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LaboratorySafety&Security:

OrganizationalandCulturalFactors
GainofFunctionResearch:TheSecondSymposium
NationalAcademiesofSciences
March11,2016
RuthanneHuising
AssociateProfessorOrganizationalBehavior
DesautelsFacultyofManagement
McGillUniversity

Behavior&DecisionMaking
Mediatedbysocialorganization
Formalsocialstructures(e.g.family,organization)
Roles,hierarchy,routines,authority

Emergentsystemsofmeaning(culture)
Norms,values,assumptions

Culture
Boththe
problem:laxculture,aninsufficientculture
and
solution:buildacultureofsafety,changethe
culture

Understoodasamanagerialtool
Silbey,S.S.(2009).TamingPrometheus:Talkaboutsafetyandculture.AnnualReviewofSociology,341369.

Cultureis:
Asystemofnormsandvaluesthatdelineatethe
appropriatewayto think,talk,act,andfeel.
Notanindividuallevelcharacteristic.
Observedin:
Values:statedvalues,priorities,andexpected
behavior
Artifacts:symbols,dress,rituals,routines,
language,stories

Artifacts (visible): objects,


symbols, physical setting,
language, stories, rituals.

Values (visible): stated &


promoted values, priorities,
and norms.

Assumptions (invisible):
fundamental perspectives
of humans and interaction

Objects: Are researchers


wearing lab coats?
Rituals: does the PI
participate in inspections?
Stories: about lab closures
for non-compliance?
Stated Values:: Does the
PI talk about safety?
Priority: Is safety
performance included in
the tenure process?
Do journals require a
discussion of safety
practices?
Assumptions (invisible):
about human relations 6

Cultureis:
Transmittedthroughsocializationprocesses
Beginningwithgraduatetraining,researchersare
observingandlearninghowsuccessfulmembersof
theirfieldthink,talk,andact.
Howdoesacompetentmemberofthecommunity
behave?
Isattentiontosafety,security,andriskpartofbeinga
respectedresearcher?

Cultureas:

Designed
Attemptstoengineera
culture
Topdown,centralized,
Slow,expensiveendeavor
Oftenignoresdifferences
ininterestsandresources

Cultureas:

Emergent
Multiple,heterogeneous
cultures
Changeoccursin
responsetoshocks
Newvaluesandnorms
emerge
Slow,butself
reproducing

Culture&theProfessional
AdministrativeSide:
AcademicSide:
Bureaucracy Bureaucraticlogic
Professionallogics
Collegialgovernance
Autonomy
Decentralizeddm
Verbalagreements/trust
Fluxinresources,
members,activities
Relationshipsof
dependence

Unityofcommand
Formalauthority
Centralizeddm
Stable,definedroles,
relationships,rules

Forexample,Collins2001,Evans2010,Evans2014,Hackett2005,Jha &Welch2010,KnorrCetina 1981,


Krige 2001,Lynch1985,OwenSmith2001,Shapin 1994

TheProfessionalBureaucracy
Implicationsforsafetyandsecurity
Responsibilityforlegalandadminrequirements?
Authoritytoenforcerequirements?
Facilitatingcompliance?

Implicationsforculturechange
Whichculture?
Sourcesofchange?

Compliance(notBL3orBL4labs)
Researchers:
Experiencecompliancerequestsasintrusionsandimpediments
totheirwork(Evans2014,Gray&Silbey 2014,SmithDoerr &Vardi 2015,Silbey &
Ewick 2003)

Communicatesafetyasperipheraltoresearchworkand
delegatetostudents(Huising&Silbey 2013)
Incorporatesafetyfeaturesintotheirpracticeswhentheyalign
witheffortstocontrolofphysicalmatter(Bruns 2009,Sims2005)

Mostviolationsareminor(housekeeping).Asmallnumber
oflabsaccountforthemajorityofviolations(Silbey,2016)

ImportanceofTechnoLegalExperts
OrganizationsdependonEHSstaff(i.e.BiosafetyOfficers)
toensurecompliance
Bufferresearchersfromrecordkeeping,inspections,corrections
andmaintaincompliance (Huising&Silbey 2011, Stephens, Atkinson,&
Glasner 2011)

Negotiateincreaseddailycompliancebyworkinginlaboratories,
generatingfamiliarity,trust,andrelations(Huising2015)
Abletoanticipateproblemsandidentifyemergingdangers

Drawonrequirementsandregulationstoincreaseresources
andauthorityinrelationtofaculty
Bootsonthegroundchronicallyunderfunded

TwoImplications
Culturechangetocomefromwithinthescientificdisciplineorsub
discipline

Fundamentalchangestowhatitmeanstobeacompetentresearcher
Internalizeresponsibilityforsafetyandsecurity
Aglobalresponseandreachesbeyondinstitutionalboundaries
Slowbuteffective,selfreproducing

SupportforBSOcommunityofpracticeandprofession
Practically,inlaboratories,howissafetyandsecurityproducedonan
ongoingbasis?
IncollaborationwithBSOsandPIs,designstudiesthataddress
compliancegaps
Sharefindingsamongpractitionersanddeveloptoolsandmodels

ResponsibilityMovement
Researchersacknowledgeobligationtosociety
Involvesdivertingresourcesfromfocalscienceto
studyingsafetyofprocesses,materials,andproducts

GreenChemistry(Lynch2015,Woodhouse&Breyman 2005)
Nanotechnology(Kelty 2009,McCarthy&Kelty 2010)
SyntheticBiology:http://igem.org/Safety
DIYBiology:Codesofconduct

Extentandeffectoftheseeffortsareunclear

VisionLeadership

http://discover.umn.edu/news/visionleadership/uanddowchemicalteamlabsafety
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DIYBio CodeofEthicsfrom
European Congress

Transparency:Emphasizetransparencyandthesharingofideas,knowledge,dataand
results.
Safety:Adoptsafepractices.
OpenAccess:Promotecitizenscienceanddecentralizedaccesstobiotechnology.
Education:Helpeducatethepublicaboutbiotechnology,itsbenefitsandimplications.
Modesty:Knowyoudontknoweverything.
Community:Carefullylistentoanyconcernsandquestionsandrespondhonestly.
PeacefulPurposes:Biotechnologymustonlybeusedforpeacefulpurposes.
Respect:Respecthumansandalllivingsystems.
Responsibility:Recognizethecomplexityanddynamicsoflivingsystemsandour
responsibilitytowardsthem.
Accountability:Remainaccountableforyouractionsandforupholdingthiscode.
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Conclusions
Culturechangeshouldcomefromthescientific
professions
Morelikelytoproducelongterm,globalchanges

FocusonroleofBSOsinproducingsafetyandsecurity
inlaboratories
Requireresourcesandsupport

Continuedresearchofdailydecisionsandpracticesin
laboratories
MissingBL3andBL4laboratories
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ThankYou
ruthanne.huising@mcgill.ca

UC Center for Laboratory Safety


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