Safety considerations constitute an essential component of laboratory-based research and development (R&D) operations. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, laboratory staff transitioned to remote work. As facilities adopted hybrid work models, this shift in the research landscape also reshaped the traditional mentoring process, potentially reducing direct interactions among principal investigators, immediate supervisory personnel responsible for ensuring subordinate personnel satisfy safety requirements, safety representatives, junior researchers, and facility users. Simultaneously, the increased flexibility offered by hybrid work arrangements could enhance work-life balance options, thus removing barriers for individuals pursuing R&D roles, ultimately fostering a more inclusive work environment. Overall, the impact of these changes on safety cultures and practices remains unknown, necessitating potential adjustments. On August 15-16, 2023, the Laboratory Assessments Board convened a virtual workshop to investigate the influence of hybrid work environments on safety proficiency, cultures, and practices, all while upholding the highest standards of effort, performance, and relevance. This publication summarizes the presentation and discussion of the workshop.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Workplace Safety in Hybrid Federal Laboratories: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/27297.
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