Hope Katz Gibbs

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The Synergist / AIHA

State of the Art: Is the art of industrial hygiene dead? [The Synergist / AIHA]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Synergist / American Industrial Hygiene Association
October 1998

Clyde Berry was working as an industrial hygienist with the state of North Carolina in 1941, when one Saturday night he was called to the backyard of a politician’s house. The politician, his wife and about two-dozen supporters had come over for an afternoon barbecue and were now running fevers and throwing up.

Berry, now 85, figured it was food poisoning. A trained chemist and biologist, he began searching leftovers for bacteria. The culprit turned out to be un-refrigerated potato salad but Berry had to do a lot of digging in the garbage before he found the organism.

“I always had to work from the seat of my pants,” Berry says. “Today, an outbreak of food poisoning would be turned over to the county health officer. But back then I handled problems as they emerged. And because there weren’t sophisticated tests or equipment, I had to be creative and handle problems with my wits.”

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Reality Check: What effect will third-party reviews have on the IH community? [The Synergist / AIHA]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Synergist / American Industrial Hygiene Association
September 1998

The third-party review bill was back again this year. Introduced in 1997 by Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, the controversial Safety Advancement For Employees Act (aka, the SAFE Act), graced committee rooms and the floor of the 105th
Congress. But the bill lost key support in the spring of 1998.

However, the bill is likely to be back for a third time next year, says Chris Spear, a legislative assistant in Enzi’s office. Spear says Enzi might have a better chance of getting it passed in 1999 because the senator might have more power in Congress. He is next in line to chair a health and safety subcommittee.

Why is Enzi so determined to get the SAFE Act passed? He says American workers will be safer if individuals or organizations besides OSEIA perform inspections. Some industrial hygienists agree. Some don’t. All concur, however, that passage of a third-party review bill will have an impact on their professional lives.

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The Expert Witness: Tougher than it looks [The Synergist / AIHA]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Synergist / American Industrial Hygiene Association
March 1997

It all rests on what you say. Your testimony is the thing that will determine if a company is fined millions of dollars. But you are calm as you sit on the witness stand, looking proper in your conservative blue suit. There is no sweat on your lip. Your hands aren’t shaking. No quivering lips. You are confident, detached.

Only, it isn’t as easy as it looks, says expert witness Hank Muranko, an industrial hygienist and consultant specializing in comprehensive practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“As an expert witness, you are being asked to render an expert opinion based on your experience and training,” says Muranko. “But, you are really being asked to be a teacher. It is your job to inform the jury as clearly, factually and truthfully as possible about the facts. And that isn’t so easy, because it is also the job of the opponents’ attorney to make you look like you never left high school.”

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Spreading the Word: The Tragedy of Asbestos Poisoning [The Synergist / AIHA]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Synergist / American Industrial Hygiene Association
December 1996

After Bill Ravanesi’s father died of mesothelioma in 1981, he embarked on a 12-year mission to photograph and exhibit the faces behind the tragedy of asbestos poisoning that has afflicted hundreds of thousands of people. He has gained notoriety, but his mission is not accomplished. Ravanesi wants to educate the public and convince lawmakers to make changes that will stop companies from using toxins in the workplace.

Here’s his story.

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Detours in the Path: A Tale of 3 Industrial Hygiene Professionals [The Synergist / AIHA]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Synergist / American Industrial Hygiene Association
September 1996

Ever wish you could just quit your job? you want new challenges, you need to explore your options. But it is such a big risk to make a change. V\That if you don’t like your new job? What if you move to a more challenging role and find you are in over your head? Or what if you just take a year off?

The following three industrial hygiene professionals have faced those dilemmas. Chris Cole left a plant setting at NASA to pursue a career as an entrepreneur, and is learning to adapt his knowledge to the business world as president of HID Recycling.

John Wright spent years at DuPont perfecting his skills before going off to be a consultant, and has recently found his way back into an industrial setting as director of occupational safety and environmental compliance at Harsco Corp.

And Luna Chandna, a young woman who had begun to make a name for herself in this traditional male-dominated profession, had a baby last September and decided despite her hard work she needed to take off the past year to raise her son.

She is hoping to return to the business full-time this fall. They all say they have no regrets about their choices, but each admits there have been moments of frustration. Still, none of these professionals would change their lives.

“You have to be comfortable with whatever decision you make in your career,” says Chandna. “You must do what feels right and not spend time worrying about what others think. After all, you are the only one who has to live with the decision.”

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More The Synergist / AIHA Articles


"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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