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Matt Segal

Recent Posts

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.”

 

How to handle a “no”

Picture this: You’ve come up with a great idea for a new training program. You’ve crunched the numbers, created the perfect PowerPoint, and delivered a pitch your boss simply can’t turn down.

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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 – 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.

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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 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 Does 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.

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Topics: Why Good Software Matters

Soft Skills for Safety Leadership - 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.

Below, we'll look at four ways good software can add more hours to your day:

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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, 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.

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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