The implementation of a proposed project such as a laboratory is not an easy task or undertaking. It is for this reason that it is important to have a working plan before starting with the establishment of such a project. A laboratory is a powerful tool or facility upon which research and knowledge development can be enhanced. The college has over the years offered environmental studies upon which research and knowledge development have effected, but when it comes to marine studies, the coverage level has been relatively low. One of the reasons for this occurrence is that the college does not have a laboratory offering specified platform for research services in marine studies. The proposal presented, in this case, will provide detailed information about how the proposed Marine Water Environment laboratory will be effectively implemented. Some of the components incorporated in the plan include the intended activities, organization structure, location, quality control, as well as the quality assurance; instruments, health and safety required, and finally the layout.
The Intended Activities of the Laboratory
The Marine Water Environment laboratory will serve three groups as its clients, including students enrolled in Master Program, the Dubai community, and third parties. The laboratory will primarily provide a platform for the students to undertake their academic research, particularly the ones specializing in marine environmental studies. The facility will also be of significance to the community in Dubai. The laboratory will be used in research on matters of interest to the community and hence the knowledge and information gathered can be offered to the community to assist in improving their livelihood. Lastly, the laboratory will be used as a platform for third parties interested in marine research. For example, research institutes, government agencies, as well as other learning institutions that will be allowed to make use of the laboratory as a research platform at a fee. The fee will be an important source of revenue to the laboratory.
The scope of the laboratory is to undertake research in marine environment surrounding Dubai and over which the community would be interested. The research will incorporate both the living and non-living components and their relationship to assist the interested parties in acquiring knowledge of the Dubai marine environment. The activities of the laboratory will include the collection of the sample, their analysis, and compilation of the report of the findings. The scope will cover three key areas, including ocean science and information services, marine environment & food safety services, and marine ecosystems.
The objectives of the lab will include
- To be operational within one year
- To serve 150 students annually, and 50 third parties
- To assist the Dubai community in understanding the marine ecosystem and safe food available from the environment
- To collaborate with the government in marine research and development, to promote economic development, the health of the people, protect marine life and create job opportunities.
The Organization Structure of the Laboratory
The organization structure is immensely important because it provides a clear definition of various roles in both the leadership and operations activities. The organizational design provides the various divisions within the organization upon which the positions are created. The Marine Water Environment laboratory will operate under five divisions/departments, including the supportive division, research department, human resource, third party services, and quality assurance.
The supportive division
The supportive division is important in that it would be responsible for ensuring that the other departments are supported to undertake their operations effectively. The department will be under the general manager to oversee the functioning of the unit. Some of the key areas of operations include logistics (transportation, procurement, storage, communications, and waste disposal, in addition to administration and finance). Some of the key positions in this department include receptionist, accountants, storekeepers, and laboratory attendants.
The research department
The research department is the backbone of the laboratory because it is the output unit. The success of the laboratory depends on the effectiveness of the team involved. The team will be led by the Marine Scientist and will be in control of the marine biologists.
The third party services
The third party services as a department are aimed at assisting the third parties interested in partnering with the laboratory. The department will receive the applications from the interested parties analyze their requests and determine whether the laboratory has the capacity to partner according to their expectations. The objective of the department is to ensure that the engagement with the third-parties in research functions is controlled and within the primary objectives of the institution.
The human resource department
The human resource department will be in charge of the recruitment, training, and remuneration of the workforce in the laboratory. Human resource manager will oversee the functions in this department to ensure that quality and skilled staffs are put in place and sustained for smooth operations. The department will review human resource needs in all the other departments, develop job descriptions, and identify areas requiring more training.
Quality assurance department
The last department is the quality assurance department. The unit is critical because of the technical nature of the undertaking and the need to provide quality output in terms of research reports that are of importance to the users. The quality assurance officer who will be in charge of undertaking regular checks to ensure that the set standards in all areas of operations are observed to the latter will manage the department.
The Proposed Organizational Structure
The Laboratory location on the campus
The laboratory will be located in a segregated area within the campus away from the pathways, any residential or hostels, lecture and dining halls as well as playgrounds. The importance of the isolation is to reduce the potential hazards such as bad odour, and fire likely to erupt due to reagents and samples used in the study. Additionally, the isolation is important in reducing the disturbances likely to arise from the outside affecting the concentration of the researchers while analysing the sample.
Quality Control and Quality Assurance Procedures
The output of the lab procedures would be of immense important because it can be used in ways that can affect the livelihood of the people while in some cases it can cause death and injuries. Quality control and quality assurance procedures are important in ensuring that the accepted standards are observed at all levels of the research process. The quality control procedures required include external audit and impromptu assessment. The external audit will involve quality assurance consultants who will from time to time visit the laboratory and research sites to ensure that the set standards and procedures are observed. The auditors will undertake their activities independently and issue a report containing weakness and errors identified, as underlying recommendations on how to improve the quality. The impromptu assessment will be conducted from time to time. The quality assurance team will seek to observe the operations, particularly on activities considered sensitive. The undertaking will keep the staff alert to the set standards to avoid making any mistake during the assessment.
