The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) recently announced the list of new CIH certificate holders for 2016.
236 examinees passed the CIH exam. Woo Hoo! Way to go!
Of those same 236, 67% received our free weekly CIH study questions and 5% purchased a Premium Membership in the Bowen EHS® Member Center. With a Premium Membership, clients have access to live webinars, interactive online study sessions, subject-specific quizzes, and over 1000 study questions to help them prepare for the exam.
We’ve been helping health and safety professionals achieve exam success for over 14 years. This means the world to us and we will continue to support our clients in whatever way we can.
We look forward to another great year!
Congratulations new CIHs!
~ The Bowen EHS Team
The Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary defines an ethic as "rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad." As Industrial Hygienists, we are held to a "Code of Ethics" put forth by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). However, what you may feel is morally wrong may be perfectly fine with the IH sitting next to you. How do we determine if something is ethically wrong? First, you need a good understanding of what is expected of you and the goal of this webinar is to give you that foundation. We will explore the ABIH's "Code of Ethics", discuss the reasons for unethical behavior, and review how to avoid ethical pitfalls.
- Date & Time January 25, 2017 2:00pm ET
Many of us look forward to the beginning of a new year. We set new goals and are refreshed and motivated to start over with a clean slate. We look at last year’s goals, mark off ones we accomplished and wonder why we failed at others.
Search the internet and you will find several sources stating five to ten tips on how to set goals.
Most of the lists include the following steps:
1. Write down your goals.
2. Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound).
3. Plan the smaller steps it will take to reach your goal.
4. Display your goals to see them every day.
5. Prioritize your goals.
6. Find a support system.
As I look at the New Year’s resolutions I set in 2016, I am disappointed in myself. Of the seven goals I set, I accomplished one. Yes one. Others were partially completed, some I almost achieved, and others weren’t even touched. After reading the above statements, I now realize maybe these sources really know what they’re talking about.
I wrote down my goals and they were specific, measurable, and attainable. However, I noticed the goals I failed to achieve didn’t have a time stamp on them nor did I plan smaller steps to reach those goals.
The step that would have really helped me, but is probably the hardest to do for most, is finding a support system. It may depend on what you are trying to accomplish. It might be easier to find a running buddy than someone to quiz you on the health effects of cotton dust. Sometimes embarrassment might impede your decision to find a support system. Asking for help can be hard to do.
If an EHS certification is one of your goals this year, we at Bowen EHS hope finding a support system doesn’t prove to be difficult for you. We are here to do just that - be your support system. We truly believe you are most successful when connected to a supportive, professional community.
From forums in the Bowen EHS® Member Center to live interactive online courses, our goal is to be available to you when you need us. However, we aren’t the only ones here for you. Other professionals working toward the same goal are also members and can be your cheerleaders, sounding boards, and advisors.
Our goal is to help you achieve success on your EH&S certification exam (short of taking the exam for you).
We are here to listen. Whether it’s about exam day jitters, a specific topic that is stressful to you, or about your exam experience.
We are here to find solutions. We will spend time with you to understand your needs and help you move toward a solution that works for you.
We are here to plan. Our EHS exam prep specialists are available to help you develop your exam prep strategy. Everyone learns differently, and we can help you determine the best method for you.
After almost 14 years of providing review courses for health and safety certification exams, we continually strive to be a better support system for our clients.
Please reach out to us via phone, email, or chat. Our client support team is ready to connect with you and help you accomplish your goals.
We look forward to this time of year to share this wonderful poem written by one our clients. She passed the CSP exam and describes the feelings many of you had when you learned you passed your exam. You know earning an EHS certification is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. We're grateful to be a part of the process with so many clients and look forward to celebrating many more successes throughout the years.
'Twas the night after CSP, and throughout the room
Not a flash card was flipping, no aura of gloom
Brauer was stacked on the bookshelf with care
And the Russ notes and Rick notes followed him there
The crystal stood ready, the champagne was chilled
The colleague supporters in unison, thrilled
Success was achieved and the page it was turned
No fretting about BLEVE, or what may be burned
No cyclones, no friction, no tank wall construction
No fault trees, no hygiene, no arc flash destruction
No time-weighted average or critical stats
No foam blankets, circuits or hazardous cats
The And Gates and Or Gates and crosswalks are closed
The studying's over, scrap paper disposed
Incomplete, Flagged, "Are you Sure?" - that's all done
Success was secured and the prize has been won!
