Never in history has there been a circumstance in which the entire globe was impacted by the same problem until COVID-19. Compared to the Spanish flu pandemic of a century ago, COVID-19 was still a unique phenomenon since travel today is so universal that it interconnects every country, and therefore no one was immune to the dangers of this pandemic.
Still, as devastating as the virus was, it taught industries quickly where their weaknesses were. The consequences of the coronavirus made everyone pay attention and make changes to their critical infrastructures and understand that it truly is safety, not profit, that must be the priority in every industry. As such, as research operations are relaunched, strategies for safety measures and precautions must be included now and in the future.
The Research Industries’ Severe Lack of Safety Measures Were Revealed
When it comes to imagining the perfect place to go to be safe from danger, a library or research facility aren’t too far off the mark. But, as with so many other places, COVID-19 quickly pulled the mask off of that facade and showed us that even these “safe” havens were not safe at all from biological dangers.
As invisible threats appeared from every angle, research libraries and operations were shut down. People were unable to fight against an enemy that could be anywhere, anyone who used a book could be spreading the virus, and social distancing on a campus where thousands of people were passing each other each minute became an impossible endeavor.
Eventually, it was clear: Research operations must be halted until better safety measures could be put into place, regardless of the impact on the institution’s profit.
Switching from Profit to Safety
Stakeholders who have an essential role in running research operations once had a centralized paradigm in place. Profit was necessary in order to ensure that research continued, and therefore profit was the most important aspect of how they ran daily operations, keeping an eye on ensuring everythig was running efficiently in order for it to be financially feasible.
COVID-19 took that assumption and turned it on its head. It became quickly apparent that without proper safety measures, profit was impossible to obtain. This required these stakeholders to redesign the entire framework of their business from foundation to the top of the pyramid, and to do so while the virus was still making the entire world’s structures highly uncertain and dangerous.
Strategies to Use for Safety in a Post COVID-19 Research World
Since labs and libraries are inherently safe during the typical day, the relaunch of these places of operation are easier to strategically plan and enact. Research operations use labs that are often isolated for safety and security of sensitive information. Libraries are not typically the place that people congregate in, making them a simple social distancing location.
But further strategies must be in place to ensure problems like COVID-19 have a mitigated effect in the future on these locations. Stakeholders, faculty, and students can increase the safety of everyone involved in research operations by:
● Obtaining training on health and safety topics that address virus spreads and other potential hazards
● Establishing requirements regarding how social distancing will be handled, how equipment will be sanitized between uses, and how surfaces will be cleaned regularly
● Encourage and implement regular self-health checks, reiterating the importance of each person’s understanding of their own health and how it could impact others if they are symptomatic and still show up for research operations
● Initiate regular health and safety checks in the research operation areas and prosecute violators with preestablished punishments
● Allow researchers to anonymously report safety violations without fear of reprisal
● Create work schedules that limit contact between various people by keeping teams working together and shift schedules consistent
● Include technology as ways to communicate rather than in-person meetings when possible
Even if a vaccine is in place for one virus, COVID-19 has shown us that there are always unknowns in the world. These strategies will aid in reducing the potential for another global pandemic to affect the entire globe the way COVID did.
Connect With Researchers Through Impactio
With the focus on safety predominant around the world now, more experts than ever are turning to Impactio for their research needs. Impactio is an all-in-one platform that researchers can use to store and share their research accomplishments, citation and publication data. Impactio also provides a platform for researchers to collaborate with their team members and engage in communication with the Impactio network of peers.
Impactio offers researchers the chance to eliminate the need for face-to-face contact by incorporating the program to enable better communication with other experts. It’s an easy-to-use platform that offers you everything you need to take your work from start to finish and beyond!