Laboratory Safety Manual - 2011
III. Fundamentals of Laboratory Safety
- Risk Assessment
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Personal Protective Equipment Policy
- Chemical Procurement, Transport, and Storage
- Storage Cabinets
- Signs and Labels
- Occupational Health Program
- Chemical Waste Disposal Program
- Laboratory Evaluations
- Minors in Laboratories
1. Risk Assessment
A risk assessment should be done during the planning stage of any new or modified project. The risk assessment reviews the hazards associated with the project. This assessment should review the chemical properties, reactions/byproducts, procedural hazards, equipment used, potential routes of exposure as well as control measures to mitigate the hazards such as substitution using less hazardous chemicals or micro-scaling projects. It is recommended that risk assessment process be documented.
Resources for developing a risk assessment include reviewing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), consulting published resources and contacting Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).
Risk assessment guidance can be found at Appendix E.
2. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Once a risk assessment is completed for a project, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) can be developed. SOPs should include:
- Personal protective equipment to be used
- Engineering controls such as fume hoods or other safety equipment
- Work practice controls such as designated areas or work restrictions
- Monitoring (if needed)
- Occupational Health requirements (if needed)
- Training requirements
- Storage, cleanup and waste disposal
- Emergency procedures
An example SOP can be found at Appendix E.
The university requires that all individuals that work in a laboratory are adequately informed about the physical and health hazards present in the laboratory, the known risks, and what to do if an accident occurs.
- Site Specific Training (OH 102)
Every laboratory worker must be trained to know the location and proper use of available personal protective clothing and equipment. The laboratory supervisor is responsible for providing information to their personnel about any hazards present in the lab. Document the training on the OH102 form and submit to EHS. This information must be provided at the time of a lab person's initial assignment and prior to any assignments involving new potential chemical exposure situations. The following lists the information that should be provided by the PI/Lab Supervisor:
- Lab-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the safe handling and use of hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radioactive).
- Physical and health hazards (acute and chronic) associated with the materials.
- Signs and symptoms associated with exposures to hazardous materials in the lab.
- Methods and observation techniques to determine the presence or release of hazardous materials.
- Procedures for using safety equipment including fume hood, biosafety cabinets, special ventilation or other equipment.
- Location of signage including safety signs, emergency numbers and the Texas Hazard-Communication Employee notification poster.
- The lab’s housekeeping procedures.
- Procedures for transporting hazardous materials safely across campus.
- Inform personnel how to register for EHS safety training classes.
- Storage location of chemicals and their segregation by compatibility.
- Requirements for chemical labeling on primary and secondary containers.
- Use, storage, and handling of gas cylinders and cryogenics.
- Use of hazardous chemicals that warrant exposure monitoring.
- Inform personnel how to request monitoring by EHS.
- Location of machine guards and their use.
- PPE requirements for personnel including; selection, maintenance and use.
- How personnel can obtain PPE and how to dispose of PPE after use.
- How to respond to an emergency including; exposures, first aid and evacuation route.
- Location of emergency equipment including; spill kits, fire-fighting equipment, alarms, emergency shut-offs, eyewashes and safety showers.
- Emergency procedures including how to clean up spills.
- How to contact EHS in the event of an accident/injury.
- Procedures for proper waste disposal including waste location and process for requesting waste disposal.
- Procedure for accessing and using Material Safety Data Sheets and institutional Laboratory Safety Manuals (General, Radiation, Biosafety).
- Occupational Health requirements such as medical evaluation, respirator fit-testing, or vaccinations.
Personnel must be re-trained when new chemical hazards are introduced into their workplace, or when new hazards are updated on applicable Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), as well as upon assignment to different workplaces that involve new chemical hazards or protective measures. Site-specific training must be conducted by the PI or lab supervisor.
