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Minors in Research Laboratories1 Policy

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • (Approved by the Chancellor, March 19, 2012)

The concern of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) for laboratory safety extends not only to employees and students but also to any persons visiting or participating in University laboratories, especially minors (those under the age of 18), who may potentially be exposed to hazardous materials, including chemical, biological and radioactive materials, thermal dangers, compressed gases, electrical hazards, lasers, and sharp objects.

Children Under the Age of Twelve

Children under the age of 12 are permitted in University research laboratories only when they are participants (subjects of study) in an approved research study; children under the age of 12 are not permitted in University research laboratories for any other reason. Laboratories must never be utilized as a substitute for day care or other child care options due to the risk presented to a child's developing immune/neurological systems and a child's general inability to recognize hazards. Violation of this rule by a University employee may lead to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, termination.

Visitors Ages Twelve to Seventeen

Persons between the ages of 12 and 17 may visit research laboratories as observers as part of officially sanctioned educational programs for middle school, high school or college students or other supervised educational activities that have been approved in writing in advance by the Department Chair or designee. Visiting minors must be under the direct supervision of a University employee who is trained and knowledgeable of the area's hazards. No minor shall be present during any activity with the potential for exposure to hazardous materials. Prior to allowing minor visitors to tour or observe in a lab, the supervising employee must conduct a basic safety orientation, including both general safety information and any hazards particular to the lab in question.

Laboratory Participants Ages Fourteen to Seventeen

UNCG is committed to providing educational opportunities, when feasible, to minors ages 14-17 participating in officially sanctioned educational programs. Principal Investigators are allowed to have minors ages 14-17 participate in and perform educational activities and routine education-related duties in a research laboratory. However, minors may not perform duties where they are required to directly handle radioactive materials, materials at biosafety level 2 or higher (including rDNA, human blood, tissues or cell cultures, or pathogens) or research animals. Minors ages 14 to 17 may handle lower risk chemicals and biological materials in limited circumstances, with proper safety equipment as necessary, at the discretion of the principal investigator.

Before a minor may participate in educational activities in a research laboratory:

Laboratory Participants Ages Fourteen to Seventeen Who are UNCG Students

Minors ages 14-17 who are enrolled as UNCG students may participate in research laboratory activities as part of their enrolled coursework. They will follow these same procedures.

Related materials

The forms linked in this section are in PDF format and require a reader such as Adobe Reader.


Comments or questions? Email the Policy Administrator.

  1. Research Laboratory: An area where basic and applied scientific research is conducted and which often harbors and uses hazardous materials, such as chemicals, biological materials and radiological materials. Additional hazards, such as high voltage power supplies, high power lasers and other equipment or process hazards such as burning, crushing and falling that may also be present in laboratories. It is not an instructional, computer or academic laboratory.