Minors in Laboratories

Mandatory MSU Requirements

Before accepting youth volunteers or employees to your facility, you must familiarize yourself with Michigan State University’s Office of Youth Programs.

These updated University requirements must be met before you are allowed to work or volunteer in MSU facilities. New requirements include criminal and driver background checks for adults and detailed operational requirements as defined by Michigan State University’s Office of the Provost.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety strongly supports educational opportunities for minors in laboratory and research venues. The EHS guidance document is intended to be in addition to the above mandatory University requirements to offer program structure and accountability for minors working near chemical, radiological, or biological hazards.

EHS Guidance for Minors in Laboratories

  • Preplanning

    Check in advance that your Department and Chairperson are comfortable with middle school or high school students in your facilities.

    Be sure that you, the minor and the minor’s parents complete the Minors in Laboratories Form (PDF) and return a copy of it to EHS before beginning the work.

    There may be safety or security issues in neighboring areas that need to be respected. Clarify with your colleagues about areas that may be off limits.

  • Online Training
    Minors who work or volunteer will need to complete the same online training modules as your regular employees. It is not necessary to have an MSU NetID to participate in the trainings. Visit the Office of Regulatory Affairs training page or contact EHS at 517-355-0153 for more details.
  • Site-Specific Training

    Show minors where they may and may not go in your building.

    Complete a Site-Specific Checklist (PDF) for each minor, whether they are paid employees, interns or unpaid volunteers. Review with them safety basics such as how to use an eyewash, fire exits, and other items on the checklist.

    Do not allow minors to use highly hazardous chemicals, biohazards, human/animal pathogens, controlled substances, radioactive isotopes and human derived materials.

    Clearly indicate areas of the lab that may contain equipment, chemicals, biohazards, or machinery that minors may not use.

    Due to security and allergen issues, MSU EHS does not recommend having minors handle live animals or visit animal housing facilities.

    In addition, MSU EHS does not recommend minors prepare hazardous waste containers or dispose of hazardous waste into containers.

  • Personal Protective Equipment

    All people in laboratories (employees, interns, visitors, etc.) must wear Personal Protective Equipment while in the lab. Be a good example and always wear your safety glasses and lab coat.

    As always, should an accident, spill, or injury occur, dial 911 for assistance immediately and be sure to report the details to your Department administration as soon as possible.

Criteria for Admittance of Minors to Laboratories

Per the MSU Executive Health and Safety Committee, persons under 18 years of age are not allowed in Michigan State University laboratories where hazardous substances (chemicals, biologicals, etc.) or physical hazards (very hot or cold temperatures, laser light, electromagnetic frequencies, etc.) are present except under the following circumstances:

  • 1. Employees or Formal Volunteers

    The minor:

    • Is employed* by the University in accordance with all applicable policies, or has been formally accepted as a volunteer; and
    • Has been trained in safe laboratory procedures**; and
    • Has been provided and is utilizing appropriate personal protection equipment; and
    • Has adult supervision; -or-


    * Michigan Labor laws define “minor” as a person under 18 years of age, not including: (1) an individual 16 years of age or older who has completed the requirements for graduation from high school; (2) an individual 17 years of age or older who has passed the GED; or (3) an emancipated individual.  MCLA §§ 409.116, 409.117.  Minors may not be employed in positions that involve working directly with hazardous or radioactive materials.  MCLA § 409.103.

    ** Training might include, as the risk warrants: OSHA Hazard Communication; Bloodborne Pathogens; Accident / Injury Reporting; Emergency Preparedness and Chemical Hygiene; Site specific equipment operation and physical hazards.

  • 2. Enrollees in University Classes

    The minor is enrolled in a University class with a laboratory component and the class includes training in safe laboratory procedures **; -or-


    ** Training might include, as the risk warrants: OSHA Hazard Communication; Bloodborne Pathogens; Accident / Injury Reporting; Emergency Preparedness and Chemical Hygiene; Site specific equipment operation and physical hazards.

  • 3. Participants in University-Sponsored Programs

    The minor:

    • Is participating in a University-sponsored program; and
    • Has been trained in safe laboratory procedures **; and
    • Has been provided and is utilizing appropriate personal protection equipment; and
    • Has adult supervision; and
    • Has the following on file both with the host department and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS):
      1. a Consent Form (PDF) signed by a parent or legal guardian
      2. a Certification Form (PDF) signed by the person responsible for the relevant laboratory

     

    ** Training might include, as the risk warrants: OSHA Hazard Communication; Bloodborne Pathogens; Accident / Injury Reporting; Emergency Preparedness and Chemical Hygiene; Site specific equipment operation and physical hazards.

  • 4. Note on Radiation-generating Equipment, Radioactive Materials

    If radiation-generating equipment or radioactive materials are used in the laboratory, contact EHS for information on training and other requirements. (355-0153)

Under no circumstances shall infants, toddlers, or children too young or unable to understand safety training be permitted in Michigan State University laboratories except as patients or research study participants with the signed consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Resources

Forms

For more information, please contact MSU Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 517-355-0153.