Innumerable accidents trace their origins to unclear instructions or warnings. Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” points out how different cultures and attitudes to communication can affect the clarity with which we share information. For example, a junior researcher who has a high respect for authority might feel reluctant to tell a more senior researcher that they are making a risky safety mistake, opting instead to hint at danger.
The same goes for identifying training requirements for researchers. Without a clear profile of the kinds of research conducted by each scientist, the institution runs the risk of providing the wrong level of training. On the one hand, they might undertrain a research, leaving them unprepared to work safety with the hazards related to their laboratory and their research. On the other hand, the institution might over-train the research in an attempt to cover all possibilities, but this would likely frustrate the researcher and drive them to tune out communications from EH&S.
Once training requirements have been identified, institutions need an effective way to communicate those requirements to the researchers. Calling researchers is labor intensive, especially if the institutions has thousands of researchers. One might use emails, but if researchers get peppered with emails related to the training of their colleagues but which are not related to their own work, institutions run the risk that scientists will tune out from their emails, leaving a gap in compliance.
One way to solve the requirements challenge is to use software that tracks in detail the work done by each researcher. The BioRAFT platform uses a data type called a “Job Activity’ to build a tailored work and hazard profile for every user in your institution. A researcher might have multiple job activities associated with their profile including “Works with blood-borne pathogens” and “Exposed to BSL-2 materials.” These Job Activities can be used to drive training requirements using computerized training rules, and researchers can be notified automatically via email when they have been assigned new training requirements. In this way, researchers get exactly the training they need, without waste, and EH&S is saved the labor of setting up each researcher’s requirements and communicating them. Furthermore, BioRAFT’s SmartMailer system allows administrators to filter users by job activities, meaning an administrator can filter out groups such as “only users who work with blood-borne pathogens” for a communication, saving time and removing frustration from researchers who are the recipients of mistargeted or general broadcast emails.
Things are moving quickly here at BioRAFT as we prepare for the 61st CSHEMA Annual Conference. BioRAFT has been a regular attendee for years, and we have even presented here in the past. This year we look forward to meeting with old friends, discussing the challenges EH&S professionals face promoting research safety, and showing off how we've improved the BioRAFT platform in the time since last year's conference!
Book a 15-minute meeting with us in advance, and we'll give you one of these great USB chargers which you can use to recharge your phone when you're on the go at a conference.