Laboratory Tours Involving Minors
Date: Oct. 21, 2019
In keeping with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) mission of education and outreach, it is recognized that individuals under the age of eighteen years may participate in tours or short term visits (collectively referred to as “tours”) of UNR laboratory spaces. Due to potential increased health and safety risks for minors, and specific regulatory requirements, it is necessary to establish specific guidelines for minors who participate in tours of laboratory spaces.
Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Department
This policy applies to minors who participate in tours of UNR owned or operated laboratories. Minors who are enrolled students at UNR are not covered by this policy. Minors who work in UNR owned or operated laboratory, either in a paid or volunteer status, are also not covered by this policy; however, those situations are covered by the “Minors Working or Volunteering in Laboratories” policy.
Laboratories generally contain multiple hazards, to include hazardous chemicals, biological agents, and radioactive materials. It is generally recognized that minors are more susceptible than adults to adverse health effects resulting from exposure to these hazards.1
For a variety of reasons, the required level of supervision of minors when visiting a laboratory is much greater than for adults. Furthermore, the participation of minors in UNR programs or activities is governed by the UNR “Policy on the Protection of Children” (University Administrative Manual, policy 7,002).
Reference Regulations or Policies
- NSHE (Nevada System Higher Education) Title 4, Chapter 22, Child Protection Policies.
- University of Nevada, Reno policy 7,002, Policy on the Protection of Children, University Administrative Manual.
Minor: A person under 18 years of age. For the purposes of this policy, a person under 18 years of age who has been admitted to UNR as a degree-seeking student is not considered to be a minor covered by this policy.
UNR Coordinator of Laboratory Tour: The UNR employee who is responsible for coordinating the tour. If the tour is being coordinated through an administrative unit such as a department office or a dean’s office, then an individual must be assigned to this role. If the tour involves only a single laboratory, then the supervisor responsible for that laboratory assumes this role.
Deans, Department Chairs, and Directors
Ensure that all faculty and principal investigators are aware of the responsibilities and procedures contained in this policy. Provide administrative enforcement of this policy within administrative units under their responsibility. Ensure that the provisions of the NSHE/UNR Child Protection Policy are being adhered to.
Provide approval for tours of laboratories in lieu of the responsible laboratory supervisors when the supervisor is not available or when otherwise deemed necessary.
UNR Coordinator of Laboratory Tour
Ensure that prior to each tour, a University of Nevada, Reno “Waiver, Release, and Indemnification Agreement” form that has been signed by a parent or guardian is provided for each minor who will participate in the tour. The coordinator is responsible for communicating in writing (e-mail or hard copy) to each laboratory supervisor when these forms have been provided. The coordinator is responsible for ensuring that all signed forms are sent to the BCN Risk Management Office.
Ensure that details of the tour (such as, day, time, and number of participants) are communicated to the supervisor of each laboratory and/or room that will be visited prior to the tour. Generally, communication of a tour should be made to each applicable laboratory supervisor at least one week prior to the tour.
Ensure that approval is obtained from each applicable laboratory supervisor prior to the tour. Approval to visit a laboratory can also be provided by the responsible department chair or dean.
Ensure that the provisions of the NSHE/UNR Child Protection Policy are being adhered to.
Ensure that a University of Nevada, Reno “Waiver, Release, and Indemnification Agreement” form that has been signed by a parent or guardian has been provided for each minor who will participate in the tour. If the supervisor is not the coordinator of the tour, he or she shall confirm with the coordinator that forms have been provided for all minors who will participate in the tour.
Ensure that laboratory tour participants will not be exposed to hazardous chemicals, pathogens, or radioactive materials or radiation above background levels during the tour.
Ensure that hazards and safety precautions are communicated to participants as appropriate and that participants are provided with any needed personal protective equipment and are instructed on its use.
Ensure that each minor who participates in a laboratory tour, which is conducted under his or her supervision, is supervised by an adult member of the participating academic or educational program, or a member of the UNR faculty or staff, as described by this policy.
Ensure that the provisions of the NSHE/UNR Child Protection Policy are adhered to. Ensure that lab tours that involve minors are reported to the Human Resources Office no later than March 1 of each year.