Written by: Adrienne Scivolette
Happy Holidays and best wishes for a happy new year filled with health, happiness, and spectacular success!
~The Bowen EHS Team
Passing the CIH, the ASP, the CSP, or the CHMM exam is a valiant quest filled with hardship and uncertainty.
You set out on the arduous journey to pass the exam. You know the exam will be tough, but with determination and persistence, you’re confident you will prevail over the examination beast.
You work hard.
You study every night for 2 hours after your kids go to bed.
You get up before your kids to study a couple more hours before heading off to work.
You memorize the TLV Guidebook, and you know the difference between organochlorine and organophosphate. You can even design a push-pull ventilation system with one hand tied behind your back using a crayon and a slide rule.
You run through all the practice questions you can find three, four, five times, and you are fearless. You head into the dragon’s lair, aka the exam center, ready to slay the beast, and......
It doesn’t quite work out the way you intend.
It starts out okay. The exam dragon blows radiation fire at you, and you parry with thermal resistant PPE. Next, he sends a volley of toxic smoke in your direction, and you counter with local exhaust ventilation placed two duct diameters from his nostrils.
Things are looking pretty good.
But then come the scenario questions about working at the lama pack manufacturing facility. You never even knew there were special hazards related to the assembly of lama packs.
Are there ergonomic hazards? What about chemical exposures? Do you need hearing protection when working next to a lama? Who knows?
After the lama pack manufacturing question, it seems to be getting hotter in the lair. It becomes difficult to recall even basic information about benzene and asbestos.
You fight back by correctly answering a basic statistics question, but the dragon disarms you with a confusing epidemiology query.
You barely make it out alive, and you’re not surprised when the dragon’s minion hands you the paper stating that preliminary results indicate you did not pass the exam.
You go home to mend your wounds, and contemplate the sanity of this quest.
What do you do next?
You were extremely prepared, but you were still defeated. Can it be done?
Do you have the stuff to slay the examination dragon?
THE ANSWER IS YES. YOU CAN VANQUISH YOUR FOE.
However, defeating your enemy may not come through battle.
There is an old saying I picked up from Master Wu, the sensei of the cartoons “Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu”. He advises, the best way to get rid of an enemy is to make them your friend.
Now, I know it’s crazy to think of a test as a friend, and who wants a friend that’s always testing you anyway.
Some friends are like that. Some friends constantly challenge us to better ourselves by asking the hard questions. They force us to continue thinking and look for solutions we may not have thought of before.
Just like a friend, the exam changes and grows and evolves. It is a moving target.
You didn’t pass the exam the first time, and the second attempt may not go well either. It doesn’t mean you’re not worthy.
Exam failure just means you need to take the exam again. Some of the best professionals I know had to take the exam multiple times before earning their certification.
It doesn’t mean you have to study harder or longer or more efficiently.
Exam failure just means you have to take it again.
Embrace the uncertainty of the exam. Treat each attempt as a learning experience which adds to your knowledge base helping you to develop your critical thinking skills.
Eventually, you will come to recognize the exam as an old friend who still likes to throw the occasional brain teaser at you.
Keep at it. Don’t give up. You’ll eventually turn the exam dragon into your friend.
I mentor lots of people preparing to pass their EH&S certification exam. Some folks are working toward a safety certification, including the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) and the Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Other folks are working toward passing the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) exam or the Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM) exam.
ASP, CSP, CIH, or CHMM....
Whichever exam we prepare for, it is hard work! The uncertainty of not knowing what is on the exam drives us nuts. We study and prepare for months then question our ability, get overwhelmed, and then never actually sit for the exam. Believe me, I speak from experience.
Fear. Plain and simple.
We’re afraid to fail.
We’re afraid we’re not good enough.
We’re afraid to be embarrassed when we tell our families and friends we didn’t pass our certification exam.
So, we work harder. We study more. We are determined to learn everything. Every single practice question and problem we encounter is another learning opportunity. We’re not going to let anything get by us.
