Hi, I’m Nina Bengfort. I’m 23 years old, and I grew up in a small town called Gescher, not far from Münster. I’ve been living in Leverkusen since the middle of last year, where I completed a three-month internship in workplace safety at the Supply Center’s Solids Packaging facility. Following my internship, I had the opportunity to write my bachelor’s thesis at Bayer and I am now working as a student trainee. In this blog post, I’d like to give you a glimpse into the field of occupational health and safety and tell you about how I came to Bayer.
“They’ll never hire me…”
I was searching for an internship on various job portals, and the occupational safety position at Bayer caught my eye. Since I was studying Quality, Environment, Safety, and Hygiene at the Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences, I thought the internship would be a good fit. But I didn’t think I stood a chance at a multinational company like Bayer that receives so many applications. The internship period posted online also didn’t line up with the time that I had set aside for my internship. Nevertheless, I applied. And it worked out – even in the time-frame that I proposed.
What does a typical day in Occupational Health and Safety look like?
Supporting the Occupational Health and Savety team was an interesting part of my day right from the start. The department is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. This is where potential dangers are assessed, ranked, eliminated, and minimized. Members of the department write operating instructions and organize training sessions. They formulate and improve emergency management plans, and they help to integrate these plans within the company. Every three months they prepare and lead a meeting on occupational safety. The department is also responsible for coordinating Bayer Safety Day at the Supply Center, which aims to raise employee awareness about workplace safety. So there was a lot to do. For me, the greatest challenge was presenting and training an audience of one hundred people on some operating instructions. I was extremely nervous, but everything went really well.
A typical path at Bayer
Since my bachelor’s thesis was the next step towards my degree, I was relieved and elated when Bayer offered me the opportunity to write it at the company. At Bayer, it’s typical for students to write a final thesis or research paper immediately after completing their internship. I chose to write about ergonomic machine workstation design in my thesis, and I explored how to set up efficient workstations.
Bayer: the great unknown
Before beginning my internship, I envisioned Bayer as something like a huge, impenetrable fortress, with everyone inside rushing about, doing their jobs precisely and meticulously. I couldn’t imagine ever having the chance to make a contribution. But after moving to Leverkusen and experiencing the company first-hand, I could tell right away that everyone here is completely normal ;-)! The team culture is open, casual, and friendly, and everyone is accepted as an equal member of the team, whether you’re an intern or longtime employee.
I highly recommend an internship here to anyone studying workplace safety, quality management, health economics, or any related fields. I learned so much during my internship, both professionally and personally. I would advise all interns to make the most of their time here by networking and by taking the initiative to assume new responsibilities. I attended many events, participated in regular meet-ups with Bayer interns, and even ran in a Business Run that was coordinated by Bayer. I was able to make many contacts, both during and after work, and now I’m looking forward to continuing this success story.
This post is also available in: German