Requirements for Minors Conducting Research

Unsupervised volunteers and visitors, including minors, create a risk for injury and increased liability for the University. 

EHS requires that a responsible person appointed by the Chair or Department Head directly supervise all minors when they enter a laboratory to work or for a visit. Departmental policy to this effect will reduce or eliminate the risk of personal injury to minors in research laboratories and the risk of damage to projects and property. Additionally, there are other University policies and procedures that must be adhered to when minors are involved. This policy addresses those requirements for a comprehensive resource for University departments to reference.

Principal Investigators - follow these steps to get University of Michigan - Dearborn authorization and parental permission for a minor to participate in independent research activities and to meet supervision, training, and hazardous materials requirements and restrictions. Read the EHS Minors in Research Laboratories policies which gives details on age restrictions and the principal investigator's responsibilities.

1. Obtain EHS Authorization

2. Complete Compliance Requirements

  • Visit the U-M Children on Campus website for assistance in compliance with U-M SPG 601.34 Policy on Minors Involved in University - Sponsored Programs or Programs held in University Facilities.
  • University - Sponsored Programs (programs and activities under the direction and authority of the University and that are administered by faculty, staff and sponsored student organizations (on behalf of the University) must: 
    • Participate in program registration
    • Follow the established Code of Conduct
    • Submit to background screening of all faculty, staff, students and volunteers that will be supervising the minor
    • Use University - provided templates for participant forms
    • Agree to have faculty, staff, students and volunteers complete required training
    • Adhere to all reporting requirements

3. Ensure the Minor Completes Are Required Training and Obtains Appropriate PPE

  • Complete the required EHS Comprehensive Laboratory Safety Training
  • Lab-specific training provided by the PI must cover necessary work practices, procedures and policies to ensure that the minors are protected from all potentially hazardous chemicals, biological pathogens and dangerous equipment used in the lab. Training on emergency procedures should also be conducted.
  • Minors must be provided with appropriate PPE as needed based on work activity. At a minimum safety glasses, long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn.

4. Ensure Supervision Requirements are Observed

Minors are prohibited from working alone in UM-Dearborn laboratories.

Provide direct supervision of the minor in the laboratory environment by a qualified adult laboratory supervisor at all times. "Direct supervision" means the following:

  • The minor is accompanied into the lab by a trained and knowledgeable supervisor who is designated on the Project Checklist form.
  • The designated supervisor or alternate supervisor must be the actual person observing and physically present in the lab with the minor.

Environmental Health and Safety

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