NUI Galway Student Wins Occupational Hygiene Prize

Friday, 25 April 2008

NUI Galway MSc student Margaret McCallig has won the 2008 Occupational Hygiene Society of Ireland (OHSI) student prize. The objective of the OHSI student scheme is to encourage research and promote occupational hygiene as a profession in Ireland. Occupational Hygiene is a specialised discipline within the broad area of Occupational Safety and Health and is concerned with the prevention of ill health caused by exposure to poor work environments. NUI Galway offers one undergraduate and two taught postgraduate programmes in Occupational Health and Safety, and also offers the option to complete an MSc or PhD by research in the area. Margaret, originally from Dunkineely, Co. Donegal, is currently undertaking a research Masters in Occupational Hygiene in the Physics Department at NUI Galway, funded by the Health and Safety Unit of The Office of Public Works. Her research is looking specifically at exposure to vibration among construction workers when using powered equipment such as angle grinders, excavators, jack hammers and chain saws. This data will then be used to develop an exposure management system which will aid in the selection of 'low risk' equipment, and will also help schedule work activities so as to minimise worker exposure so that industry can comply with the regulations. According to Dr. Marie Coggins, Lecturer in Occupational Hygiene at NUI Galway said, "Regular exposure to high levels of hand arm and whole body transmitted vibration can result in a range of permanent adverse health conditions including the development of the occupational disease, vibration white finger. The introduction of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Control of Vibration at Work) Regulations in 2006 has presented challenges for the engineering and construction sectors in terms of vibration exposure assessment and management." Margaret has a BSc (Honours) degree in Health and Safety Systems from NUI Galway in 2006.
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