Paper Challenge: preferred answer: E – Shipped February 11, 2019

Shipped November 5, 2018


The challenge was sent to category A, C, and C1 laboratories. The following scenario was presented to participants:

During a lunchtime conversation, you become aware that you have been decontaminating your workbench differently than your colleagues. You were not aware there is a procedure document on decontamination, but when you find it and read it, you find that your practices are not consistent with the document. You have been following your practices for years, and to the best of your knowledge, there has never been a problem. Moreover, you do some research and discover there are other alternatives for decontamination available.

You have a number of options (please choose the one that best describes how you would proceed):

A. Continue with what you have always done, knowing that the procedure is inappropriate or insufficient.

B. Change your practices to what the procedure says, even though you think that the procedure as written is too restrictive.

C. Go to your supervisor and tell them that the procedure as written is incomplete and should be changed.

D. Complete an entry on the laboratory Opportunities for Improvement (OFI) list and change your practices to what the procedure specifies.

E. Complete an entry on the laboratory Opportunities for Improvement (OFI) list and, for the time being, change your practice to the procedure in the manual. Additionally, you inform your supervisor that the procedure, as written, may be too restrictive or that other options might be available.



  1. Finding, recording, accounting and reporting of opportunities for improvement are cited as part of all standards that address issues of quality in laboratories supported by the International Organization for Standardization, regardless of the type of laboratory.
  2. Recording OFIs alone is insufficient; it is specified that the information be incorporated in the laboratory management review, and that solutions addressing OFIs be included in as output of the management review report.

Full critique (PDF)

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