New OH&S Professional Essay Contest

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – For thirty years 3M’s Personal Safety Division has been conducting programs to help build and grow the field of occupational health and safety. Over the last 30 years we have awarded scholarships to help fund the graduate education of over 100 students studying occupational health and safety.

To commemorate our 30th anniversary of support for the profession, we have expanded our focus to those professionals new to the field. This year we held an essay contest on the topic of “How Technology Will Impact Occupational Health and Safety.” This contest was open to new professionals working in the field for five years or less. The winner received support for travel and attendance at the American Society for Safety Engineers conference, Safety 2016, June 26-29, 2016 in Atlanta, GA, USA.

We are pleased to be able to share several of the outstanding submissions with you.
3M Safety Tech

ESSAY WINNER – Jacob Krzystowczyk

“Electronic data collection is a critical and ever changing process required for determining working conditions. The transition from a paper based workplace to a digital workplace is constantly occurring everywhere. The change from paper reports, personnel files, inspections, batch records, and most mail to their respective electronic versions is a revolution across industry. Companies have realized the gains from this transition which include: increased speed, lower costs, conservation of resources, improved communication and clarity, and a “green” company image. These benefits all affect worker health and safety. A Pharmaceutical Operator who works in a facility with electronic, typed batch records can help avoid hazardous mischarges or unsafe operating conditions using effective communication. Auditors who use electronic inspection forms on tablets for safety showers can instantly upload the results of inspections via wireless network and dramatically reduce the time needed to begin the repair process. The improvement of communication due to improved technology is not restricted to those currently working in plants.” 

Read the full essay here.

3M Science Applied to Life

ESSAY FINALIST – Christina Withrow

“If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that nearly everything we humans do is aimed at making some other job easier. When the first wheel was invented, the neighbors probably pointed and laughed at the person pushing it around until the time came to haul a woolly mammoth back to camp. We constantly try to remove ourselves from boring and dangerous work, and the rate of technological advancement grows faster every day. Automated processes surround us, from stop lights to vending machines, and watching those simple machines perform simple tasks has dimmed our imaginations to the current state of automation. October 21, 2015 – the “future” from the 1989 film Back to the Future II – passed by, and the internet was disappointed that we still don’t have hover boards, flying cars, or self-lacing shoes.”

Read the full essay here.

3M Safety Solutions

ESSAY FINALIST – Jamie Schenk

“The landscape of occupational health has greatly advanced due to advancements in science and technology. Over the past two decades, emerging investigative technologies have allowed for greater understanding of occupational health hazards and mitigation (University of Washington, 2016). Advancements in technology to gather data to understand occupational health allow researchers and policymakers to enforce standards that better protect worker health and safety. Development in automation, further mechanization, new materials, and implementation of biotechnology on a large scale reduce harmful waste and reduced impact on workers.”

Read the full essay here.

The opinions expressed in the attached abstracts are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the 3M or the 3M Personal Safety Division. If you’d like more information on our Occupational Health & Safety New Professional Essay Award program, visit the 3M New Professional Award Page.