In addition to the site specific training that is the responsibility of each Lab Supervisor, the following hazardous materials training is offered by EHS and is required for all lab personnel (graduate students, staff, faculty and visitors) that engage in laboratory activities:
- Hazard Communication Training (OH 101) Online
Hazard Communication training is required for all personnel of UT Austin, including faculty, staff, students and visitors who have the potential for exposure to hazardous materials. Any work in a laboratory using hazardous materials meets the definition of the requirement. EHS offers this training on a regular schedule and it is available online. Training is required before the personnel can be assigned work in or around hazardous materials.
OH 101 training takes approximately 1.5 hours and includes:
- Central requirements of the act, including training, chemical labels, and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
- Spill clean-up and chemical disposal procedures
- Chemical storage guidelines
- Hazards specific to different chemical groups
- Laboratory Safety Training (OH 201) Online
Laboratory safety training is required for all personnel of UT Austin, including faculty, staff, and students who may work in a laboratory using hazardous chemicals or biological materials. This training must be received prior to or within 30 days after the beginning of a laboratory assignment. EHS offers this training on a regular schedule and it is available online.
OH 201 training takes approximately two hours and includes:
- Safety equipment and practices
- Emergency procedures
- Emergency equipment
- Waste disposal
- Fire Extinguisher Training (FF 205)
Provided by Fire Prevention Services, fire extinguisher training, with live fire suppression, is required for all laboratory workers.
- FF 205 training covers:
- What to do in the event of a fire
- The behavior of fire and how it spreads
- The classes of fires
- The proper selection and use of a fire extinguisher
This training program will familiarize laboratory workers with the general principles of fire extinguisher use; give them confidence in their ability to operate extinguishers; and remove fears associated with putting out a fire by showing them successful fire extinguishers use.
- Hazardous Waste Management Training (OH 202) Online
Hazardous waste management training is required for all laboratory personnel, including faculty, staff, and graduate students where hazardous chemicals or biological materials are in use. Every teaching lab must have one or more individuals that have received this training and are responsible for following the procedures included in the training. EHS only offers this training online.
- The training takes approximately 1 hour and includes:
- Hazardous waste definitions and regulatory environment
- Spill clean-up and chemical waste disposal procedures
- Chemical waste storage and segregation guidelines
- Waste minimization
- Drain disposal
- Bloodborne Pathogens and Biosafety Training (OH 218, OH 207) Online
Bloodborne pathogens and biosafety training is required for personnel of UT Austin, including faculty, staff, and graduate students who work in laboratories where infectious agents or human or non-human primate body fluids are in use. EHS offers this training on a regular schedule and can arrange special sessions with advance notice. This training is also available online.
OH 218 and 207 training takes less than two hours and may include, as appropriate to the attendees:
- Definition of a bloodborne pathogen
- Universal precautions
- Spill clean-up
- Practices and equipment required for work at different biosafety levels
- Other Lab Safety Training Classes
Other laboratory safety classes include:
- Compressed Gases and Cryogens (OH 204)
- Laser Safety (OH 304)
- Radiation Safety (OH 301)
- X-Ray Safety (OH 306)
- Checking Your Training History Online
You can check your training history online at: https://utdirect.utexas.edu/txclass/index.WBX
4. Personal Protective Equipment Policy
It is the Principal Investigator and/or Lab Supervisor's responsibility to provide all necessary personal protective clothing for laboratory workers. The university is responsible for providing basic safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, eyewashes and safety showers.
Refer to the Basic Rules and Procedures for Working with Chemicals section of this manual for further information on personal protection requirements.
Personal Clothing and Shoes in Labs
Personal clothing provides an additional layer of protection between PPE and the skin. There have been a number of laboratory injuries where adequate personal clothing would have reduced the extent of an exposure.
EHS recommends that at a minimum, laboratory personnel who work with hazardous materials or are in the presence of hazardous materials that are in use wear a combination of proper personal clothing and PPE such as lab coats so essentially the skin is covered from the shoulders to the hands and feet.
