Problem: Laboratories are filled with hazardous chemicals, biological materials, animals, and equipment. It’s often the responsibility of lab managers to make sure everyone in their lab completes the various safety training, inventory, and individual registration requirements. Managers must also make sure the lab as a whole complies with regulatory agency and internal rules relating to the equipment they use, lab-wide registrations of their research projects and activities, and the proper maintenance of their lab spaces. Yet, few labs come close to managing a comprehensive program. In fact, many researchers do not even receive all of the required safety training. Maintaining the status of safety and compliance is next to impossible using traditional methods such as spreadsheets and binders. Today’s laboratories need a new approach and better tools to adequately and cost-effectively manage lab safety and compliance to prevent fines and avoid errors, accidents, and even death.
Solution: Lab safety research management systems offer a solution to manage the complexities of safety and compliance. These software solutions track all of the compliance information required on both lab members individually and the lab as a whole, and manage the crossreferences. They enable lab safety managers, for example, to know which equipment has been certified, what equipment is due for testing/calibration and when, which people are certified on each piece of equipment, who needs training and when, and more – all with a click of a button. While there are numerous individual systems that track individual pieces of the equation, the answer lies in research management systems’ ability to interconnect information into a cohesive, researchable, and reportable database.
Several commercial solutions are available for managing various aspects of this problem, including from BioRAFT, which provides a unified management and reporting system. Lab safety research management systems replace paper-based tracking systems and multiple individual applications with an integrated suite of modules that track and manage compliance for biosafety, hazardous chemicals, radiation use, and more. These modules eliminate the silos of data that lead to administrative nightmares, fines for non-compliance, and accidents, and cost-effectively increase performance by allowing scientists and other lab workers to concentrate on their work rather than on managing their compliance status.
BioRAFT’s unified lab safety research management and reporting system
Systems such as these accommodate the interrelationships between the labs the scientists work in, the hazards they are exposed to, and each scientist’s specific activities in order to set requirements. They enable lab managers to track by multiple criteria, including lab-wide requirements, individual requirements, equipmentspecific requirements, chemical or pathogen risk-level requirements, etc. PI’s and lab managers can see and modify, on a restricted level, their labwide and scientist-specific activities that drive requirements.
Lab safety research management systems also issue auto-reminders to scientists about required training and forms they must complete. This not only removes a time-consuming manual task from the to-do list of lab managers, it raises compliance levels. A web-based interface simplifies and streamlines the process of forms completion and submission. The systems also generate comprehensive reports.
Lab safety research management systems enable laboratories to become safer and to spend less time managing the processes surrounding compliance. Most importantly, they enable a laboratory’s scientists to focus on their research, and to do so more safely.