2.3.1. Context
This protocol is extracted from research article:
COVID-19 Impact on Musculoskeletal Regenerative Medicine Research: Maintaining Lab Continuity
Int J Environ Res Public Health, Jun 5, 2021; DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18116110

Before undertaking the risk assessment, the context was defined in terms of areas, personnel, and activities. The team considered not only the research lab context but the whole institute, since the surrounding environment may affect a research lab’s hazards and risks. The Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute is a highly specialized hospital and research facility in the field of orthopedics and traumatology. It is also the venue of University teaching. The fact that The Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute comprises both treatment and research activity allows the results of scientific research to be easily translated into clinical practice. From a logistical point of view, it is organized in three close locations: the hospital giving patients medical and surgical care, the polyclinic providing specialist examinations, and the research center, which besides the labs houses also the management and the administrative offices. Connected to the research area, there is the animal facility, which is a unit that deals with housing and breeding animals and experiments on them in compliance with current regulations. Such an organization allows better communications between researchers and clinicians and the translation of research results into clinical practice.

To simplify the analysis, the team split up such a complex context into three sub-contexts: general, extra-lab, and research lab. The general sub-context is represented by the hospital, the polyclinic, and the management and administrative offices. What is defined as a “research laboratory” is made up of two different environments: extra-lab areas where bibliographic research, writing of scientific works, or projects meetings and teaching activities take place; and lab areas where experiments are carried out (Figure 1).

Sub-contexts from which to start for risk assessment: general, extra-lab, and research lab. The general sub-context is represented by the hospital, the polyclinic, and the management and administrative offices. What is defined as a “research laboratory” is made up of two different environments: extra-lab areas where bibliographic research, writing of scientific works, or projects meetings and teaching activities take place; and lab areas where experiments are carried out.

Due to the proximity and continuous personnel passing between the three sub-contexts, the team identified for the researchers three levels of risk assessment corresponding to the identified sub-contexts: general, extra-lab, and (research) lab. Details are listed in Table 2 in terms of personnel and activities.

Levels of risks assessment to consider for sub-context, operator, and activity.

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