We need to know it all.
How else are we going to pass the exam? Knowing only one or two things about rules and regulations isn’t enough. We need to know everything about rules and regulations along with chemistry, toxicology, engineering and ventilation. Then there’s fall protection, trenching, confined spaces and control of hazardous energy.
Will it ever end?
Remember, you’re an EH&S professional already. Sitting for your certification exam is the last step in the certification process. You meet the requirements and are approved by the certifying board (ABIH, BCSP, IHMM) to sit for the exam. You are a professional in your field and know a lot of really cool stuff.
You don’t need a perfect score to pass. You just need a passing score.
Over the past few years, the passing score on the exams range from a low of about 55% for the CSP to a possible 68% for the CIH.
These are tough exams!
No one expects you to know everything. That’s why the passing score is so low.
You only need to know enough to get by, but remember getting by still means you know quite a bit. Again, you are an expert in the environmental, health, and safety field, and you know a darn sight more than the average bear.
Relax a little.
When you come across a topic as you’re studying that’s way over your head...Stop. Take a break. Give it time to sink in and think on it.
Is it a topic important to your current job? If you work with sources of ionizing radiation, then you need to know a thing or two about shielding and radiation exposure. If you don’t work with these substances, then it is okay to learn a few basics and guess on more advanced questions for the exam.
The exams are mostly filled with fundamental questions on a variety of topics with a few advanced questions in each subject. The best study strategy is to become familiar with the fundamentals and focus your advanced efforts in your particular industry. Your professional experience will help you tremendously.
Remember, no one expects you to know everything. Just like your family physician who knows enough to diagnose a cold from a seizure, you need to have enough general knowledge to minimize risk, and recognize when it is time to call in the experts.
Don’t give up on studying for the exam because you’ve found a very tough question or two or three subjects you don’t have a clue about. Stop and recognize that no one knows everything. You just need be an expert in one or two topics and be familiar with fundamental concepts in the rest of the subjects.
As Kim Collins, a famous track & field athlete stated:
Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.
You can do it.
You prepared for months, reviewed practice exam questions by the thousands, and you hope you’re prepared enough to take your ASP, CSP, CIH, or CHMM exam. However, there may be some things you haven’t considered that will keep you from passing your certification exam.
I’ve talked to many clients over the years and there are some common themes in regards to reasons why candidates don’t pass their exam. #8 is the least likely reason, and #1 is the most likely.
Counting backwards, here they are:
Reason #8: Test Center Errors
Test center errors are a rare occurrence, but it can happen. One conversation sticks out in my mind about a CIH candidate who was forbidden to bring his Board-approved calculator into the exam room. The test center proctor wouldn’t listen to his thorough explanation of the rules. His biggest fear came true.
He ended up taking the exam without the use of his calculator, and if memory serves me correctly, I don’t think there was one available on the computer. After some time, the proctor finally checked the rules and realized her error. She brought his calculator to him with 20 minutes remaining on the exam.
Amazingly, he failed the exam by only a few problems. After his dreadful experience at the exam center, he contacted the ABIH and shared his situation with them.The ABIH allowed him to take the exam during the next testing window at no cost.
How to Avoid
Contact the exam center before your test day and verify with them they understand all the rules specific to your exam.
Reason #7: Lack Of Sleep
Remember the days of staying up all night cramming for a college exam? You may think you can do the same for your certification exam. I’m here to tell you. Don’t do it!
You know everything you are going to know. Last minute studying is not worth it. Entering the exam center full of adrenaline and caffeine and a serious sleep deficit will compromise your ability to think clearly and effectively.
How to Avoid
Close the books, try to relax and get a good night’s sleep before the exam. However, the night before the exam may not be the night to do it. I often recommend getting a good night’s sleep two nights before the exam as well. As we all know, exam day jitters may make it difficult to sleep with the knowledge you’re taking a major test the next day.
Reason #6: Exam Anxiety
It’s hard to not have some anxiety about your exam. Unfortunately, many people suffer from severe test anxiety. I’m sure you know a few people who are competent and knowledgeable with the subject matter, but put them into an exam situation, and they freeze up like an icicle. Thinking is difficult, and solutions take too long to form in the brain.
