Klint Cardinal’s Story
For BCSP Scholarship Recipient, Safety is Personal Commitment
Klint Cardinal always knew he wanted to help people live healthy lives. “Even as a kid when I wanted to be a doctor, it was to help people,” he says. Cardinal intended to pursue a career as a surgeon when he enrolled at Utah State University, but a workplace incident changed his life.
“After I trimmed the bones off the edges, I went to adjust a plate on the saw that determines how thick the steaks are cut,” Cardinal says. “This plate caught on a rusty guiderail and slammed my left hand down into the blade. I amputated my left thumb, cut through all of the first tarsal bones on all four fingers, and almost lost every finger on my left hand.””I had been working at the only grocery store in my hometown for about three years, ever since I was legally able to work,” Cardinal recalls. “Shortly after I turned eighteen there was an opening in the meat department, and wanting to avoid the Southern Nevada heat, I couldn’t have been more excited to fill it.” About two weeks into the position, spent primarily cleaning and maintaining the department, he was asked to help out cutting a rack of ribeye with one of the saws. “I had never been trained to use this saw, I only knew how to take it apart and clean it out.”
Cardinal was airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas, where doctors were able to reattach his thumb, though with two of his knuckles now fused he found himself no longer capable of pursuing his dream of becoming a surgeon.
Unsure of his future and struggling to stay motivated, Cardinal started to reach out to members of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, for support. “That was the best decision I have ever made, because that’s where I met John Flores, the senior lecturer and CIH who taught about half of my industrial hygiene program.”
Industrial Hygiene became a new passion for Cardinal. “It was a tangible, right here, right now way to help people,” he explains. “I have the opportunity to prevent people from even having to go see a doctor later in their life.”
“Every day, I know that changing my major to join the industrial hygiene program here at Utah State was the right decision for me,” wrote Cardinal in his scholarship application. “I plan on sitting for the CSP and the CIH and already have hundreds of hours of professional trainings. I want to make sure that people retire healthy, that they don’t lose hearing so they can hear their grandkids. I want to make sure that something I do in my career changes a life for the better. That is why I chose to join the industrial hygiene program at USU, because I want to help people.”