to OSHA [Occupational Health and Safety Administration] exposure limits. An example would be having the employee wear an air pump and charcoal tube to collect Isopropyl Alcohol being used to clean product. Let's say the results are 50 ppm. OSHA's limit is 400 ppm, time weighted over an 8 hour shift. That means the exposure is relatively safe on this cleaning operation. If the results were 300 ppm that would be close to the OSHA limit and significant, so how can we control, or reduce the exposure? Working with management, engineering and the employee we would try to reduce the amount of vapors in the air. An exhaust vent to remove vapors, or perhaps a respirator if that was not possible would be two ways of reducing the employee exposure. Employee Safety training programs, often with use of software/video tools is also a major part of my job. In general, investigating the daily employee exposures and then following up with controls and training are my main tasks. I have a lot of freedom to schedule my day for the most part as I please. It usually includes a walk- through of the facility, just to see if employees have any concerns or exposures. There are a limited number of Industrial Hygiene programs around the country at various universities. Any science or math degree is a good start. I have a BA in Biology, and that worked out perfectly for me. The company I work for sends me to training annually to maintain my certification as an Industrial Hygienist.

Anyone interested could certainly contact me, or go to the following link for more information.

http://www.aiha.org/

Tom Slawta
Safety, Chemical and Environmental Programs

tom.slawta@ lmco.com

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Last Updated: 5/5/09