How to Avoid
Talk to a trusted family member or friend before the exam. Share your feelings, emotions, and biggest fears. If a confidante is not available, spend a few minutes writing your feelings down. Talking or writing will reduce your anxiety levels and improve your test performance.
Reason #5: Lack of Preparation
You’ve been a safety manager for 10 years and think “Hey, how hard can this be?” I know everything about safety!” You sign up, take the test, and didn’t even look at the exam blueprint. Lack of preparation is rarely a winning strategy.
How to Avoid
Thoroughly review the material on the Board’s website. Make a list of the domains and rubrics to be covered on the exam. Start a study plan to review each of the topics. You don’t have to take a review course, but if you do, it should provide a fully developed path toward preparing yourself.
Reason #4: Time Management While Studying
You just can’t stand the idea of making a mistake or not knowing an answer. You study and study and study some more because you want to get every single question correct.
We’ve heard from test takers who’ve spent hours and hours studying a particular topic such as noise or radiation, only to find out there were no questions about the topic on their exam. Understandably, they were very frustrated because they felt they spent too much time studying the wrong material.
How to Avoid
Develop a study plan early on. Plan to review reference materials and practice problems about 2 to 3 times each day for 10 to 20 minute periods. This will keep you fresh, and you are more likely to retain the information.
Spend just a little bit of time reviewing topics that you’re very familiar with. I also recommend spending just a small amount of time reviewing topics that you find very difficult. Spend most of your effort on the topics you don’t know very well, but a moderate effort will improve your performance.
Reason #3: Math Errors
It’s very easy to make a mathematical error when doing relatively simple algebra problems. Unfortunately, the common math errors might be one of your choices on the exam.
How to Avoid
Skip all math problems during your first pass through. When going through the exam the second time, do the easiest problems first, and save the hardest ones for last. If you end guessing because you run out of time, it is better to guess on the harder problems.
Reason #2: Time Management During The Exam
One of the more common problems with passing the certification exams is time management. You only have a set amount of time, and you think you should try each and every problem as it comes in the test. Skipping questions and going back later is not your thing.
The problem with this approach is that not all questions are of equal difficulty, and some of the hardest problems are at the beginning of the exam. Hard problems take more time to solve leaving less time available for the rest of the questions. Your anxiety levels will skyrocket when you spend 15 minutes on problem number three.
How to Avoid
If you can’t easily answer a question within 40 seconds, skip it. Skip all the math questions during the first pass as well. The second time through, work the easiest problems first and save the hardest problems for last. If you begin to run out of time and need to guess, it’s better to guess on the hard ones and move on.
Reason #1: Not Taking The Exam
Well, this is obvious, isn’t it? Yes, if you don’t take the exam, you won’t pass. On the flip side, if you don’t take the exam, you can’t fail it either. You are so concerned about failing you just keep studying, and studying, and studying some more. No matter how long you studied you never quite feel like you are ready.
How to Avoid
Set your exam date and stick to it! Follow your study plan to the best of your ability, and take the test even if you’re still uncomfortable with some subjects. There is a real possibility that you will pass, and even if you don’t, the experience will be valuable in helping you improve your study plan.
Remember, our greatest achievements often rise from failure.
Don’t let these common errors keep you from passing your exam. You can do it. Create your plan for studying, work your plan, and then follow through with taking the exam.
It won’t easy, but the satisfaction from completing a difficult task is well worth the price.
Moving takes place in several phases. Beyond the packing and unpacking, there are subtleties like where to put your lava lamp and which room offers the best lighting for that Elvis picture you inherited from your Uncle Albert. Those are details you want to get right because they add to the ambiance and make you feel good. But here’s something else you want to get right: staying safe.
You might remember that we recently moved at Bowen EHS. Our new space is bright and clean and offers lots of storage. We’re settling in, and that feels oh so good. We’d been in our old location for a while, and we knew all its quirks. We’re still learning the ins and outs of our new digs. Within days of moving, one employee injured her head by raising her head under an overhead cabinet. Ouch! Blood, ice, and an accident report followed. In considering this incident, we realized we needed to give our employees a heads-up (literally) about the potential hazards in the new office.
In case you, too, are involved in an office move, we’ve come up with some safety and health questions you might consider.
