Hector M. Figueroa works as an industrial hygienist, which he simplifies to “controlling workplace hazards.”
Student Profile: Hector M. Figueroa, Professional Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health, OSHA Training Institute
His workplace is in the Imperial Valley, doing a job he enjoys because “I learn something new every day.”
With the Imperial Irrigation District, Figueroa keeps a sharp eye out for dangerous situations that could threaten his co-workers’ health and safety.
“I’m strictly in-house, looking out for our 1,400 employees,” he said. “That’s our main goal, to make sure we’re in full compliance with OSHA’s workplace standards.”
Figueroa grew up in Calexico, then went to Imperial Valley College before transferring to San Diego State, where he earned a degree in environmental health science. He then earned a master of management degree from the University of Phoenix.
After some 10 years in San Diego, he decided in 2007 to return home to raise his family. Before returning, he earned his Professional Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health from UC San Diego Extension.
“Until I got the formal training, I didn’t fully realize that every one of the OSHA regulations exist for a reason,” he said. “All those regulations are written in blood. They are there because something bad happened to someone. That really got to me.”
He still finds resistance from a few fellow workers.
“Some of the old-timers don’t like to comply,” he said. “Most get it, but with some, one has to be a little more persistent.”