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A day in the life of Alex Taylor

22 January 2016

Each issue HSM speaks to a member of the BOHS about the challenges and rewards of working as an occupational hygienist. This month we talk to Alex Taylor, occupational hygienist at Validate Consulting.

How early do you rise?

Usually about 6 - 6:30am, sometimes earlier dependent on the location of the site or the type of job scheduled. Occasionally we do surveys at mines (where work starts at 7am) which means a very early start (4 - 4:30am)!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Coffee! Or my girlfriend dragging me out of bed. I’m not so great at early mornings although I’m getting better.

What do you do?

I’m an occupational hygienist at Validate Consulting based in Chesterfield. We do exposure monitoring (air quality; noise; vibration; Legionella etc).

Where do you work?

I can be based at various client sites, throughout the length and breadth of the UK.

What does a typical day entail for you?

There aren't many 'typical days': this week, for example, I’ve been working on a noise survey in Boston, so this entailed waking around 6am, being out of the door for 6:30am to arrive at site for 8:30am. Then: meet with the site contact; calibrate equipment; find my bearings with a quick site tour; then begin badging operatives up with personal dosimeters.

Once this is in place, I work my way around the site taking observations and spot readings of various tools/machinery/processes/site areas.

What is your favourite piece of work equipment?

I’d say the noise meter. It gives an instantaneous result and is always interesting for the operatives you are recording, as they can see what the results are.

What would you be lost without in work?

Hard to narrow it down to just one item, but it would probably be my note pad. The amount of notes and results you have to record would be impossible to remember!

When did you last laugh in work? What made you laugh?

This week: you always get guys on site thinking you’re a reporter from the BBC with your noise meter.

What is the best part of your day?

Once you’ve arrived at a site, found your bearings, managed to get all your sampler’ out -  you can grab five minutes for a coffee.

What advice would you give a person thinking of becoming an occupational hygienist?

Try to speak to someone who’s in the field already, and ask if you can get some experience with them. They’re the best people to speak to as they’re doing the job!