Do It Yourself Lab Compliance Management System: No More Pen and Paper

Does the following sound familiar? You are dealing with safety in a knee jerk fashion, putting out fires as they come, and using pen and paper to complete a lab audit before ultimately compiling reports for 3-4 weeks.

How much time are you spending on auditing just one lab–let alone a whole campus? Are you aware of new regulations when they come out and the potential costs of non-compliance? If a government regulator walked on site today, would you be ready for them.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforce strict laws enacted to protect workers, the public, and the environment. For employers that fail to meet OSHA and EPA requirements, non-compliance comes with a hefty price. The financial, reputational, and operational risks of OSHA or EPA citations can be severe, and recovering from it all can be extremely difficult.

John Nicklin, the Managing Director of WasteStrategies, explains, “When it comes to compliance with regulatory agencies, most businesses and institutions find it extremely challenging, if not impossible, to keep up with the ever-growing number of regulations. In some cases, they have to hire an expensive consultant to survey their facility. Or, if they do have a health and safety manager on staff, it can take days for this individual to survey the facility, identify and determine the deficiencies based on his or her research and interpretation of the laws, and then come up with action plans to correct the deficiencies. Neither of these options is ideal.”

Getting Ahead of the Game with DIY Mobile Compliance Solutions

Smart organizations are now seeking ways to get ahead of the game. With new DIY mobile compliance solutions, the cumbersome pen and paper method is the way of the past. “I was surprised how many state of the art facilities were still relying on pen and paper methods for conducting their audits, not even knowing there was an easier, automated way,” shares Michael Bishop, Corporate Accounts Manager.

“The lab manager would walk through each lab after developing a set of questions from the OSHA website, update that in the binder, and then research the fines associated with each. They had no idea there was a tool that could already do this for them. Just like when I do my taxes, I use a tool like Turbo Tax to get the job done.”

Audits are usually conducted by someone from the Environmental Health & Safety, Risk Management, or Public Safety office on a routine basis. All enterprises, from pharmaceutical companies to universities, must have a compliance strategy in motion. Some budgets don’t allow users to create their own software or to hire an onsite consultant, but a huge step up from the traditional pen and paper method is out of the box Mobile Compliance software.

Jim Dawson, president of Heidolph North America, explains, “Many lab safety personnel we speak with are meeting the basic requirements; however, the time it takes to do routine audits has a high operational cost and it is difficult to stay on top of changing.”

When considering a compliance solution, you should ensure it will not only fi t your culture and budget but also be able to provide compliance audits for multiple departments or areas. Some solutions will allow you to complete full inspections for the laboratories, art & theater studios, maintenance shops, as well as general areas, all under one platform. It is not just one department’s focus to be compliant but the focus of the entire organization.

Comparing DIY Compliance Solutions

Ultimately, there are ten key features to consider when comparing DIY compliance solutions:

  • Offers the ability to perform comprehensive audits with little or no compliance expertise needed
  • Possesses the ability to be self-guided and interactive with no assistance needed
  • Offers mobile reliable platform that will work even without internet access but is a secure online host
  • Includes regulatory citations that are updated automatically with new regulations
  •  Calculates fine avoidance value to demonstrate ROI
  •  Offers access to real time reports & dashboards–no need to wait weeks for a final report
  • Assigns corrective actions with steps to resolve identified compliance issues, and makes team members accountable
  • Provides tablet software for conducting mobile audits
  • Offers ability to customize but not a start from scratch platform
  • Provides easy photo capturing and intelligent logic of each and every compliance issue

Safety is a partnership and a shared responsibility, requiring the active involvement of people in all departments and positions. Instill a culture of compliance across your organization with the help of a compliance management system. Take your health and safety program to a new level by putting down the pen and paper and auditing the better way.

About the Author
Nicole Kvasnicka is a five year product manager for Heidolph North America, leading manufacturer of premium laboratory equipment and solutions. During her career she has shifted her focus towards the safety aspects and standards in the laboratory division. Nicole can be reached at 224-265-9600 ext.111 or