Report all injuries or illnesses which involve a minor and which occur as a result of a laboratory-associated physical injury or exposure to a hazardous material to the BCN Risk Management Office within seven days.
Environmental Health & Safety Department
As requested, assist laboratory supervisors in reviewing health and safety issues associated with laboratory operations to which minors will be exposed during the tour.
- Individuals participating in a laboratory tour must not be knowingly exposed to any chemicals, biological materials, radioactive materials or radiation above background levels, or physical hazards during the tour.
- No work involving any of these hazards is permitted while a tour group is present in a laboratory, and all chemicals, biological materials, and radioactive materials must be in safe containerized storage.
- A completed (signed) University of Nevada, Reno “Waiver, Release, and Indemnification Agreement” form shall be provided for each minor prior to commencement of each lab tour.
- All minors participating in the lab tour are required to wear safety glasses when entering laboratories. Additional personal protective equipment, such as lab coats, may be required at the discretion of K-12 school officials or UNR officials, including the responsible laboratory supervisor.
- The UNR employee who is coordinating the tour is responsible for ensuring that safety glasses and other required personal protective equipment are provided, either at the beginning of the tour or at each laboratory room.
- All adults who are part of the tour group, and all UNR personnel who are acting as a tour escort or who are present when the tour group visits a laboratory, must wear the same level of safety eye wear and other personal protective equipment as the minor students are required to wear.
- Laboratory tours and other activities that involve minors require adherence to the UNR “Policy on the Protection of Children”, and UNR employees and volunteers who participate in laboratory tours are required to review and follow that policy.
- Signed UNR “Waiver, Release, and Indemnification Agreement” forms are maintained by the BCN Risk Management Office. These forms must be maintained for two years.
- World Health Organization, “Environmental Risks”, Children’s Environmental Health, 2016, http://www.who.int/ceh/risks/en/, Accessed December 12, 2016.
Appendix I: Waiver, Release, and Indemnification Agreement
A copy of this form can be obtained by contacting EH&S.
Participation in Laboratory Activities or Laboratory Tours
I, _____________________________, hereby acknowledge that I have voluntarily elected to participate in laboratory activities or a tour of one or more UNR laboratories (the “Activity”) at the University of Nevada, Reno (“UNR”), a member institution of the Nevada System of Higher Education (“NSHE”). If the voluntary activity will involve participating in lab activities (not simply touring) at UNR, it is understood that the UNR faculty member responsible for direction of the activity is: ______________________________.
I understand and agree that the Activity may involve certain risks which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Traveling to and from the Activity (transportation is not provided by UNR).
- Light manual labor, including lifting, reaching, stretching, and moving objects — individuals should be aware of their own physical limitations.
- Potential exposure to hazardous chemicals, infectious agents, or radioactive materials that are used and stored in laboratories.
- Animals used in research studies.
- Laboratory equipment that may be hazardous if touched or which may represent a pinch or crush hazard.
Knowing this information and the risks related to this Activity, in consideration of my participation in the Activity, I expressly and knowingly agree as follows:
RULES AND REQUIREMENTS: I agree to conduct myself in accordance with UNR policies and procedures. I further agree to abide by all the rules and requirements of the Activity. I acknowledge that UNR has the right to terminate my participation in the Activity if it is determined that my conduct is detrimental to the best interests of the group, if my conduct violates any rule of the Activity, or for any other reason at UNR’s discretion.
INFORMED CONSENT: I have been informed of and I understand the various aspects of the Activity, including the dangers, hazards, and risks inherent in the Activity as outlined above. I understand that as a participant in the Activity, I will engage in activities, including touring labs or participating in activities in laboratories where I could be exposed to hazardous chemicals, infectious agents, or radioactive materials, or come into contact with dangerous equipment, during which I could sustain personal injuries, illness, and/or property damage. I understand that as a participant in the Activity I could sustain serious personal injuries, property damage, or even death as a consequence of not only UNR’s actions or inactions, but also the actions, inactions, negligence or fault of others or myself, and that there may be other risks not known to me or not reasonably foreseeable at this time. I further understand and agree that any injury, property damage, disability or death that I may sustain by any means is my responsibility except for those occurrences due to UNR’s negligence or intentional acts.
