An Organizational Culture of Safety Is the Best Approach within the Lab

Lab Safety

culture of safety in the lab
In order to achieve employee engagement in lab safety practices, firms should promote an organizational culture of safety.
Image source: Flickr user SurfaceWarriors

When I was working on my MBA, I was required to take a course in Organizational Behavior and Leadership as part of the program. We talked about employee personality traits and how to manage people efficiently. Management wasn’t my primary interest in the program, but I found the principles pretty interesting. One of the key concepts that seemed to consistently come up is that organizational culture is defined by management and has the ability to drive employee compliance regarding organizational policies.

This concept also applies to firms aiming to promote lab safety. By adopting and continually pursuing an organizational culture of safety, firms can help ensure that their employees will be motivated to perform their duties with lab safety in mind. However, such a culture of safety doesn’t develop on its own. Rather, managers need to be intentional about promoting this mindset. If your firm is interested in addressing lab safety, consider these three approaches to help engage your employees:

Support lab safety from the top

One thing I’ve noticed when talking to colleagues is that nothing kills employee morale like hypocrisy from members of management. People don’t want to be told that they have to perform one way while their bosses cruise around with seemingly little guidelines. If a firm wants to ensure successful adoption of a safe laboratory culture, it needs to be upheld by management. That means management should require compliance with organizational standards by all employees. When all levels of an organization have the same requirements and receive top-down training, everyone is on the same page.

Implement a chemical inventory management system

One of the easiest ways to ensure that all employees follow organizational culture is to implement a system that sets clear standards and practices for the entire firm. A digital chemical inventory management system is a practical approach to improving lab safety, and can help your lab track chemicals from receipt to disposal. This way all employees will know where hazardous chemicals are stored and will have real-time information about how much is available. Your digital chemical inventory management system will be automatically updated with accurate SDSs so employees and emergency response personnel will always have quick access to handling documentation.

Comply with regulatory bodies

If a firm starts out fudging the rules with regulatory compliance, it will always be difficult to enforce compliance. Since different countries and localities have different regulatory requirements for handling hazardous chemicals, it can be tough to stay on top of reporting. A digital chemical inventory management system can automate regulatory reporting for your firm so that employees don’t have to rely on a manual system to ensure compliance. By linking the current chemical inventory with regulatory requirements, your firm can always stay up to date and compliant with regulatory agencies.

By embracing an organizational culture of safety, your firm can help promote lab safety throughout all levels of the organization. Visit the Accelrys website to learn more about how Accelrys CISPro can provide your firm with a comprehensive digital chemical inventory management system, and help promote lab safety as well as render lab practices more efficient.

2 thoughts on “An Organizational Culture of Safety Is the Best Approach within the Lab

  1. Everyone can become so preoccupied with the work and research that safety becomes an afterthought. People pay scant attention to safety meetings and information will soon regret it when an accident happens. Safety procedures must be standardized and followed by all members of the team.

  2. Utilizing a top-down approach to lab safety is one of the best ways to approach working in this setting. When we set the precedent as leaders, we can ensure that our supplies and our lab notebooks are well organized, safely handled, and appropriately documented. By using our advanced technological resources, we can be sure that our labs and inventories are up to date and safely managed.

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