From farms to microbreweries to hospitals, industrial hygiene focuses on the science and art of recognizing, assessing, and controlling workplace hazards.
Faculty and students in Colorado State University’s Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences were honored for their work in this field at the recent American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition.
The awards celebrate the research and service accomplishments of numerous faculty, staff, graduate students, and alumni primarily from the department’s industrial hygiene section.
“For more than 25 years, the industrial hygiene program has provided the in-depth transdisciplinary training required for a career in the field. The diversity of awards received this year by our students and faculty emphasizes our program’s success in addressing the critical health and safety issues of today’s workforce” said Stephen Reynolds, professor and associate department head.
The premier international conference for industrial hygiene and exposure science, the event took place the week of May 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. More than 4,000 professionals and researchers were in attendance.
Industrial hygiene, ergonomics, and safety student achievements were recognized with two scholarships and two student poster awards. Doctoral students Colleen Brents and Kyle Hancock each received a scholarship from the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation. Mentored by Professor John Rosecrance, both students are working on projects that address worker safety and health in Colorado’s craft brewing industry.
Doctoral student Grant Erlandson won two Best in Show Awards for his poster summarizing work conducted alongside faculty investigators Sheryl Magzamen, Joshua Schaeffer, and Reynolds. The poster presented pilot study data on a low-cost intervention to protect the upper respiratory tract of dairy workers from aerosolized dusts and pathogens.
Schaeffer and Reynolds received funding last fall from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to complete a full trial of the intervention through the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (HICAHS). The pilot study best in show nods came from conference interest groups on occupational and environmental epidemiology and social concerns.
A large team also brought home a Best Paper Award selected by the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Society. The paper, “Personal exposure of dairy workers to dust, endotoxin, muramic acid, ergosterol on large-scale dairies in the high plains Western United States,” was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene in early 2018. Authors included Schaeffer, Magzamen, Reynolds, Maggie Clark, Thomas Keefe, and Gregory Dooley with lead author, former post-doctoral fellow Maggie Davidson. The project was also funded through HICAHS.
“As the size of dairy operations, and thus the workforce, in the region increases, we need to better understand the threats to workers’ respiratory health,”
Reynolds said. “The size of the team involved in the paper reflects the knowledge needed to collect and analyze air samples for the variety of threats potentially present.” Reynolds, the paper’s senior author, accepted the award alongside Assistant Professor Joshua Schaeffer.
Several industrial hygiene faculty also serve on volunteer committees within the American Industrial Hygiene Association. These committees work to elevate their fields, provide networking and career development opportunities, and even publish standards of good practice and contribute to policy debates.
The Biosafety and Environmental Microbiology committee, chaired by Joshua Schaeffer, received two awards: Outstanding Volunteer Group and a Shining Star Award. Assistant Professor Candace Tsai serves on the executive committee of Nanotechnology Working Group, which also received an award for Outstanding Volunteer Group. A team of department alumni, led by Roberta Smith, currently the occupational health program manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, also won an award for leadership in infection prevention in hospital settings.