Visitors and Volunteers to the University of Michigan-Dearborn Laboratories


Unsupervised volunteers and visitors, as well as children and pets, create a risk for injury and additional liability on the University.  The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) recommends that a responsible person appointed by the Principal Investigator (PI), the Lab/Facility Manager, or the Department Head should supervise all visitors and volunteers when they enter a laboratory to work or visit. Departmental policy to this effect will reduce, or eliminate, the risk of personal injury to visitors in research laboratories and the risk of damage to projects and property.


This Guideline applies to all academic, clinical and service units involved in laboratory operations.

Related Documents

UM Standard Practice Guide (SPG) 201.05, 605.01, & 605.02


Other–visitors employed by another company who have been given permission by their employer and the UM-Dearborn department to work at the University for learning purposes.
Research Facility–any space within the University building where clinical, research, production, or laboratory support operations are conducted including any space where research animals are housed or supported.
Responsible Person–any person approved by the Principal Investigator (PI), the Lab/Facility Manager, or the Department Head to oversee and/or supervise the activities of a visitor/volunteer while in the research facility.
Visitor/Volunteer–any person not employed by, or associated with, the University who enters a research facility or laboratory on campus for tour or work. This would also apply to UM-Dearborn employees touring laboratories at the University as visitors.


Enforcement of this Guideline will be primarily the responsibility of the PI’s, the Lab/Facility Managers, and the Department Head with compliance and assurance by Facilities Management, EHS, and the Department of Public Safety (DPS).


Approval of a Visit
Anyone wishing to bring a visitor/volunteer/other into research facilities must first obtain the written approval of their PI, Lab/Facility Manager, or the Department Head. Unauthorized visitors will be reported to the PI, Lab/Facility Manager, and/or the Department Head.
The request for approval of a visitor/volunteer/other must be submitted in writing to the PI, Lab/Facility Manager, and/or the Department Head at least one week in advance of the planned visit.
Approval of the visit must be received by the responsible person prior to the visit. Either the visitor or the responsible person must be able to produce the approval upon request.
Records of the approval and visit will be kept by the research facility for at least one year.
Short Duration Visits
If the visit is to be of short duration (up to a day), the request for approval must describe the purpose of the visit and who will be the responsible person to oversee the visit.
Extended Visits
If the visit is to be of long duration (more than a day), the request for approval must describe the purpose, research activities, responsible person, and specific plans to ensure the ongoing supervision and safety of the volunteer, including safety training. EHS recommends that the UM-Dearborn Department utilize a waiver form (Appendix A). Each visitor/volunteer/other would need to sign this form.
Prudent Precautions
Do not allow visitors, including children and pets, in laboratories where hazardous substances are stored, in use, or where hazardous activities are in progress unless accompanied by the responsible person or their designee. Students from primary and secondary schools occasionally may enter laboratories as part of educational programs under carefully controlled and supervised conditions. Colleagues, prospective students, and others may be invited into laboratories for legitimate academic and research purposes. Each individual working in a laboratory should prudently evaluate the risks to visitors, especially to persons of increased risk such as children and immunosuppressed individuals. This may be especially important in facilities such as animal quarters.

Technical Support

Technical support will be provided by EHS and the Office of Risk Management (ORM).

Policy owned by: Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)

Last reviewed date: 10/2019

Last updated date: 9/2014

Next review date: 7/1/2024