Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) recently doubled as a classroom for a group of West Chester University environmental health students. As part of their occupational safety class coursework, 17 juniors and seniors visited PHL’s warehouse to see how the lessons learned in school are applied to the workplace.
"Over the two-hour session, we reviewed reading and understanding safety data sheets, AED and CPR lifesaving skills, basic first-aid, fire extinguisher inspection and working with chemicals," said PHL’s Bob Gizinski, who led the session. "We also set up a simulated accident scene involving a driver being thrown from an overloaded forklift and spilling corrosive products."
The relationship with PHL and West Chester was established in 2018. The program was put on hold from 2020-21 due to COVID-19.
"The site visit at PHL is one of the highlights of the semester," said Dr. Lorenzo Cena, director
of Environmental Health Programs and Associate Professor in the Department of Health at West Chester. “This is a great opportunity for students to see application of occupational safety, practice doing an accident investigation, and learn about potential workplace hazards. The airport staff has been a great asset to our program. They have been able to answer students’ questions about everyday hazards, how to prevent and respond to accidents, and how to prepare for their careers.”
In addition to the site visit, the relationship with the airport has created other opportunities for West Chester students. "In the past, PHL has hired a few of our students as summer interns where they received great mentoring from the airport safety team," said Cena.