Before going back to school this semester in over eight years, I was happily roasting coffee as a profession. I had been in the trade for two years and while I was happy with my work, I couldn’t help but notice occupational health hazards in the workplace. Last summer an occupational health hazard became apparent the in the coffee roasting field. Investigative reports showed that large scale coffee roasting can cause irreversible lung damage if proper measures aren’t taken. Measures my work refused to do, while others were making those changes with better ventilation. None of these hazards had ever been brought up to me or me or my coworkers. I understand all occupations come with some type of hazard, but when I presented this information to my manager and owners of the company it was meant with severe backlash. What made me leave that job was that I didn’t know how to communicate these occupational health hazards effectively.
I may have left that hazardous occupation, but I constantly think about my previous coworkers and the hazardous they are continuously exposed to. I called one of them the other day to see how things are going. When I asked if they are wearing the recommended masks by NIOSH that I had implemented they simply said they hadn’t since I left. The owners who are required to provide and train simply stopped caring or they cared more about profits. Some of the important things I learned in this class how to communicate more effectively about environmental problems. How to use facts like 97% of climate scientists know climate change is happening and caused by man but more importantly by more people knowing that leads to change in policies and legislation. I know to not sit quietly or idle when an important environmental issue rises.