"Marketing" is probably not a word that's used much in university chemistry labs; likewise, lab reagent and equipment suppliers may not consider it a key part of their job to actively promote lab safety practices. But what if marketing lab equipment safety, with all of the flash and attention-holding gimmicks in the sales and advertising arsenal is exactly what is needed to keep (often young) lab workers safe? And who knows more about marketing: business or academia?
A recent article in Inside Science on the challenge of insuring a safe laboratory experience for students and researchers addressed the specific issue of the lack of data showing the best lab safety practices. To meet this gap in knowledge about not only how to be safe but to teach and monitor safety in the lab, UCLA launched the UC Center for Laboratory Safety, which is the first of its kind in the nation to study lab safety and develop optimal lab practices. Essentially, what they do is:
- sponsor safety research studies
- collect and make available safety protocols
- promote optimal practices via publication and videos
- encourage researchers to focus on safety
Now, consider one of the well-made and informative videos available through the Center's web portal and YouTube:
What is the first thing that this video tells you? That, however critical to scientific research, lab work can be painfully repetitive. This particular video is, in fact, about how to prevent neck injury as a result of hours spent in the same position performing the same operation with a pipette. A valuable thing to know, surely, and necessary. But not the kind of YouTube video that is likely to go viral, and it doesn't need to. It does need to teach, and to do that, it needs to engage the viewer who is probably watching it as a safety requirement.
Safety is seriously important, and any aid to getting the safety message across and making it stick is going to be useful to lab managers, PIs, and purchasing personnel. So if you are an equipment or chemical reagent vendor, what can you do with your product, its packaging, design and instructions that will provide a value-added safety-teaching component? Limiting your liability in the case of an accident may be enough to satisfy your legal department, but what opportunities are there to market your product as one that actively supports its safe usage in some creative way?
Biotechnology Calendar Inc. brings life science researchers and laboratory supply vendors together to network, brainstorm and address laboratory problems and their solutions across the Unites States. One of our biggest and best-attended events is the Los Angeles Biotechnology Vendor Showcase held twice-yearly on the UCLA campus. The next UCLA exposition (our 28th) is coming this October 6, followed by the Spring 2012 show on April 5th. Find out more about exhibiting or attending by calling us, visiting our website, or clicking the button below:
To view the October 6th UCLA show flier, which includes exhibitors and a schedule of life science seminars, click HERE. (Researchers can pre-register through this link as well.)