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Matt Segal

Recent Posts

Signs You Found the Right Software for Chemical Inventory Management

Posted by Matt Segal on May 4, 2020 8:45:00 AM

When you begin the process of searching for chemical inventory management software, it's tough to distinguish between all the different options — many of which may seem similar on the surface. 

You might see several systems that offer similar features, such as container tracking, safety data sheets, and reporting. One thing you’ll see no matter what is vendors claiming their system is “the best”.

The question to answer is: how do you really know that the software you're considering will be the best fit for your organization specifically? Here at BioRAFT, we want you to find the right software for your needs — whether that means working with us or not.

In this article, we'll walk you through some of the indicators that you've found the right software for you, so you can confidently recommend the best solution to your team.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Why Good Software Matters

5 Common Issues to be on the Lookout for During an Internal Chemical Audit

Posted by Matt Segal on Apr 21, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Like an unannounced visit from your in-laws, chemical regulators usually show up when you’re least prepared and often throw your whole operation into a panic.

One of the best ways to be prepared for a chemical regulatory inspection is to perform regular internal audits of your chemical inventory and chemical safety programs. Internal audits can help your team identify gaps in your processes, procedures, and inventory before they get flagged (and possibly fined) by an outside regulator. Internal audits can also uncover hazards that could lead to accidents or injuries. What's more, they can help your organization operate with greater efficiency on a day-to-day basis.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters, Equipment

Working From Home With BioRAFT - Long Term Sustainability

Posted by Matt Segal on Apr 9, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Over the last few weeks, many research organizations have asked staff to work from home to prevent the spread of infection.

This has been a stressful transition for many people. Working from home is not only mentally taxing, it also presents a number of new challenges to actually completing your work (especially if you are in a position like EHS, where much of your work may be tied to physically interacting with research and physical spaces).

On a more positive note, these changes have highlighted opportunities for organizations to adapt the way they work and offer more flexible arrangements over the long haul.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters, Equipment, Biological Safety, Radiation Safety

Working From Home With BioRAFT - Shutting Down and Ramping Up

Posted by Matt Segal on Apr 3, 2020 9:30:00 AM

As the novel coronavirus outbreak grows, many EHS teams are closing down non-essential labs and working from home to reduce the spread of infection. At the same time, these EHS teams are also preparing to support some essential scientists to ramp up research related to COVID-19.

Across the world, BioRAFT is supporting EHS teams as they adjust to these new demands.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters, Equipment, Biological Safety, Radiation Safety

How EHS Supports Revenue Protection

Posted by Matt Segal on Mar 30, 2020 10:16:49 AM

Disclaimer: Sorry, farmers. This article is not about revenue protection as it applies to insurance for crops, but rather it is about revenue protection as a general business operations concept.

Revenue is the lifeblood of a business. Without it, organizations can't cover expenses, generate profits, keep people employed, and grow.

So if the ability to generate revenue is disrupted by an unexpected event — such as losing a key employee, or a hazmat response that shuts down a wing of laboratories — it can jeopardize an organization’s chances to continue operating in the long run.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Why Good Software Matters

Understanding RFID Tags, Barcodes, and QR Codes for Chemical Inventory

Posted by Matt Segal on Mar 16, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Barcodes, QR codes, and RFID tags might seem similar, but they're not actually interchangeable. While all three are tools that can help you tag and track chemical containers, each is designed to work in a different way.

Before you can decide which labeling system is right for your chemical inventory, you'll need to understand the different types of tracking tags, what information they contain, and the strengths and limitations of each one.

We worked with our Manager of Chemical Solutions, Sarina Schwartz-Hinds, to develop this guide so that you can get to know the various labeling systems that are available.

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Topics: Chemical Safety, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters

Soft Skills for Safety – Disagreeing

Posted by Matt Segal on Feb 24, 2020 9:00:00 AM

If you want to succeed as a safety leader, it’s not enough to focus solely on logistics and data management – you have to get good at ‘soft skills’ as well.

Soft skills are attributes like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving that enable you to engage with and motivate your researchers to care about safety (they also help in interactions with colleagues and management!).

Without these skills, even the savviest safety professionals will find themselves fighting a losing battle to get their workforce to carry out safety practices.

To help you hone your craft, we’re writing a series of articles each highlighting a different soft skill. Today’s topic is disagreeing.

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Topics: Improving Soft Skills

Loss Control 101

Posted by Matt Segal on Feb 10, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Unexpected events such as a fire or employee injury can happen at any time.