EHS requires that closed-toed shoes be worn at all times in the laboratory. All shoes worn in the laboratory must have slip-resistant, non-absorbent soles. Sandals and perforated shoes are not allowed in the laboratory. Proper shoes reduce the potential for exposure to chemicals and injuries from broken glass and dropped items.
Personnel who want to wear shorts/sandals to campus should bring an additional change of clothing to work in the lab.
5. Chemical Procurement, Transport, and Storage
Before a chemical is received, information on proper handling, storage, and disposal should be reviewed. Refer to the appropriate MSDS for further information. No container may be accepted into a laboratory without an appropriate identifying label. This label cannot be removed, defaced or damaged in any way.
Toxic chemicals must be segregated in a well-identified area with local exhaust ventilation. Chemicals which are highly toxic or chemicals whose containers have been opened must be in unbreakable secondary containers. For example, place containers of concentrated acids or bases into acid cabinets or plastic tubs to help contain any leakage.
Stored chemicals should be examined periodically (at least annually) for expiration dates, replacement, deterioration and container integrity. The labels must be checked to ensure they are still readable. If labels begin to fall off the container, attach new labels. If a label is becoming unreadable, affix a new label to the container with the identity of the contents, product date, health hazards (including target organs and manufacturer).
EHS can also make labels for chemical containers on request.
When chemicals are hand carried, place the container in an outside (secondary) container or bucket. Container carriers for breakable containers such as glass can be purchased through a variety of vendors. These secondary containers provide protection to the bottle. They also help to minimize spillage if the bottle breaks.
Use a cart if transporting more than 4 liters or two bottles of a chemical. When transporting chemicals on a cart, use a box or other secondary container to prevent containers from breaking or falling off the cart.
Freight-only elevators (when available) should be used when transporting chemicals. Avoid using stairs.
Chemicals that are shipped off-campus may need special packaging and may need to be shipped by trained certified personnel. Contact EHS for assistance with shipping chemicals.
- Laboratory Chemical Storage (See Chemical Segregation Chart Appendix B)
Read the label carefully before storing a chemical. All chemicals must be stored according to their hazard class. Note that this is a simplified scheme and that in some instances chemicals of the same category may be incompatible.
Store all chemicals by their hazard class, and NOT IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER. Storing chemicals by alphabetical order will often result in the placement of incompatible chemicals being next to one another. Only within the segregation groups can chemicals be stored in alphabetical order. If a chemical exhibits more than one hazard, segregate by using the characteristic that exhibits the primary hazard.
Do not store chemicals or combustible materials near heat sources such as ovens, Bunsen burners, hot plates or steam pipes. Also, do not store chemicals in direct sunlight.
Date chemicals when received and first opened. If a particular chemical can become unsafe while in storage, (e.g., diethyl ether) then an expiration date should also be included. Keep in mind that expiration dates set by the manufacturer do not necessarily imply that the chemical is safe to use up to that date.
- Do not use work surfaces as permanent storage for chemicals. In these locations, the chemicals could easily be knocked over, incompatible chemicals may be alongside one another, and the chemicals will be unprotected in the event of a fire.
- Each chemical must have a proper designated storage location and be returned to their proper place after use.
- Make sure chemical lids are tightly closed to prevent chemicals from being released into the lab.
- Inspect your chemicals routinely for any signs of deterioration and for the integrity of the label. State law requires that all chemicals must be clearly labeled. Another benefit of labeling is to prevent chemicals from becoming "unknowns." (See Section III.7, Signs and Labels, for more information.)
- Avoid storing any chemicals in glass containers on the floor, unless positioned in such a way that they cannot be broken, (i.e. pushed under a table).
- Inspect shelving periodically to ensure that the shelving can support the chemicals.
- Do not use fume hoods as a permanent storage location for chemicals, with the exception of highly odorous chemicals that require ventilation. Some chemical fume hoods have ventilated storage cabinets underneath for storage of frequently used chemicals that require ventilation. Also, avoid placing chemical containers on the edge of the fume hood, as these can easily fall and break.
