Continuing with our series of ‘Jobs You Didn’t Know Existed at DTE’, we spoke with Nick Solomon, an Industrial Hygienist for DTE, on his background on one of the lesser known, but critically important, positions at DTE Energy. Read on to learn more about his position and why it’s important for employees across the company.
What is an industrial hygienist?
Industrial hygienists are scientists and engineers tasked with protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace by identifying physical, chemical and biological risks. What does that all mean? Nick is responsible for examining the workplace for hazards and potential dangers at all levels and making recommendations on improving the safety of workers and the surrounding community. From employees working with power lines in the field to employees at corporate headquarters, Nick and his colleagues are charged with everyone’s safety.
What does an industrial hygienist do?
Industrial hygienists need to be able to recognize potential risks of all kinds, and more importantly, offer solutions to these safety challenges quickly and accurately. A few examples include testing indoor air quality (biological), detection and control of occupational hazards such heat stress or noises that are too loud (physical) and cumulative trauma disorders such as injuries caused by stress (physical). Nick and his colleagues conduct scientific research to evaluate these risks in addition to speaking with employees at every level of the company to get the first-person perspective.
What kind of education is involved in achieving this position?
A professional industrial hygienist often possesses either a bachelor’s degree in engineering, chemistry, physics, or a closely related biological or physical science from an accredited college or university in addition to a master’s degree in related fields. Nick specifically earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Human Physiology from Wayne State University in addition to a Graduate Certificate in occupational safety and Master of Science in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety, Industrial Hygiene, also from WSU.
What is the best part of the job?
Nick describes his position as somewhat of an investigator – he anticipates and evaluates risks or problems within the company, whether it be working in an office setting, on power lines, or with natural gas. His position as an industrial hygienist allows him to interact with colleagues at all levels of the company and meet many people along the way. Nick is able to utilize his degree in an important role within the company, to which he does with a passion.
Check out our other ‘Our People’ blogs for more interesting positions here at DTE.