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Minors in Research Labs

Principal Investigators, Faculty, Mentors and Supervisors have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all Minors in research laboratories. In order to provide a safe work environment, the following shall apply:

  1. No one under 14 years old will be permitted to work in a Research Laboratory.
  2. Minors must be supervised at all times while in a laboratory.
  3. All Minors must have a signed Parent/Guardian consent form.
  4. Minors aged 14-15 years old are prohibited from working with certain highly hazardous materials (see Hazardous Material Restrictions below)

Training Checklist for Principle Investigators, Faculty, Mentors and Supervisors :

  • Supervisors and Faculty/Mentors must have completed all appropriate EH&S training before work begins. The Laboratory Supervisor Safety (ELS 017) class is required for anyone mentoring a Minor. Other EH&S classes are required for anyone working in a laboratory and are dependent on what hazardous materials they work with:
    • Chemical Safety (ELS 002) [Required for anyone who works with chemicals]
    • Biological Safety (ELS 003) [Required for anyone who works with biological material]
    • Bloodborne Pathogens (EOS 004) [Required for anyone who works with human source material]
    • Hazardous Waste Disposal (ENV 001 & ENV 005) [Required for anyone who generates hazardous chemical waste or regulated medical waste]
    • Shipping of Dangerous Goods (EOS 016) [Required for anyone who transports, causes to be transported or ships hazardous materials, infectious and/or diagnostic specimens]

See schedule and course material for other courses that may be required. Check your SOLAR training records to see what EH&S classes you have taken.

Requirements Minor students must fulfill before beginning to work in a laboratory:

  • Minor must have EH&S training appropriate to their lab work before beginning work with hazardous materials. They can attend any of the regularly scheduled EH&S training or they can attend the EH&S classes specific to High School students scheduled at the beginning of the summer.
  • Obtain authorization for the Minor to work in your lab from your Department Chair or higher authority (e.g. Dean). This entire process is documented on the Stony Brook University Human Resources Volunteer Guidelines.
    • Department creates a memo outlining the following: nature of volunteerism, expected duration, campus contact person overseeing volunteer (name and telephone number). Contact your VP Coordinator or Department Administrator for a copy of the Volunteer, Non-Salaried Agreement Letter.
    • Volunteer signs the Volunteer/Non-Salaried Agreement Letter, completes Demographic Form, and provides Social Security Number.
    • Submit required paperwork to the division's VP Coordinator/Dean's Office for processing. Note: This is also the paperwork that allows the Minor to receive a University ID Badge.
  • Obtain signed Parent/Guardian  Consent Form, including Emergency Contact information. Keep this form in the laboratory.
  • Minors must obtain a University Visitor/Volunteer ID Badge and are required to have the badge with them at all times and may be asked to wear their University ID Badge.
  • Determine the hazardous materials that will be used by the Minor. Minors must not be allowed to handle certain highly hazardous materials (chemical, biological and radiological). Use this list when writing the Lab Safety Protocols.
  • Ensure written Lab Safety Protocols, including use of hazardous materials, are developed and reviewed with the Minor. 
  • Provide the Minor and Supervisor with all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and require that it is used.
  • Ensure that the Minor is directly supervised at all times by a qualified Supervisor. A qualified Supervisor is an employee of Stony Brook University and must be a Graduate Student (RA, TA, GA) or higher.
  • Hold the Supervisor and Minor accountable for all safety rules.
  • Notify EH&S of Faculty/PI, Supervisor and lab locations where Minors will be working.
  • Ensure all accidents are reported to EH&S using the Student Accident/Injury Report form.

Hazardous Materials Restrictions for Minors

Minors aged 14-15 years old are prohibited from working with:

  • Particularly Hazardous Substances 
    • 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). The current NTP and IARC lists can be found on the NIOSH web page "Occupational Cancer"
    • reproductive hazard (mutagen or teratogen) or other chemical restrictions
  • Biological material requiring BSL 2 or BSL 3 containment
    • Exception: Human cells, tissue, and blood can be used as long as it is not known to be infectious. Minor must receive biological safety training and use BSL 2 work practices and procedures for handling human material.
  • Radioactive material (RAM) without prior RSO authorization
    • If Minor is working in an Authorized Space, they must have Radiological Awareness training.
    • Minors may work with Radioactive Material (RAM) with authorization:
      • PI must request in writing permission from RSO. Request must list specific radioactive material that the Minor will use.
      • Parent/Guardian must sign the specific RAM consent form.
      • Minor must complete the 4 hour Radiation Orientation prior to working with RAM.
      • Dosimetry may be required and is at the discretion of the RSO.
  • X-ray generating equipment
    • Although a Minor is prohibited from directly operating X-ray generating equipment, they are permitted to observe the equipment being used by an Authorized User. Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) permission and calculation of the potential exposure is required before the Minor is allowed to observe the equipment in use.
  • Nonhuman primates
  • Minors 16 years old and older that have demonstrated to the Faculty/Mentor 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.

Related Documents

Minors in Research Labs Checklist