Basic Instruments Suggested For the Proposed Laboratory
The operations in the laboratory will require the utilization of various instruments. The instruments, in this case, can be categorised into two The equipment used in the laboratory and the field equipment used in the water bodies to collect samples and measure the conditions in the ecosystems.
Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler
The instrument is used in measuring the speed at which water is moving at all levels from the bottom of the sea or the water body concerned with the surface. The speed of the water is significantly important because it determines the components at any given water level in terms of the living and non-living things. Additionally, it enables the marine researchers, particularly the diving biologists to be aware of the speed patterns to enter into the waters safely and conveniently.
They are the drifting instruments used in measuring water temperature and salinity in rivers, seas, and oceans among other water bodies. The instruments are deployed and allowed to move with the water current and send the data collected by the orbiting satellites. The important aspect of measuring temperature and salinity is to assist research to try associating the two conditions to the living organisms in different parts of the water bodies.
Towed Camera System
Towed Camera System is also referred as TowCam; it is a designed digital camera used in taking photographs from the seafloor. The camera system can tow for 5 to 7 hours and can operate at both night and day time. However, under extreme conditions, including total blackness, freezing temperatures, and excess pressure, its performance is adversely affected.
Video Plankton Recorder
Video Plankton Recorder is an underwater microscope used in taking images of Planktons whose sizes ranges from 50 microns to a few centimeters. The recorder has the ability to flash 60 times per second, hence can take 60 images within a second. The images are recorded on the hard disk and plotted later for analysis. The instrument can be lowered to as low as 350 meters, making it a powerful tool in research.
Multiple Opening and Closing Net, with an Environmental Sensing System
The instrument’s acronym is MOCNESS, which is an improved high-tech version of a sampling net. The net can be closed or opened depending on the target samples by the research concerned. The net is mounted with sensors that enable the relay of data to the researcher depending on the properties of the seawater. The advantage of the instrument is that it assists the researchers to control the samples collected.
Internal Laboratory Instruments and Chemicals
The laboratory instruments are the apparatus used within the laboratory while conducting analyzing on the data and samples collected from the field. The instruments can be categorized into glassware including beakers, flasks, bottles, watch glasses, burettes, funnels, evaporating dishes, and microscope slides among others. The instruments are largely used in activities such as mixing reagents, preparing the sample, and controlling the portion of components used during the analysis and testing. The other category of equipment includes incubators, chillers and colors, hot plates, and mixers among others. The chemical instruments include water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, salts, and bases among other reagents.
Health and Safety required for the Laboratory
Working in a laboratory is usually a risky undertaking because it involves working with chemicals, physical instruments, and biological hazards. It is because of these reasons that employees operating in a lab are required to be protected from the hazards in addition to their efforts to execute their duties safely. The operations of the Marine Water Environment laboratory as proposed will be guided by the health and safety requirements. The management will be in change of ensuring that a number of aspects are incorporated. First, there will be a written safe work and emergency procedures. The fundamental components contained in the document include the work methods while dealing with hazardous chemicals, response procedures during accidents, and procedures in minimizing risks such as musculoskeletal injuries.
The second aspect is the effective training and education of the staff on safety measures and precautions. The management will ensure that all the employees are informed about the hazards they are exposed while performing their duties, how to avoid them, and how to respond in case of an incident. The training can be done from both the within and without the laboratory as long as it provides the necessary knowledge and skills.
Thirdly, the management should set out the mechanisms to investigate workplace accidents. The investigation should be categorized into investigating accidents resulting in death, injuries, diseases, as well as minor injuries. The aims of the investigation are to find out the cause of the incidents, identify the causing factors, and develop a correctional plan to mitigate their re-occurrences. Lastly, the management will be required to equip the first aid kit and services adequately. The requirement is compelled by the need to have an effective first aid delivered to the affected before arriving in a place where medical treatment can be offered.
Health and Safety Marine Water Pillars
Health and Safety at Marine Water Environment laboratory will be enhanced through the upholding of the four key pillars.
Identification and assessment of hazards
The first pillar is the identification and assessment of hazards. The manager will be required to identify hazards and assess the possible intensity before any of the equipment, instruments, or procedure is allowed to start. The assessment can be based on the possibility of the exposure to chemicals and other hazardous materials and components such as radiation, heat, and excess vibrations among others. Indddeeeed, to effectively identify and assess the hazards, an occupation health and safety committee will be a management unit of the Marine Water Environment laboratory.