- Promptly contact EHS for the disposal of any old, expired, or unused chemicals. http://www.utexas.edu/safety/ehs/forms/chemrfd2.pdf
- Chemicals that require refrigeration must be sealed with tight-fitting caps and securely placed within the refrigerator. Lab-safe refrigerators/freezers must be used for cold storage of flammables. Refrigerators not specified as lab-safe can be a potential ignition source.
- Do not store hazardous chemicals above eye level. If the container breaks, the contents can spill onto your face and upper body.
- Do not store excessive amounts of chemicals in the lab. Buying chemicals in large quantities creates a serious fire hazard and limits work space.
- Chemical containers should not extend over the edge of shelves or be packed in too tightly.
6. Storage Cabinets
Specialized types of storage cabinets must be used in laboratories in order to separate incompatible chemicals from one another and to safely store all chemicals. All chemicals must be stored in a secure container, preferably within enclosed cabinets. Periodically check shelves and supports for corrosion.
- Flammable Storage Cabinets
Flammables not in active use must be stored inside fire resistant storage cabinets. Flammable storage cabinets should be used for all labs that use flammable chemicals. The cabinet design must meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30 & Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1910.106 standards.
Flammable storage cabinets are designed to protect the contents from the heat and flames of external fire rather than to confine burning liquids within. They can perform their protective function only if used and maintained properly.
Cabinets are typically designed with double-walled construction and doors which are two inches above the base (the cabinet is liquid-proof up to that point). Cabinet doors should be self-closing. Keep the doors closed.
- Acid Storage Cabinets
Acids should be kept in acid storage cabinets specially designed to hold them. Such cabinets are made of plastic or metal coated with epoxy enamel to protect against corrosion. If not provided as part of the cabinet, use polyethylene trays to contain small spills. Plastic tubs in a wooden cabinet are considered an acceptable substitute when acid cabinets are not available.
Nitric acid should always be stored in its own acid tray or in a separate acid cabinet compartment.
- Compressed Gas Cylinder Cabinets
All compressed gas cylinders having a NFPA Health Hazard Rating of 3 or 4 (e.g. ammonia, chlorine, phosgene) and those with a Health Hazard Rating of 2 but no physiological warning properties (e.g. carbon monoxide) must be kept in a gas cylinder cabinet. EHS can help you determine the Health Hazard Rating of compressed gases.
Full size cylinders must be stored in a gas cylinder cabinet while smaller cylinders, e.g., lecture bottles, can be stored in a chemical fume hood, a storage cabinet under the fume hood (if ventilated), or some other ventilated enclosure. No more than two small cylinders should be stored in single cabinet. When stored in a cabinet or hood, small cylinders must be positioned and secured so that they will not fall out and be fixed to a stationary object.
Compressed gas cylinder cabinets must meet NFPA 55 and the following requirements: negative pressure in relation to the surrounding area with the exhaust from the cabinet going to the outside of the building, self-closing doors, and internally sprinklered or installed in a sprinklered area.
Cylinders stored in gas cylinder cabinets or other ventilated enclosures must be secured at all times. Cylinders should be firmly secured at their center of gravity, not near the top or bottom.
Hazardous gases include:
1,3 - Butadiene
Hydrogen Chloride, anhydrous
7. Signs and Labels
Prominent signs and labels of the following types should be used:
- Laboratory signs, including emergency contacts and chemical inventory, must be posted outside each work area
- Emergency Instruction signs must be prominently posted on the wall outside the lab.
- Emergency Instruction signs must be prominently posted on the wall outside the lab.
- Chemical containers must be labeled, showing container contents and its associated hazards.
- Labels on all chemical containers should not be removed or defaced (unless the container is empty and ready for disposal).
- Secondary Containers
- When a chemical is transferred from the original container into another container, e.g. a solvent wash bottle, for other than immediate use, it is called a secondary container.
