Philip Goff, Fort Belvoir Industrial Hygienist

Meet your Garrison Industrial Hygienist

Fort Belvoir’s Safety Office has two specialists to detect and remove mold in homes and offices. We spoke recently to Philip Goff, who takes great pride in helping people maintain a healthy environment.

Q: How did you discover Industrial Hygiene as a career?
The occupation found me more than anything. As a college senior, I was told about this profession. And I went into it and just fell in love with it. So, I took additional schooling after college to learn more of the ropes about industrial hygiene and environmental health, and have enjoyed it ever since.

Q: What do you find most enjoyable about Industrial Hygiene?
Helping people is really what it boils down to; people have concerns, and they want answers and the education that I've been given with the experiences that I've had allow me to resolve the issue. It really boils down to recognizing, evaluating and recommending procedures to control exposures, and helping people stay healthy and free from illness and disease. I enjoy helping people.

Q: Does this involve a lot of site work?
A: Yes, we get the opportunity to find out what the source of a problem might be, to look at it and figure out the root cause of a potential problem. I love that the job involves getting to know my customers and helping them.

Q: Why is your moisture detection equipment important?
A: If there's a suspected leak, we can use our equipment to measure, assess and evaluate the different areas in a room that aren't growing anything to the to the visible eye. If the leak has migrated, we get rid of all the wet material to prevent mold from growing. Once replaced with new, dry material, we'll reevaluate the space to make sure the work was done thoroughly and completely, in order to prevent any sort of health problems for the people that are living or working in that space.

Q: What can readers do to help prevent mold in the first place?
A: It’s crucial to make sure you have good air circulation in bathrooms and kitchens, making sure exhaust fans are operating properly and used when people are taking showers and baths to evacuate as much humidity as possible. Condensation is a sign of high humidity.

Q: What’s the best action to handle spills?
If there is a water spill clean it up right away. If it's big enough, report it to maintenance and have them bring floor dryers, otherwise within a couple of days mold is going to start to grow. Getting that cleaned up and dried out as soon as possible is really important. After mold has been discovered, do not offer the same environment after removal.

Paul Lara, Public Affairs Office