But what surprises many people is how often these events occur. A claims analysis from The Hartford found that 40% of businesses will incur a property or liability loss within the next 10 years. Thefts, fires, vehicle accidents, injuries, product liability, and reputational harm are among the most common types of insurance claims.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent these kinds of situations from happening in the first place. By implementing proven loss control strategies, research organizations can manage risk, avoid accidents and injuries, and even reduce claims and insurance premiums.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters, Equipment

Understanding BioRAFT - Keeping Up with the Chaos

Posted by Matt Segal on Jan 30, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Peek inside a lab on any given day, and you'll find scientists conducting research into medicine, pharmaceuticals, genetics, physics, geoscience, and engineering (to name only a few). You’ll see researchers handling cells, transferring chemicals, handling animals, and operating lasers.

For safety professionals, this presents a significant challenge. How do you keep a handle on all the people, activities, and hazards – all while preserving your sanity? The sheer volume and pace of data is enough to make your head spin.

Fortunately, there is a tool available that is designed specifically to exist in this fast-paced environment. In this article, we’ll show you how BioRAFT helps manage the chaos that is inherent in research.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Why Good Software Matters

Research and Safety – Chaos and Order

Posted by Matt Segal on Jan 15, 2020 8:45:00 AM

If it feels like your research program is seconds away from spinning out of control, you're not alone. For many institutions, finding a balance between research and safety is a never-ending struggle.

On the one hand, academic research thrives when it’s at the edge of chaos. Unorthodox requests are commonplace, and you often must bend over backwards to accommodate them whenever possible. On the other hand, safety programs rely on rules, structure, and order to mitigate risk and prevent harm.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Why Good Software Matters

What's the Point of Having EHS? Part 2 - People, Finances, and Reputation

Posted by Matt Segal on Dec 16, 2019 9:04:00 AM

In part 1 of this series, we discussed some of the reasons EHS programs exist, and what they’re designed to protect. Universities – particularly those that rely on research programs to attract talent and funding – face a wide range of environmental, health, and safety risks.

Specifically, in part 1, we discussed why EHS can seem like such a burden, and how that sense is often a leading indicator that you may be dangerously disconnected from your EHS team’s efforts.

In many cases, your EHS team may be under-resourced and struggling, creating opportunities for risks to materialize and harm your people, finances, and reputation.

Let’s dive in to how EHS protects your institution from these three specific facets of risk.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters

What's the Point of Having EHS? Part 1 - the Value

Posted by Matt Segal on Dec 9, 2019 9:00:00 AM

The health and safety of your students, staff, visitors, and community is vital to your institution’s success. No matter how good your course offerings, how talented your teaching staff, or how much funding you have, your institution cannot survive without a strong environmental, health, and safety (EHS) program.

EHS helps prevent injuries and illnesses. It strengthens and protects your brand reputation. And it prevents and mitigates costly financial harm to buildings, spaces, and equipment. According to OSHA, every $1 spent on EHS can save your institution $4 to $6.

Investing in EHS people, processes, and systems should be a priority for every institution. That’s especially true for schools that rely on their laboratory research programs to attract top talent and secure funding.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters

The Not-So-Hidden Costs of Losing an EHS Team Member

Posted by Matt Segal on Nov 1, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Turnover is inevitable at any organization.

But it’s especially problematic for EHS departments, where workloads are heavy, skilled professionals are required, and critical information often only resides in the minds of the people leaving.

Employees often walk out the door with valuable knowledge about processes and specific company issues that can’t be replaced. Those left behind are forced to try to pick up the pieces and reassemble the puzzle. Sometimes, the pieces are missing and you may not even know it.

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Topics: Why Good Software Matters

Soft Skills for Safety - Why It's Good to Hear No

Posted by Matt Segal on Oct 15, 2019 9:59:53 AM

If you want to succeed as a safety leader, it’s not enough to focus solely on logistics and data management – you have to get good at “soft skills” as well.

To help you hone your craft, we’re writing a series of articles each highlighting a different soft skill. Today’s topic is getting better at hearing the word “no.”

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Topics: Improving Soft Skills

3 Corners EHS Software Systems Cut to Reduce Costs

Posted by Matt Segal on Oct 2, 2019 9:51:36 AM

Here’s a secret most software vendors won’t tell you: Building a powerful, user-friendly EHS software system is expensive and challenging.

It’s not as simple as just “writing code.” It takes thousands of hours of work and a team of engineers, developers, UX and UI designers, and subject matter experts (and the good ones are in high demand).

Not only that, but there’s also the cost of keeping the software up and running properly through testing, maintenance, security, implementation, support, and new feature development.

That all adds up quickly.

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Topics: Why Good Software Matters

Soft Skills for Safety - Solving Open-ended Problems

Posted by Matt Segal on Sep 16, 2019 2:28:15 PM

To help you hone your craft, we’re writing a series of articles each highlighting a different soft skill. Today’s topic is solving open-ended problems with the four-step process below:

  1. Define your goal
  2. Establish your parameters
  3. Identify your resources
  4. Make an informed decision

The core of this strategy revolves around working backwards to solve an open-ended problem so that you always have a reason for the decisions you’re making.