- Secondary containers must be labeled with the name of the chemical (common name or abbreviation or chemical structure). This does not apply to reaction vessels or to bench top research apparatus in active use.
- The PI or Lab Supervisor is responsible for compliance with labeling chemical containers.
- EHS Waste Disposal Tags must be filled out and affixed to waste containers to identify the container as "Waste.”
- Notification Posters
- Personnel notification posters describing rights under the Texas Hazard Communication Act must be posted in common building areas.
- Posters should be a current version.
- Location signs for safety equipment, first aid equipment, and exits are recommended.
- Warning signs are posted at areas or equipment where special or unusual hazards exist.
- Hazardous Chemical Inventory
Maintaining current records of hazardous chemicals assists in implementing proper storage and safety procedures and is necessary for emergency response pre-planning, both by EHS and the City of Austin Emergency Services. It is the Lab Supervisor’s responsibility to keep an updated hazardous chemical inventory on file with EHS. This inventory should be updated periodically.
Lab personnel should also keep usage records of high-risk substances.
- Laboratory Incidents
Lab supervisors should document and report any lab incidents to EHS as soon as possible. Personnel who are exposed/injured in a laboratory should contact Occupational Health and complete a First Report of Injury or Illness form. This form is available from Human Resources.
Any medical records associated with a person's exposure to hazardous materials will be maintained by The university in accordance with state and federal regulations. Occupational Health will maintain medical records related to laboratory safety.
EHS maintains records whenever monitoring of hazardous materials is performed.
- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provide information on hazardous chemicals and must be readily available for all hazardous chemicals in the lab. MSDS are available online and from EHS. If paper copies are maintained, they should be quickly available.
Information on the university’s Hazard Communication plan can be found at:
9. Occupational Health Program
- Procedures for Authorizing Medical Treatment
It is the responsibility of every Lab Supervisor to promptly contact EHS when a suspected exposure to hazardous materials has occurred. The Lab Supervisor will provide details of the exposure, including the identity of the material, a description of the conditions under which the exposure occurred, a description of the signs and symptoms of the exposure, and the MSDS.
In the event of serious adverse symptoms or injury, medical attention should be sought prior to notification of EHS. When the need is not immediate, EHS will advise exposed personnel to contact Occupational Health. This notification will request that employees contact the HealthPoint Occupational Health Program (OHP) for consultation at (512) 471-4OHP (4647) and that students in a non-employment status consult with a qualified medical provider for consultation.
A medical examination or consultation for lab personnel will be made available by UT Austin under the following circumstances:
- Whenever a lab employee develops signs or symptoms associated with a hazardous chemical to which that person may have been exposed in the laboratory
- Where exposure monitoring reveals an exposure level routinely above the action level (or in the absence of an action level, the Permissible Exposure Level PEL) for an OSHA regulated substance, for which there are exposure monitoring and medical surveillance requirements; medical surveillance will be established for the affected personnel as prescribed by the particular standard
- Whenever an event takes place in the work area such as a spill, leak, explosion, or other occurrence resulting in the likelihood of a hazardous exposure, the affected personnel will be provided an opportunity for a medical consultation. The consultation will determine if there is a need for additional medical services.
If known, EHS will provide details of the exposure (identity of the hazardous material, a description of the conditions under which the exposure occurred, a description of signs and symptoms of exposure, and the applicable MSDS, and any other relevant information) to the health care provider.
For medical emergencies, call 911 and for transport to the nearest hospital. If the injury involves an animal, chemical or biological exposure on main campus, request transport to St. David's Hospital.
For minor work related injuries, employees may seek treatment from the HealthPoint OHP clinic located in the North Office Building (NOA), room 3.214. Call first for an appointment at (512) 471-4OHP(4647) or email HealthPoint.OHP@austin.utexas.edu
For non-emergency injuries that require treatment during periods of OHP closure, you may contact any health care provider including your own physician so long as they accept workers' compensation. Note: University Health Services (UHS) does not accept workers’ compensation or work related injuries. Students in a non-employment status may seek urgent care from UHS (see sub-section 9c below).
