Minors Working or Volunteering in Laboratories
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 (as paid employees or volunteers) in UNR laboratory or field studies for educational purposes. Due to potential increased health and safety risks for minors, and specific regulatory requirements, it is necessary to establish specific guidelines for minors conducting laboratory or field work.
Vice President for Research and Innovation (VPRI); Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Department
This policy applies to minors working either in a paid or volunteer status in UNR owned or operated laboratories, to include laboratories used for teaching or research activities, and minors participating in UNR field studies. Minors who are enrolled students at UNR or who participate only in tours or short term visits of laboratories are not covered by this policy.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sets a lower limit on the amount of radiation that minors can receive compared to adults. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has no specific regulations regarding minors and specific exposure limits for minors exposed to hazardous chemicals or pathogens have not been established. It is generally recognized, however, that minors are more susceptible to adverse health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous chemicals and pathogens1.
In addition to potential increased health risks for minors, the required level of supervision of minors working with hazardous materials is much greater than for adults. Furthermore, the employment of minors is limited by the Fair Labor Standards Act (also known as the Child Labor Laws), which as a general rule sets 14 years of age as the minimum age for employment, but also excludes certain types of hazardous jobs regardless of age.
- NAC 459.331 (Nevada Administrative Code), Annual Limits for Occupational Doses for Minors.
- NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules
- S. Department of Labor, Fair Labor Standards Act, Child Labor Provisions
- NSHE (Nevada System Higher Education) Title 4, Chapter 22, Child Protection Policies.
- UNR 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.
As requested, provide guidance on employment of minors. Review and approve employment of minors.
Business Center North (BCN) Risk Management Office
As requested, provide guidance on minors working in laboratories as employees, volunteers, or as part of academic or educational programs. Review and approve employment of minors and designation of minors as UNR volunteers prior to minors beginning laboratory work, and notify laboratory supervisors of such approvals.
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. Ensure that all UNR employees, students or volunteers who participate in the laboratories with the minors annually read and certify he or she has read and understood the NSHE/UNR Child Protection Policy.
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 to the laboratory supervisor prior to each minor beginning laboratory work. The laboratory supervisor is responsible for forwarding all signed forms to the BCN Risk Management Office prior to the minor beginning laboratory work.
Ensure that all applicable safety training has been provided to each minor who will work in a laboratory under his or her supervision, prior to each minor conducting laboratory work. Additionally, ensure that all required personal protective equipment and facility safety equipment are available and operable prior to minors working in the laboratory.
Ensure that each minor who will work in a laboratory under his or her supervision is supervised by an adult member of the participating academic or educational program, and 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 being adhered to.
Report all injuries or illnesses including those 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.
Environmental Health and Safety Department
As requested, assist laboratory supervisors in reviewing health and safety issues associated with laboratory operations to which minors will be exposed. As requested, assist laboratory supervisors in developing information and training for minors working in laboratories.
Minors Working in Laboratories
Each minor shall complete required safety training prior to working in a laboratory. While working in a laboratory each minor must adhere to UNR safety policies and procedures, and must comply with the safe work practices provided by the supervising adult.
Employment of Minors
- Employment of minors or acceptance of minors as volunteers must be in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and applicable Nevada State law, to include restrictions on work activities and work hours.
- Minors under the age of 14 cannot be employed to work in laboratories or accepted as volunteers to work in laboratories.
- Employment of minors or acceptance of minors as volunteers requires prior notification and approval of the Human Resources Department and the Business Center North (BCN) Risk Management Office.
Conduct of Laboratory Work for Academic or Educational Purposes
- Minors may conduct work in UNR teaching or research laboratories as members of an academic or educational program in which UNR participates. A. Examples include the Washoe County School District (WCSD) Gifted and Talented Program and the Advanced Placement Program, and the Davidson Academy of Nevada; however, there are other programs in which UNR participates or may participate in the future.
General Requirements for Minors Working in Laboratories
The following requirements apply to all minors who work in a UNR laboratory as an employee or as part of an academic or educational program.
- All laboratory work that involves minors requires adherence by laboratory employees 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.
- Prior to a minor working in a UNR laboratory, a UNR “Waiver, Release, and Indemnification Agreement” form (Appendix I) which has been signed by a parent or guardian shall be provided to the laboratory supervisor. The signed waiver shall indicate the parent or guardian’s approval of the minor’s participation in the activity, and their acknowledgement and assumption of any risk associated with the laboratory work.
- The laboratory supervisor responsible for the laboratory in which the minor will work shall ensure that a signed waiver has been provided to him or her prior to the minor beginning work in the laboratory.
- Each minor shall be supervised by an adult member of the participating academic or educational program, and a member of the UNR faculty or staff. The supervising adult must be knowledgeable in safe work practices of the work being conducted and must provide supervision at a level that is equivalent to that required by the academic or educational program for students of the same age or grade level.
- The supervising adult, whether a UNR employee or member of the participating academic or educational program, shall have current safety training that is at least equivalent to that required for UNR students and employees supervising or conducting the same work.
- Prior to a minor working in a UNR laboratory, each minor must be provided with documented safety training that is at least equivalent to that required for UNR students and employees conducting the same work. Additional safety training should be provided as appropriate for the activity and the minor’s age and background.
- This training includes both general lab safety training provided by EH&S and laboratory-specific training as appropriate. Documentation of laboratory-specific training must include the date that the training was presented, the topics covered, the name of the presenter, and the name and signature of each individual who received the training.
- Each minor who will work in a laboratory shall be provided with, and be required to wear, appropriate personal protective equipment. Additionally, properly operating safety equipment shall be available in the laboratory as required for the work to be performed. Typical safety equipment includes an emergency eyewash and shower unit and a chemical fume hood; however, other safety equipment may also be required.
Laboratory Work Restrictions for Minors
The following restrictions apply to all minors who work in a UNR laboratory as an employee or as part of an academic or educational program.
- Minors shall not be exposed to highly hazardous chemicals or physical hazard situations.
- Minors shall not work with, or be exposed to, chemicals defined by OSHA as a carcinogen, reproductive toxin, or chemical with high acute toxicity, or work with or be exposed to chemicals that are pyrophoric, explosive or shock sensitive, a flammable gas, or large quantities (greater than 4 liters) of flammable liquids.
- Minors shall not be exposed to any chemical at a level that is thought to be hazardous or which exceeds one-half of the current OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) or American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) threshold limit value (TLV).
- Minors hall not work with or be exposed to biological agents classified as risk group 3 or 4, or a risk group 2 agent under conditions where the risk is deemed to be unacceptable (or unsafe) by the responsible laboratory supervisor.
- Minors shall not be exposed to ionizing radiation levels that exceed federal and state exposure limits for minors.
- Minors shall not be exposed to sound pressure levels (noise) that exceed the current ACGIH TLV, or physical hazards that are judged to present a high potential for severe crushing or cutting, amputation, or eye injury.
- Minors shall not work in excess of the Fair Labor Standard Act hours allowed for their age group.
- 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, http://www.who.int/ceh/risks/en/, accessed December 2, 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, assigns 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: ______________________________________________________________