- Are your employees accustomed to using the stairs or elevator? Will they know what to do if they get stuck in the elevator? What happens if someone falls down a flight of stairs?
- Are exits clearly marked?
- Has an evacuation plan been developed with a means for head counting?
- Is there a designated assembly area?
- Is there a plan for individuals working late or unusual hours?
- Are materials stored in a way to avoid lifting hazards?
- Is seating suitable to avoid ergonomic stress or tipping hazards (rolling seating)?
- Is lighting adequate for the needed tasks?
- Are working surfaces suitable to avoid ergonomic stressors?
- Are all the electrical connections appropriate?
- Are ground fault circuit interrupters used in kitchen areas?
- Is there an emergency kit? How about a fire extinguisher?
- Are there open windows and falling hazards?
Even in an office environment that most would consider nonhazardous, there are ways to get hurt. Ask your employees or coworkers what potential situations they feel could be harmful. Use our questions as a starter kit, and create your own so that your workplace can be as safe and predictable as all who work there need it to be.
As Jack Nicholson knows, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It can also make you a little crazy, but that’s a post for another day. At Bowen EHS, we believe the learning experience is meant to be enjoyed. How does Bowen make learning fun?
We thought you’d never ask!
Flash cards are fine and dandy when you’re trying to memorize something, but they’re a bit of a yawner, aren’t they? We’ve come up with another way to help you study, and it’s so much fun you might even forget you’re learning something in the process. Intrigued yet? How does playing online games in the Bowen EHS® Member Center sound? They’re another tool to help you in preparing for your ASP, CSP, or CIH exam, and anyone with access to Premium Membership can play them. Game on!
Test your knowledge with four different games:
Do you remember this classic game? Long before Angry Birds or Instagram, this was a way to pass the hours traveling to Grandma’s house. Now you can combine studying with play using your EH&S vocabulary. Pick a letter, enter it, and see if you can figure out the word before you are hung. Trying the vowels first can give you a head start.
If Hangman doesn’t quite sound appealing to you, why not try to solve a Bowen EHS crossword puzzle? 6 Across might be this: the study of human interactions with the work environment. Do you know the answer?
Don’t fret if you can’t finish the puzzle in one sitting. Go throw a Frisbee for a few minutes, or dream about how certification is going to make you feel more powerful than Batman, and 10 Down will be there waiting for you when you return.
Cryptex? Say what? Dan Brown first coined the term in his novel The Da Vinci Code. Basically, it’s a puzzle involving secret messages. Put your spy hat on, read the clue, and find the correct word hidden in the Cryptex diagram. You might surprise yourself with success here.
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire
Who wants to be a millionaire? Pick me! You might not walk away with a million bucks after rocking out this game based on the TV show, but it’s awesome preparation for certification, and best yet, it’s great fun. You can answer EH&S questions for your chance to win a hypothetical million dollars. Questions get harder as you get further into the game, but the prize money makes it worth it. Question 1 is worth $100, whereas Question 15 is worth $150,000. Get the first question wrong and you have to start all over. Stumped by a particular question? No worries. Get help with the 50/50 option that takes away half the wrong answers, call your genius “virtual” friend, or survey the audience.
If only passing the CIH or CSP exam could win you a million dollars!
We understand that preparing for your certification exam can be stressful and sometimes downright boring. Our goal is to find fun, innovative ways to help you achieve exam success. We are committed to helping you navigate every avenue that points you in the direction of passing your certification. You might as well enjoy yourself along the route.
Stay tuned for more to come. Happy playing, everyone!
Join us for the second webinar in our two-part series discussing the changes made to the CSP Exam Blueprint. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals announced October 31st as the release date of the new CSP9 Exam Blueprint. Part one provided an overview of the blueprint changes. Part two will go into more detail about the new subjects and domains found on the updated blueprint. We will cover Ethics, Research Methodology, Data Retention, Business Continuity/Contingency Plans, Leading/Lagging Performance Indicators, Life Safety, Transportation of Hazardous Materials, Epidemiology, and discuss the domains to concentrate on.
This webinar is perfect for those who started preparing for the CSP exam, but will not purchase or sit for the exam until October 31st or later.