Here are some lab policy breaches that have occurred in a research lab:
- taking the backup supply of a critical reagent without reporting to supply personnel
- taking a careless approach to using radioactivity (or hazardous materials, including infectious materials)
- improperly disposing of hazardous materials (e.g., dumping ethidium bromide solutions in sink)
- wearing personal protective gloves, scrubs, or lab coat in the eating areas or bathrooms
- using common equipment without adhering to sign-up procedures and not cleaning equipment or area when complete
These are just a few examples of behaviors that can result in lab conflicts. As an example of a possible resolution, when backup supplies of reagents are disappearing, it may become necessary to institute a system in which lab members do not have access to backup supplies, but have to tell a lab manager when they are running low on a reagent so that the lab manager can dispense from the backup and reorder.
This assignment has two deliverables: Safety and Compliance Paper and Discussion Planner
A brief description (and history) of this assignment. We used to have students write a memo describing a lab conflict and propose a resolution to the conflict. It was decided this may not reflect how conflicts are resolved in a team environment and looked at how business management would approach it. This is where the Discussion Planner was added. A memo is a type of one-way communication. A lab meeting with discussion is a two-way (or more, depending on number of team members involved). The Discussion Planner is set to provide guidance during the meeting, much like an agenda would provide an outline for a meeting. The creating team for this project tried to keep it straight forward and indicate where you are to provide information (a series of questions).
So, why the two parts to the assignment? Part A–a short paper for you to describe how the lab safety non-compliant behavior or situation (policy breech) is harmful or of concern to the safety of the workplace. Part B–Discussion Planner-how the non-compliant situation would be discussed at a meeting.
Safety and Compliance Paper
You will prepare a Short Paper (A) and complete the Discussion Planner (B) document in response to a breach of lab policy regarding safety. Example breaches are provided or you may select your scenario based on readings or from experience.
Post in your completed Paper and Discussion Planner in the corresponding assignment folder by the due date.
Part A: In a 2-3 page double-spaced paper:
- Select one of the situations listed above for lab policy breeches.
- Identify the relevant areas of safety and the appropriate regulatory agencies that would apply to the working environment.
- Identify the ways in which this lab does not comply with sound laboratory practices and safety regulations, and what steps would be necessary to bring the lab into compliance.
- Describe your strategy to communicate with all laboratory personnel about any instances of noncompliance and the multi-pronged approach you will take to minimize the recurrence of such noncompliance
Part B: Discussion Planner about Non-compliant Behavior
Now that you have examined the safety regulations, you have working knowledge of the importance of compliance in the workplace. Use the background information from Part (A) to help you to complete the Discussion Planner form (see attachment) for the non-compliant behavior that was demonstrated by laboratory personnel.