Urgent care clinics that accept workers’ compensation include but are not limited to:
- Physician's Written Opinion
If a medical consultation or exam is performed, HealthPoint OHP will obtain a written opinion from the examining physician which includes the following information:
- Any recommendation for further medical follow-up
- The results of the medical examination and any associated tests
- Any medical condition which may be revealed in the course of the examination which may place the lab person at increased risk as a result of exposure to a hazardous chemical found in the lab
- A statement that the lab person has been informed by the physician of the results of the consultation or medical examination and any medical condition that may require further examination or treatment
- University Health Services
During normal university hours, UHS on main campus is available for routine care of students who are injured or ill in their student capacity. UHS does not treat work injuries. UHS maintains an Urgent Care Clinic open for limited hours in the evenings and on weekends. During these times, a small after-hours fee is charged.
Hours and advice can be obtained by calling the UHS 24-hour Nurse Advice Line at (512) 475-NURS (512-475-6877). If care is needed that UHS cannot provide or when UHS is closed, students may seek care from local emergency rooms that are in close proximity to the university, e.g., St. David’s, Seton, Brackenridge, etc.
10. Chemical Waste Disposal Program
Chemical wastes are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Laboratory Supervisors are responsible for advising laboratory workers on how to handle all wastes generated in laboratory operations.
Information on the disposal of hazardous waste can be found at:
- Chemical Waste Containers
Containers used for hazardous waste must be in good condition, free of leaks, and compatible with the waste being stored in them. A waste container should be opened only when it is necessary to add waste, and should otherwise be closed. Hazardous waste must not be placed in unwashed containers that previously held an incompatible material (see chart in Appendix B for examples of incompatible chemicals).
If a container holding hazardous waste is not in good condition or if it begins to leak, transfer the waste from this container into a container that is in good condition, pack the container in a larger and non-leaking container, or provide other secondary containment so the waste prevents the potential for a release or contamination. Contact EHS at (512) 471-3511 if assistance is required.
A storage container holding a hazardous waste that is incompatible with any waste or other materials stored nearby in other containers must be separated from the other materials or protected from them by means of a partition, wall, or other secondary containment device.
All waste containers:
- Must be marked with the word “waste” or “spent” and their contents listed on the waste tag.
- List specific chemicals. It is not sufficient to list waste as “halogenated” or “non-halogenated.”
- Containers should have EHS waste disposal tag attached.
- No container should be marked with the words “hazardous” or “non-hazardous.”
- Remove or deface old labels.
- Must be kept at or near (immediate vicinity) the site of generation and under control of the generator.
- Must be compatible with contents (i.e. acid should not be stored in metal cans).
- Must be closed at all times except when actively receiving waste.
- Waste tags should be complete before pickup is requested.
- Must be safe for transport with non-leaking screw-on caps.
- Must be filled to a safe level (not beyond the bottom of the neck of the container or a 2-inch head space for 30 gallon drums).
- Do not use biological waste containers or sharps containers for hazardous chemical waste collection.
- Do not put broken glassware that is contaminated with chemicals in glass disposal boxes.
- Contact EHS for assistance with contaminated sharps or glassware.
- Accumulation of Chemical Waste
A generator of potentially hazardous waste may not accumulate more than 55 gallons of waste, or one quart of acutely hazardous waste (see Hazardous Waste Manual for list of acutely hazardous waste) at or near the point of generation.
If a process will generate more than this volume at one time, EHS must be contacted in advance to arrange a special waste pick up. Hazardous waste in excess of 55 gallons cannot be stored at your site for more than three days; therefore EHS requires advance notice of generation in order to determine if the waste meets the definition of hazardous and to arrange for prompt removal.
It is essential that the generator keep incompatible hazardous wastes separated. Mixing wastes can make it more difficult and expensive to dispose. In all cases, do not mix incompatible wastes or other materials in the same container or place wastes in an unwashed container that previously held an incompatible waste or material.
