A Laboratory Critical Incident and Error Reporting System for Experimental Biomedicine

Incident reporting has its origins in the 1950s within the aviation industry where it has been seen to be successful in reducing the number of incidents and to improve the safety of pilots. Risk management activities and Critical Incident Reporting (CIR) has been later introduced in clinical medicine and e.g. practitioners are expected to report occurrences that resulted or almost result (near miss) in patient injury so that it is possible to learn from these incidents.
However, a functional CIR system (CIRS) has never been implemented in the context of academic basic research. In this article, U. Dirnagl and colleagues describe the development of a free, open-source software tool (LabCIRS) written in the Python programming language which can be used to implement a simple CIR system in research groups, laboratories, or institutions. Importantly, LabCIRS is easy to set up, use and administer and does not require a large commitment of resources and time. As pointed out by the authors, after its implementation, the system has already ‘led to the emergence of a mature error culture, and has made the laboratory a safer and more communicative environment’ and could therefore become a valuable tool to increase integrity of preclinical biomedical research.
A demo version is accessible at http://labcirs.charite.de (sign in as “reporter”).

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