Feb. 25, 2010
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU students put safety first with Hazwoper training
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Tyler Bean, a Slippery Rock University safety and environmental management major, said he knows hazardous waste managers are like police officers - their jobs involve life-threatening risk. That's one of the reasons Bean will participate in specialized Hazwoper training at Slippery Rock University March 10.
"I want to help ensure that working men and women reunite with their family members each day," said Bean of Franklin.
Sixty SRU students will participate in a mock chemical spill as part of a 40-hour Hazwoper Certification training program that includes classroom and hands-on education. The certification is for industrial site workers who remove hazardous substances that pose a health risk.
The drill will cover emergency response, decontamination, protective equipment, medical surveillance and site control. Airgas, a leading U.S. distributor of safety products, will set up a mock spill in SRU's Morrow Field House, giving students four to six hours to remediate the simulated emergency.
"This is a unique opportunity, because students will actually participate in a real-time drill," said Angela Bernardo, SRU assistant professor of safety and environmental management. "They will obtain a certification, which adds value to their degree and gives them an additional credential for employment, and our graduates will be the one assuring occupational safety in the workplace."
Bean said the training would give him a great opportunity to build a sound knowledge base necessary for preventing injuries, saving lives and reducing accident risks. The training will also cover airborne substances.
"Ultimately, the training should provide the tools and the technical knowledge necessary for the safety professional to successfully manage to protect those involved in hazardous waste operations," he said.
Tom Huet, a safety and environmental management major from Sarver, said he expects to graduate in May with a much better chance of finding a job in his field. "This certification will be a great asset when entering employment," he said.
Huet said he came to SRU for the health and safety major, which prepares graduates for employment in industry, healthcare, manufacturing and government. Two recent graduates found jobs right out of school with General Electric Co. and Alcoa.
"Pursuing this particular career is alluring for a couple of reasons," Huet said. "There is great opportunity to travel and see the country if not the world. There is great opportunity to make a good living monetarily, and finally you can sleep easy at night knowing you may save someone from injury or death every single day."
Jill Klocek, a safety and environmental management major from Pittsburgh, said SRU professors train students for the real world and that the Hazwoper training is an example.
"I am graduating in May, so I feel very lucky to be given the opportunity to participate in Hazwoper training before the start of my internship," she said. "We will learn the current safety and health standards with an understanding of dealing with hazardous materials safely. This will enable me to handle a tough situation when presented with one."