Seattle City (spot)Light: Christian Wong

Senior Safety Specialist Christian Wong has worked at the utility for two years. As part of the Safety, Health and Wellness team, Christian specializes in Industrial Hygiene and Programs. “I assist the administration and help with the standards writing,” Christian explained. “I also help to implement, update and reconfigure our programs processes as well as manage our data migration.”

Born in Canada, Christian grew up in Kent and graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) where he studied Safety and Health Management. “My immediate family lives in Kent; it’s nice to be a few minutes from my parents,” Christian shared. “We just returned from our annual winter trip to Whistler. It’s a fun tradition we have as a family.”

In this week’s (spot)Light, Christian talks about his family, his role and how he got started in the field.

Senior Safety Specialist Christian Wong

“I like to paint and play guitar. I love music; I can’t stop listening to it. You’ll most likely catch me humming and whistling around the halls. In high school, I went to every possible concert I could. I even joined a band. I thought it was so awesome. I was on the tail end of growing up in the grunge area which was a big influence on my life especially living in Seattle. My mom and dad are both music fans. I’d have to say that Fleetwood Mac is the one band we can all listen to together and just rock out.”

“My dad is a contractor; he actually built my house! I used to help my dad on various projects and because I was familiar with the field, I originally studied construction management in college. As part of CWU’s construction program, we helped build houses in Ellensburg. I was on-site one day, and the instructor asked me to climb up a ladder and go onto the roof. There was no other equipment to assist me—no cleats, no tie-offs, no safety precautions. It really irked me because he was risking my safety to complete a job. I complained to the program director who suggested I check out the safety program. I instantly had a passion and affinity for it, so, I enrolled in the program and finished my studies in that field.”

“At the utility, we’re required to follow the safety programs of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many of these rules and regulations require a lot of administrative rule in the process as well as making sure that we’re compliant. A good example of this is our hearing protection program. We’re required to offer annual hearing tests and audiograms to employees who are exposed to a certain decibel level. I coordinate all the program testers and ensure we’re following regulations and are properly notifying our employees.”

“Overall, I like the fact that I can send someone home without them being injured or hurt. To know that our employees can go home and watch TV or lift their kid is amazing to me. And any protection that I can help provide is completely satisfying.  I relate to my dad in that way. He works with the principle ‘If everything is OK with you, then I’m ok.’ It’s something I’ve adopted and applied to my professional life.”