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UT Public Safety’s Newest Grad: Ahmad Mitoubsi

Lab safety specialist Ahmad Mitoubsi recently graduated with a Master of Public HealthCongratulations to our most recent Public Safety graduates! We are proud of your hard work and accomplishments.

Ahmad Mitoubsi, a laboratory safety specialist in UT Environmental Health and Safety, graduated with a Master of Public Health from UT Knoxville.

What interested you in your degree? I was interested in pursuing my master’s degree in public health due to its broad range of topics. Having the opportunity to volunteer and participate in different areas of interest inspired me to seek my degree. One of those volunteering opportunities was Remote Area Medical (RAM), a nonprofit organization that provides free clinics. Helping to provide healthcare services for those in need was very rewarding.

How does it help you in your work? As a laboratory safety specialist, our goal is to minimize the risk of injury and illness to laboratory personnel. This is done by ensuring laboratory personnel have the proper training, information, and support needed to work safely. The knowledge that I gained from my MPH program has helped me develop processes to better evaluate and provide support to UT laboratories. Other experiences such as participating in the UT Emergency Operations Center broadened my knowledge and skills.

How has it expanded your worldview? Public health has expanded my worldview on how to increase my abilities to help the community. Sometimes just looking at genetics can explain some diseases; however, it is not enough to explain others. This is where the role of the environment comes in and how it affects human health. Understanding the role of social determinants of health and how that affects human health outcomes is critical.

How did you manage the work-life-school balance? Time management was significantly important. Most of the classes were at night and studying at nights and on weekends was helpful. The coursework would sometimes feel overwhelming, but I found activities that helped me clear my head and push through, like cooking and the outdoors. I was also fortunate to have great supervisors who were very understanding and supportive.

What tips do you have for UT employees interested in pursuing a degree? It is never too late to start. Talk to others around you who have gone back to pursue a degree. See others’ perspectives and how they accomplished their degrees. Always choose something you are interested in and it will keep you motivated.

Now that school is done, what is a fun-to-do on your list? I would like to spend more time outdoors hiking, swimming and gardening, and with friends. Looking forward to summertime!

Laser and UV Safety

While we often talk about eye safety and protection in terms of flying objects or chemical splashes, we do not want to forget the effects of intense light.The most common sources of intense light are lasers and ultra-violet (UV) lamps. Not all laser and UV sources are intense enough to be harmful, however it is important to understand the risks if you work with them.

Infographic showing a laser symbol

Some researchers use lasers and UV lamps that can cause damage to the eyes if improperly used. It’s important to understand that not all of these devices are intense enough to cause harm. Those that are, are usually protected by shielding and guide tubes. These systems are designed to prevent stray light and beams from striking the eyes.

Please contact Environmental Health & Safety for more information on laser and UV safety.

Protect Your Eyes from Flying Objects

As Workplace Eye Wellness Month continues, we remind the campus community to remember and respond appropriately to the risk of flying objects that can injure the eyes.

Infographic showing a face with eye protection and debris flying from machinery towards the face

The majority of eye injuries result from small particles or objects striking the eyes.

It is important to select and wear the correct eye protection. For example for minor risks, a pair of safety glasses with side-shields may be sufficient. Goggles or the addition of a face shield may be needed for greater risks.

When working with airborne dust and flying debris, safety goggles may be a better option than safety glasses. Safety goggles provide more complete protection by forming a tight facial seal. Safety glasses have gaps where some materials may get through.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides an eTool to help with eye and face personal protective equipment selection.

Regardless of your selection, one of the hardest parts of using eye protection is to remember to use it and to ensure your coworkers, peers, and employees do the same. One way to help is to ensure that you select eye protection that is comfortable and easy to use.

Otherwise, keep eye protection safety stored so it is protected from contamination. Keep it clean according to manufacturer’s specifications, and replace it when it becomes damaged.

Remember to keep eye protection at the forefront and your eyes safe.

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