Guidelines for Minors in Laboratories

These guidelines specify the health and safety requirements for minors while in University laboratories. These requirements and restrictions apply regardless of whether the minor is present as a visitor, volunteer, employee, or registered student at the University. The goal of this policy is to ensure the safety of minors in our University laboratories while encouraging research projects that involve youth.


  • “Minor” means a person under 18 years of age, including registered students at the University of Montana.
  • “Laboratory” means a research or clinical setting where scientific research or instruction is conducted.  Laboratories often contain hazardous materials (e.g., hazardous chemicals, biohazardous agents, radioisotopes, etc.) and/or physical safety hazards (e.g., lasers, moving machinery parts, extreme temperature, electrical apparatus, etc.).
  • “Laboratory Supervisor” means the individual (e.g., principal investigator, faculty educator, lab manager, etc.) that has direct operational control over the Laboratory.


The Laboratory Supervisor is responsible for the health and safety of minors in his/her Laboratory. This includes the correct training and use of laboratory equipment, laboratory supplies and personal protective equipment. The Laboratory Supervisor may delegate supervision of Minors to trained and knowledgeable lab personnel, however the Laboratory Supervisor retains primary responsibility.  Minors may only be in Laboratories under direct supervision, they are not permitted to be alone in the lab.  Minors may not have physical access to a Laboratory during unsupervised times.


Minors visiting Laboratories should be advised of any lab-specific hazards (e.g., chemical, biological, radioactive, physical, etc.) that exist in the lab and the procedures for reporting and responding to accidents while in the lab.   Visiting Minors must be supervised at all times while in the lab.

Minors working in Laboratories are required to complete all appropriate safety training before beginning lab work.   Lab Safety Training materials and a corresponding Quiz are available at EHRM Lab Safety.  Minors must be supervised at all times while working in the lab.

Consent and Acknowledgement

The parent of a Minor working a Laboratory must sign and return a Parental Consent form before a Minor can begin work in the Lab.  The Minor must sign and return Student Acknowledgement of Safety Requirements form before beginning work in the Lab.  


The Laboratory Supervisor must maintain a student file for all Minors containing their training records, a signed Parental Consent form, and a signed Student Acknowledgement form.  The student file must be accurate and complete at all times the Minor is working in the Laboratory.


Minors under the age of 16 are prohibited from working with:

Particularly Hazardous Substances, such as:

  • acutely toxic - LD50 oral ≤50 mg/kg; LD50 contact ≤ 200 mg/kg or LC50 inhalation ≤ 200 ppm
  • carcinogen - Any substance that is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen, or is listed under the category "known to be carcinogens" in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) or is listed under Group 1 "carcinogenic to humans", Group 2A or 2B "reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs (IARC). 
  • reproductive hazard (mutagen or teratogen) or other chemical restrictions
  • Biological material requiring BSL 2 containment (ABSA Risk Group Classification).
  • Radioactive material without prior authorization. 

Minors may work with Radioactive Material with authorization.  Laboratory Supervisor must request written permission listing specific radioactive material that the Minor will use.  Minor must work in an Authorized Space, and they must attend the Radiation Safety class (offered quarterly by EHRM).

X-Ray Generating Equipment

Although a Minor is prohibited from directly operating X-ray generating equipment, the Minor is permitted to observe the equipment being used by a trained, authorized user. Written permission and calculation of the potential exposure is required before the Minor is allowed to observe the equipment in use.

BSL2 Biological Material

Minors 16 years old and older that have demonstrated to the Laboratory Supervisor a proficiency in techniques and an understanding of the hazards and risks of the material are permitted to work with Particularly Hazardous Substances and BSL 2 Biological Material.