Project: SAFELAB, national culture and safety in laboratories : An approach towards understanding the multicultural workplace.

Peer reviewed and published

This project was submitted on 06/07/2015 and published by Delft University of Technology

Objectives
• To create a research network of safety scientists and to develop a theoretical framework on safety and internationalisation.
• To combine and aggregate accident data to appropriate volume, and to analyse these data and search for intercultural patterns.
• To develop a dynamic model for lab safety.
• To apply the acquired knowledge in the design of laboratories.

Methods
• The network of safety scientists develops a theoretical framework and an overall research program. Methods will be selected for analysing influence of culture on work accidents.
• Collection of accident data, pattern recognition and analyses: lab accident reports from different universities will be grouped into large European data sets and analysed.
• Multidisciplinary teams of safety scientists, researchers on the built environment and industrial designers, explore culture dimensions in the (a) man-machine relation, (b) man in built environment and (c) man – man relation. Findings will be transferred into an advice on improved lab-safety design.

Results
• The establishment of an European network for safety science. The program will also lead to consensus on a theoretical framework on safety and national culture. Furthermore, SAFELAB will make statistically valid data available on work accidents in multicultural laboratories.
• Development of a dynamic model for safety. The model will be a tool for lab-managers to anticipate on culture related safety problems in the laboratory and includes a blue-print for ‘culture-proof’ lab-design.
• In the long term SAFELAB will lead to the improvement and harmonization of the safety standard of European laboratories. Harmonized lab-safety standards will facilitate European scientist of the future in their mobility within Europe.

Conclusion
Over the last decades the influx of foreign knowledge workers into Europe has increased, leading to laboratories being populated by scientists with different cultural backgrounds. This change in heterogeneity of population adds to improved resilience and thinking power. Literature states, however, that multicultural teams can be more unsafe than mono-cultural ones (Benton, 2005).
SAFELAB aims to unite knowledge of scientific disciplines to develop a knowledge domain on ‘Safety in Laboratories’, and in particular explore the influence of (national) cultural aspects on safety. The impact of this program would ultimately be a way to facilitate and support the European scientist of the future, which fits into Europe’s ambition to improve its market for highly skilled workers.

Risk management
Education

Organisation: Delft University of Technology

University
Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management
Safety&Security Science
Stevinweg 1,
Delft,
2628CN,
Netherlands
+31152784827

Principal Investigator: DR. Frank Guldenmund

Other Researchers: Mrs. Zarah Glaap

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