RELEASE AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY: To the extent authorized by law, I, individually, and on behalf of my heirs, executors, administrators, personal representatives, successors and assignees, hereby release, forever discharge and agree not to sue NSHE and UNR and their officers, employees, agents, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability, loss, claims, demands, causes of actions (known or unknown), suits, judgments, cost, expense or attorneys’ fees, including, but not limited to, those arising from injury, loss or damage to my person or property, which arise out of, occur during, or are in any way the result of or connected with my participation in the Activity, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE INJURY, LOSS OR DAMAGE IS CAUSED BY NSHE OR UNR, UNLESS THE INJURY, LOSS OR DAMAGE IS CAUSED BY NSHE OR UNR’S NEGLIGENCE OR INTENTIONAL ACTS, AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE INJURY, LOSS OR DAMAGE OCCURS WHILE IN, ON, UPON, OR IN TRANSIT TO OR FROM THE PREMISES WHERE THE ACTIVITY OCCURS OR IS BEING CONDUCTED. I further agree that NSHE and UNR are not in any way responsible for any injury or damage that I sustain as a result of my own acts.
ASSUMPTION OF RISK: I understand that there are potential dangers incidental to my participation in the Activity, some of which may be dangerous and which may expose me to the risk of personal injuries, property damage, or even death. I understand that there are potential risks as a consequence of my participation in the Activity which include, but are not limited to the following: travel to and from UNR property via private vehicles, exposure to hazardous chemicals, infectious agents, or radioactive materials, and other risks that are unknown at this time.
I KNOWINGLY AND VOLUNTARILY ASSUME ALL SUCH RISKS, BOTH KNOWN AND UNKNOWN, EVEN IF ARISING FROM THE ACTS OF NSHE OR UNR, UNLESS THEY ARISE FROM NSHE OR UNR’S NEGLIGENT OR INTENTIONAL ACT, and I assume full responsibility for my participation in the Activity.
INDEMNITY: I, individually, and on behalf of my heirs, successors, assignees and personal representatives, hereby agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless NSHE and UNR and their employees, agents, and representatives, from any and all liability whatsoever for any and all damages, losses, or injuries (including death) I sustain to my person or property or both, including but not limited to any claims, demands, actions, causes of action, judgments, expenses and costs, including attorneys’ fees, which arise out of, result from, occur during, or are connected in any manner with my participation in the Activity.
PERSONAL MEDICAL INSURANCE: I understand that neither the NSHE nor UNR will provide health insurance coverage to me during any aspect of my participation in the Activity. I further acknowledge that I am responsible for the cost of any and all medical and health services I may require as a result of participating in the Activity.
CONTROLLING LAW: To the extent that I, individually, or my heirs, successors, assignees, or personal representatives bring a claim of any kind whatsoever against NSHE and/or UNR and/or their employees, agents, and representatives, I agree that this Waiver, Release and Indemnification Agreement is to be construed under the laws of the State of Nevada, including the provisions of Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 41.
SEVERABILITY: If any term or provision of this Agreement shall be held invalid, illegal, unenforceable, or in conflict with any law governing this Agreement the validity of the remaining portions of the Agreement shall continue in full legal force and effect.
I hereby acknowledge that I have read this entire document, that I understand its terms, that by signing it I am giving up substantial legal rights I might otherwise have, and that I have signed it knowingly and voluntarily.
Participant’s Name: _________________________________________
Participant’s Signature: _________________________________________
If participant is a minor:
I am the parent or legal guardian of the Participant. I hereby acknowledge that I have read this entire document, that I understand its terms, that by signing it I am giving up substantial legal rights that I or the Participant might otherwise have, and that I have signed it knowingly and voluntarily. I allow Participant to participate in this Activity. I understand that I am responsible for the obligations and acts of Participant as described in this document. I agree to be bound by the terms of this document.
Parent/Guardian’s Name: _________________________________________
Parent/Guardian’s Signature: _________________________________________
Name of minor’s primary emergency contact: _________________________________________
Telephone number(s): ____________________________________________
Name of minor’s alternate emergency contact: ________________________________________
Telephone number(s): ____________________________________________
Specific Emergency Medical Instructions for Minor, if indicated: ______________________________________________________________________________