Let’s dive in.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Improving Soft Skills

Safely Reduce Safety Costs Part 2 – The Best Ways to Save on Safety

Posted by Matt Segal on Sep 9, 2019 8:36:28 AM

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at some of the potential problems and risks of trying to reduce your safety costs.

We saw that cutting costs is a tricky thing to get right, and there are a lot of ways to make mistakes that can cost your institution big time.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. In most safety programs, there are plenty of opportunities to save money without sacrificing safety — if you know where to look.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters

Safely Reduce Safety Costs Part 1 - 3 Dangers of Low Safety Budgets

Posted by Matt Segal on Aug 28, 2019 10:20:56 AM

Institutions are changing how they allocate budget. For many safety programs, that means one thing:

It’s time to sink or swim.

Upper management is increasingly requesting that you demonstrate not only how much value you add to your research program, but also what steps you’re taking to stay efficient.

So what’s changed here? University leaders are realizing that they can no longer simply hike tuition to cover rising costs, and they’re looking for new places for revenue generation. Unfortunately, they often turn their eyes to their research safety programs.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters

Scaling-up Safety Part 2 – 4 Strategies for Sustainable Solutions

Posted by Matt Segal on Aug 14, 2019 2:08:37 PM

Congratulations, your biotech startup (or accelerator) is finally taking off! Perhaps you've hired more researchers, increased your research space, or secured an additional round of funding. 

Now is the best time to start thinking about how your safety and loss control programs will scale as well. Believe us when we say it can be a real nightmare to untangle if you leave it unaddressed for too long.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at some of the challenges you can expect to face as you grow, as well as some signs that you’ve outgrown your safety consultant. 

The question now is: how do you effectively manage safety, keep costs down, and prevent administrative burden from keeping you away from the activities that make you profitable?

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters, Equipment, Biological Safety, Radiation Safety

Scaling-up Safety Part 1 - Have you Outgrown your Safety Consultants?

Posted by Matt Segal on Jul 22, 2019 11:00:00 AM

When you're first starting out, safety consultants are often a great solution to manage risk and compliance while still operating on lean margins. 

Offloading these tasks can allow you to focus your resources on progressing research and securing funding without sacrificing safety. 

But for many biotech companies, there comes a point where entirely outsourcing safety no longer makes sense. The big question: when does this point occur? In this article, we’ll provide you with some guiding thoughts to help you find an answer. In Part 2, we discuss sustainable solutions for scaling.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters, Equipment, Biological Safety, Radiation Safety

Beyond Training: The Profile of a Modern Training Program

Posted by Matt Segal on Jul 15, 2019 1:49:18 PM

Last year alone, organizations in the U.S. invested $87.6 billion in employee training. The majority of those funds were devoted to authoring and delivering training content. 

Yet, that’s just one aspect of an effective training program. 

In the same way that a doctor would (or at least, should) never prescribe you medication without a thorough understanding of your personal history and symptoms, an effective training program requires much more than blindly assigning coursework. A modern training program should help you understand the challenges your organization faces and the solutions available to meet them.

So what does a modern training program look like, and how do you achieve it? Let’s take a closer look. 

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Topics: Training, Why Good Software Matters

5 Common Questions From Chemical Regulators (and How to Address Them)

Posted by Matt Segal on Jun 17, 2019 8:45:00 AM

Few things make your heart race and your palms sweat quite like the arrival of a regulator at your organization. What's even more nerve-wracking is that it usually happens when you're least expecting it.

While you don’t necessarily know when your next audit will be or what questions a regulator will ask, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re prepared.

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Topics: Chemical Safety, Training, Inspections, Why Good Software Matters

Software as a Service (SaaS): How Software has Improved

Posted by Matt Segal on May 28, 2019 8:15:00 AM

When it comes to enterprise software, hosted solutions have become one of the most popular choices. In fact, a whopping 94% of organizations use at least one hosted application and 73% of organizations say nearly all of their apps will be hosted by 2020.

Although you probably already use at least one hosted solution, you may not know it by that name. Or, you may have heard of hosted solutions before, but you’re wondering what exactly they are and why they’re so popular.

Whether you’re in the market for new software and want to understand the importance of digitizing EHS, or just want to learn more about the solutions that are available, BioRAFT is here to help. We’ve put together this guide to give you a brief overview of what hosted solutions are, and the advantages they offer to you and your organization.

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Topics: Why Good Software Matters

What Is a Single Source of Truth (SSoT), and Why Do You Need One?

Posted by Matt Segal on May 16, 2019 1:55:08 PM

**Disclaimer: Sorry, tech enthusiasts — this article focuses on the general concept of the SSOT, and not the definition related to Information Architecture.