Implementation of control measures
The second pillar is the implementation of control measures to mitigate the risks identified and assessed. Measures to be taken, in this case, aim at minimizing or eradicating the exposure through the strategic use of equipment, materials, and procedures. The Marine Water Environment laboratory will highly emphasize on the application of personal protective equipment. In this case, the employees will be supplied with the protective clothing, which will regularly be disposed of. The adequate protective clothing will regularly be involved in the laboratory operations. Eye and face are some of the sensitive parts of the body because of the potential exposure to the laboratory chemicals. The protection of the eyes, including safety glasses, goggles, and face shield will be supplied to the employees. Hands are likely to be exposed to hazardous chemicals. In fact, there are other conditions that can lead to punctures, scrapes, cuts, chemical and heat burns while undertaking laboratory tests and experiments. Depending on the type of the risks an individual is exposed to different types of gloves can be used. Lab coats are the other protective gear the laboratory management would seek to provide to the staff. The employees will always be required to put on well laundered coats while in the laboratory irrespective of the hazards they are exposed to. For the purpose of the protection of their feet, individuals will be required to ensure that they put on shoes with non-slip soles, and where possible the ones that are chemical resistant. The management will recommend the type of shoes required and if deemed necessary, assist the staff in purchasing. Respiratory protection is also an important requirement to be accorded the seriousness it deserves in the laboratory. The employees are likely to be exposed to contaminated air and hence would require respirators to protect themselves.
Preparing for emergencies
The third pillar is the preparedness for emergencies. At the Marine Water Environment laboratory, the stakeholders will be guided by written emergency procedures upon the occurrence of an incident requiring an immediate action. The employees will be made aware of emergency exit routes and procedures, the duties and responsibilities in case of an emergency, as well as emergency contact offices and the relevant telephone numbers for quick response and evacuation.
Proper waste disposal procedures
The last pillar is the proper waste disposal procedures aimed at preventing injuries to laboratory workers handling and encountering the waste. At Marine Water Environment laboratory, incompatible and hazardous wastes will be segregated and packed in marked containers to ensure that whoever comes across the wastes will be informed of the potential risks while handling the substances. Additionally, broken and damaged glassware, metals, and other objects likely to cause cuts and spread infection will be disposed of in separate containers from other wastes.
Suggested Employees Qualifications and Special Training
The success of the laboratory to provide the intended services depends on the qualification and ability of the individuals involved in carrying out the management and operational functions. Therefore, it is important to identify the required qualification and special training of the individuals to play different roles in key positions in the laboratory. The four categories of the suggested employees include Laboratory Attendants, Marine Biologists, and Marine Scientist.
The laboratory attendants are the lowest operational employees in the laboratory. The individuals perform routine and semi-skilled duties under the supervision of skilled staff. Some of the key duties include the collection and preparation of samples, and the maintenance of equipment and instruments. The attendant will set up, attune, and perform minor maintenance of basic equipment and instruments including washing, cleaning, and sterilizing. The employee, in this category, should be ready to work under the exposure to unpleasant substances as well as fumes and odors. Since the individuals are not required to perform highly skilled duties, low profile education and experience are required. The basic qualifications include the completion of 12th grade and coursework in biology and chemistry.
Marine Biologists are specialists involved in the studying how plants and animals, and the water environment affect each other. The individuals are required to possess the scientific ability, have an attentive mind, and demonstrate patience, as well as be good at analyzing and interpreting data. Math and science skills acquired through education and experience would be critical for the personnel to perform effectively. An individual with a bachelor degree in biology or zoology and advancement through a master’s degree would be preferred for the position. The special skills are required for a marine biologist to perform duties and responsibilities using specialized equipment, computer software, and other technologies applied in marine related research.
Marine scientists are specialists in analyzing water samples to test for contamination and identify the contaminants. They are also involved in studying marine plants and monitoring marine animals. Marine scientists will provide guidance to the marine biologists associated with the Marine Water Environment laboratory on specific research components and the sample collected for analysis. For an individual to qualify for the position, he/she is required to possess at minimum a bachelor’s degree in marine biology or a related area of study. Since the marine scientist will be responsible for overseeing the research functions of the laboratory, he/she will be expected to have a master’s degree in marine biology, in addition to leadership and management skills.
Despite the fact that the laboratory management will deploy individuals with the relevant skills and experience, it is clear that training would be required to equip the employees with specific skills. Training at Marine Water Environment laboratory starts at the induction where every new employee will be trained in the basic requirements for effective performance in their respective position. Besides, all the health and safety measures in the laboratory will be prominently featured during the induction based training. The employees will also be subjected to regular training as a measure to remind them of quality and safety requirements. The in-service training would also be an opportunity to incorporate new ideas and innovation in the respective position to ensure that the laboratory remains relevant to the clients served.
General layout of the lab
considering the storage area and the proposed location for the laboratory