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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Summer Update – Steven Mills interns with Valaris and attends AIHce Conference

Steven Mills Postcard

Steven Mills, BS, is a second-year trainee in the Industrial Hygiene program at the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH). In 2020, Mr. Mills won the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP) National Student Research Competition, one of three undergraduate student winners selected. Earning his undergraduate degree in Environmental Health Science, Mr. Mills attended Eastern Kentucky University. Mr. Mills is interested in a variety of subjects, with his primary research interest in occupational exposures to airborne particulates, noise, radiation, mold, and workplace safety. Upon graduation Steven plans to become a Certified Industrial Hygienist, Registered Sanitarian, and pursue a career in the aerospace industry.

This summer, Mr. Mills completed an internship as a Project Consultant with Valaris, an offshore drilling company headquartered in Houston, and attended the AIHce Conference. Mr. Mills shared insight on his experiences with What were your responsibilities during your internship with Valaris?

Mr. Mills: While working as a Project Consultant for Valaris as my 2022 Summer Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) Internship I was tasked with various responsibilities, including attending global QHSE meetings and supervising development trainings. I assessed the Valaris Bloodborne Pathogen, Hearing Conservation, and Respiratory Protection standards, assisted with the greenhouse gas inventory log, and proposed purchasing intrinsically safe personal noise dosimeters and noise area monitors. I also proposed a pilot project for personal noise dosimetry of off-shore personnel and OSHA regulated shipyards/warehouses. I created an area noise monitoring procedure and an area noise monitoring report template/guideline. Additionally, I created a QHSE questionnaire, assisted in creating a monthly companywide QHSE newsletter, and created a musculoskeletal disorder and manual handling awareness training which will be taken by workers internationally. Based on your internship experience, which courses would you suggest future students complete first before their IH practicum?  

Mr. Mills: From my experience, I would suggest taking courses such as Occupational Health Controls, Biostatistics, Occupational Ergonomics, as well as Management and Policy Concepts before beginning your IH practicum. Did you learn anything new about the IH profession from the AIHce Conference?

Mr. Mills: I learned a lot of new information while attending the AIHce conference, including high hazard risk reduction as well as risk assessment processes. These topics covered serious injury or events (SIEs), risk assessment & prioritization process (RAP), data & quality, and process enhancements. The information obtained from the seminars allowed me to better improve quality, health, safety, and environmental factors during my QHSE internship with an offshore oil & gas company. The conference also provided me the opportunity to network and reconnect with individuals within the industrial hygiene profession. What was the most impressive talk you attended at the AIHce Conference?

Mr. Mills: The most enlightening talk I attended at the AIHce conference was the “Driving Risk to an All Time Low: The Risk Assessment Process and High Hazard Risk Reduction” by 3M CIH Liz Vold and CSP Dan Sanborn. The discussion included serious injury or events (SIE), risk assessment processes, and future process enhancements. After the conference and the internship, do you have a new plan for your IH career?

Mr. Mills: After attending the AIHce conference and completing my internship I decided that the Industrial Hygiene profession is definitely right for me. I plan on completing my MPH in Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences, specializing in Industrial Hygiene, and then obtaining a job within the oil & gas or aerospace side of industrial hygiene & occupational safety. Next, I will prepare for the CIH exam, and obtain a position as a Certified Industrial Hygienist. 

The SWCOEH provides a variety of graduate-level training opportunities for occupational and environmental health professionals through our industrial hygiene, occupational and environmental medicine, occupational epidemiology, and Total Worker Health®.