“We must not think of OSHA as ‘the enforcer’ here to levy hefty fines when we are caught doing things wrong. OSHA is a resource, one that can help in big ways,” says Vince McLeod in this month’s cover story. For labs wishing to go above and beyond existing workplace safety standards, the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program’s benefits include improved employee morale, reduced turnover and absenteeism, greater pride of place, and, most importantly, better health and safety protection for your laboratory staff.
However, even with the very best workplace and employee safety standards in place, staff compliance can remain a challenge. Someone in your lab forgets to don their safety glasses; someone else is wearing sandals or chewing gum; and another has failed to put on their latex gloves. What’s a manager to do? For senior lab manager, Sandy Walker, the answer is chocolate. Turn to page 26 to learn about a sweet incentive plan which, along with a few other tricks, delivered more than 98 percent compliance on all PPE and 100 percent compliance on wearing safety glasses.
Wikileaks in the lab? Maybe.
When it comes to protecting intellectual property, laboratories are no different than other businesses or institutions. In fact, lab employees often have greater access to intellectual property than other employees. In this month’s article, “Keeping Secrets,” (page 60) John Borchardt reminds managers “to be sure their staff members understand what the confidentiality agreement legally binds them to do. Even experienced employees inadvertently and sometimes knowingly share or even sell the confidential intellectual property of their employer.”
In the same vein of protecting intellectual property—in this case authenticity—author Robert Flinton, in his article, “Proving Ownership,” (page 64) explains how an electronic “sign and witness” process can ensure indisputable authenticity and long-term legal defensibility throughout the chain of custody while saving hundreds of man-hours and costs each year.
In last month’s Lab Safety article, “Use it or Lose It,” John Borchardt shared a wealth of information on managing, disposing of and reusing laboratory chemicals. He said that the first step in recycling or disposing of chemicals is to know what you have by maintaining an inventory of all the chemicals in your lab. In this month’s Lab Safety feature, Vince McLeod focuses squarely on chemical management planning. To get you started down the right path to safe laboratory operation, he identifies three important first steps: collecting MSDSs and references; developing an inventory system; and instituting a labelling program. Turn to page 44 to learn more.
Lastly, I hope you’re in the market for a biological safety cabinet because this month’s issue has everything you need to know before making that purchase. If you’re curious about the evolution of BSCs—from 1900 to the present—turn to page 42. For a snapshot of trends in BSC design, turn to Angelo DePalma’s Product Focus article on page 50. And if you want to know the BSC buying practices of your peers, turn to our Survey Says piece on page 48.
When it comes to all other lab equipment purchases, it’s a good idea to start with labmananger. com’s Lab Product Resource Pages (www.labmanager.com/?articles.labProductArticles), where you will find the latest product reviews, purchasing roadmaps, and new product introductions for over 40 of the most used laboratory products.
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