If you’re like most research organizations, your laboratory data is probably scattered across a number of binders, spreadsheets, databases, and email correspondences.

Training records are stored in one place, directory information in a different place, equipment certifications in another, audits in yet another, and so on. What's more, you probably have several different systems within each of these categories, and for each building or lab space.

Often, the same piece of information is stored in more than one location. When that information changes, it must be manually updated across all these different locations. As we all know, this is a classic recipe to make a lot of errors, to make a lot of work, or (worse yet) both.

Of course, that doesn't always happen — so you end up with multiple conflicting versions of the same information and no way to know which is true and accurate. When you're working through the challenging task of solving open-ended problems, you need all the help and information you can get.

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Topics: Why Good Software Matters

Soft Skills for Safety - Listening

Posted by Matt Segal on May 6, 2019 1:39:26 PM

If you want to succeed as a safety leader, it’s not enough to focus solely on logistics and data management — you have to get good at ‘soft skills’ as well.

Soft skills are attributes like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving that enable you to engage with and motivate your researchers to care about safety (they also help in interactions with colleagues and management!).

Without these skills, even the most savvy safety professionals will find themselves fighting a losing battle to get their workforce to carry out safety practices.

To help you hone your craft, we’re writing a series of articles each highlighting a different soft skill. Today’s topic is listening.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Improving Soft Skills

6 Ways to ID a Quality Chemical Inventory Database

Posted by Matt Segal on May 6, 2019 1:38:01 PM

A robust chemical database forms the foundation of a good chemical inventory system. It acts as both the skeleton and the brain, providing structure and information critical to higher-order tasks like reporting.

In order to get the most out of your chemical inventory software, you'll need to look for a system powered by a quality chemical database. In this article, we’ll share some important features of a good chemical database you can be on the lookout for as you try to determine if a chemical inventory system is the right fit for you.

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Topics: Chemical Safety, Why Good Software Matters

How Good Software Can Add Hours to Your Day

Posted by Matt Segal on May 6, 2019 1:36:53 PM

Entering data, correcting errors, and creating reports can be an administrative nightmare. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Good software simplifies many of the manual, time-consuming tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis — freeing you up to focus on more valuable activities. For example, BioRAFT has been shown to save organizations over 1,200 hours on inspections alone.

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Topics: Why Good Software Matters

Planning your next Software Implementation for Success

Posted by Matt Segal on May 6, 2019 1:34:08 PM

No one starts a project expecting to fail. Or... do they?

Three quarters of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects may be doomed from the start, according to a study published by software development firm Geneca.

While it’s true that large-scale software implementations require a significant investment of time and resources, and there are plenty of opportunities for setbacks, there’s no reason your next software implementation shouldn’t be an unequivocal success.

After guiding our customers through well over 100 successful software implementations, we’ve identified seven factors that can make — or break — a project.

Keep the following questions in mind when discussing implementation with potential vendors, and you’ll stop yourself from becoming just another bad statistic.

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Topics: Why Good Software Matters

4 Signs that You Need a Better Chemical Inventory System

Posted by Matt Segal on Feb 27, 2019 10:13:00 AM

When you’re reviewing different chemical inventory systems, you need to be able to spot the bad ones quickly.

Not knowing which red flags signal potential problems can lead to a lot of wasted time, money, and energy. Much like buying a car, if you're not careful, you could end up with a lemon.

To help you weed out the wrong system (and to make sure you end up with a good one), here are four must-check warning signs to look for when you're purchasing chemical inventory software.

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Topics: Chemical Safety, Why Good Software Matters

The Advantages of a Good Chemical Inventory System

Posted by Matt Segal on Feb 20, 2019 11:18:04 AM

Maintaining an accurate chemical inventory is a never-ending job, and one with little margin for error – any disagreement or inconsistency could lead to major problems for health, safety, and sustainability.

That’s why a chemical inventory system is a must for any organization looking to take control of their chemical inventory.

A good chemical inventory system offers a number of advantages that will help you simplify chemical ordering, storage, use, and reporting while reducing the potential for human error. While there may be different ways of reaching these effects, if your system isn’t hitting these notes, it should be a sign that something isn’t working right.

Here are three major advantages of a good chemical inventory system:

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Chemical Safety, Why Good Software Matters

Neglecting Lab Safety & Training: A Risk Not Worth Taking

Posted by Matt Segal on Jan 24, 2019 10:40:03 AM

In science, some risks are worth the rewards — like the risk of trying a bold, new approach to a problem. These risks can lead to great discoveries and improve the lives of those around us.

Other risks are not worth taking — like the risk of neglecting safety and, specifically, the risk of neglecting proper priorities, practices, and training.

Ignoring these basic principles can have serious consequences for your researchers and your organization as a whole. But fixing them is no simple task.

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Topics: Why Safety Matters, Training, Inspections

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