Erin Sanchez, CIH

Erin Sanchez, CIH

"I am really glad that I have my CIH because I’ve finally accomplished one of my ultimate career goals. My journey started 17 years ago in the United States Air Force in the field of Industrial Hygiene. In that time I became certified as an Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST), earned a B.S in Environmental Science and Policy, and then an MSPH in Industrial Hygiene. While those degrees and certification were great I still felt incomplete. I knew that fulfillment would not come until I became certified. In early 2012, I set out to obtain the CIH certification. I studied on and off for almost 9 months and in November 2012 my dream became a reality. I am a Compliance Safety and Health Officer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and currently the only enforcement officer certified as a CIH in my office. My duties include investigating workplace safety and health complaints, serious injuries, and fatalities. These investigations can occur in any work environment in both general industry and construction. As a compliance officer we are not afforded the opportunity to become a master at any particular work setting, but instead, we must be able to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and determine which hazards are present and how to control those hazards to reduce serious health injuries. Being certified has definitely brought a level of respect and credibility with regard to assessing hazards and making recommendations to companies. As compliance officers we must determine if OSHA standards were violated and recommend citations. This also means that we must be ready and willing to defend those citations in the court of law. As we all know credibility plays a significant role in court. Being a CIH now establishes that level of credibility and respect amongst my peers, in court and with companies and employees being investigated. My next goal is to become an Assistant Area Director (AAD) in my office. Now as a Certified Industrial Hygienist I’m in a position to be extremely competitive when a vacancy presents itself. Being an AAD will allow me to help even more people by helping fellow compliance officers with their investigations. For 17 years I’ve dedicated my life to helping the public through military service and as a civil servant with OSHA. Many industrial hygienists put off taking the exam due to fear of disappointment and/or fear of difficulty. Becoming certified has also allowed me to be a positive influence to my peers. Now that I’m certified my fellow co-workers are able see that becoming a CIH is an attainable goal."