Labeling Containers for Pick-Up by EHS
- Before chemical waste can be picked up by EHS, a waste tag is required
- It should be filled out by the waste generator and attached to each container at all times. The information on the tag is used to categorize and treat the waste.
- Fill out tag legibly, accurately, and completely.
- Submitting Requests for Disposal of Chemical Waste to EHS
When a chemical waste container is ready for disposal and is properly tagged, the laboratory supervisor should contact Environmental Health and Safety through submittal of a request form.
11. Laboratory Evaluations
EHS inspects all labs at the Main Campus, Dell Pediatric Institute, Pickle Research Campus, the Marine Science Institute, and other outlying locations on an annual basis. Information on the lab inspection program can be found at: http://www.utexas.edu/safety/ehs/lab/labinspection.html
- Self Evaluations
Labs are also expected to perform laboratory safety self evaluations within the first sixty days of each semester. A copy of the self evaluation must be sent to EHS upon completion.
12. Minors (Children) in Laboratories
This section of the manual provides guidance to principal investigators and research personnel regarding minors in laboratories or other potentially hazardous facilities. The presence of minors in hazardous areas raises concerns for their safety as well as the safety or workers in the hazardous areas whose attention might be diverted by the presence of minors.
This section applies to all university laboratories and animal facilities. It covers all minors whether students, employees, or volunteers. Minors under the age of 15 are NOT PERMITTED inside research/animal laboratories at the university that contain hazardous materials or devices.
- No person under the age of 15 is allowed in a university laboratory that contains hazardous materials. This age limit applies unless the laboratory activity is specifically designed for children below the age limit or the children are research study participants. In addition, a signed parental/guardian consent may be required for the minor to participate in either activity.
- Laboratories include facilities where there are hazardous chemicals, biological or radiological agents/devices used or stored, where laboratory animals are present or Class 3B and 4 lasers.
- Minors who are on a tour of a laboratory must be escorted at all times. All hazardous materials and equipment must be secured and made safe.
ExceptionsNo person under the age of 18 may access a university laboratory with the exception of:
- Minors enrolled in an academic degree program at the university who are participating or observing in laboratories as a part of their course work.
- Minors who are employed at the university and whose employment responsibilities are in the laboratory.
- Minors who are subjects in approved studies.*
- Minors who are volunteers or interns in the laboratory in a formal internship training program approved in writing by the appropriate Department Chair or unit head. *
- Minors who are participating in a formal mentoring program with an individual faculty member approved in writing by the appropriate Department Chair or unit head.*
- Minors who are participating in a university-sponsored program.*
- Minors whose presence in the laboratory is for a specific educational purpose (i.e., tours)
- Minors who are accompanied by and under direct, continuous and active supervision of a parent or legal guardian.
- Other exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with written approval by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety
*A signed parental/guardian consent is required.
- The minor has been authorized by the Department to be in that specific laboratory or facility.
- A designated faculty member or administrator is assigned primary responsibility for ensuring that the minor is supervised, trained and provided Personal Protective Equipment
- The minor has reviewed and signed the Guidelines for Non-student, Non-employee Visitors in Researcher Laboratories and the required releases.* http://www.utexas.edu/provost/policies/lab/
- Appropriate hazard-specific safety training is completed and has been documented by the Principal Investigator/Sponsor.*
- The minor is informed of the proper emergency/evacuation policies and procedures specific to the laboratory, department and the University.*
- Personal protective equipment specific to the hazard, is provided to the minor with instructions for use and disposal.*
- The minor is continuously and actively supervised by a knowledgeable and experienced adult University employee (i.e. the faculty member, principal investigator, adult researcher, or designated supervisor) at all times.
- The laboratory/facility is in full compliance with all applicable university safety programs and regulations.
- The faculty member, principal investigator, laboratory manager, or designated supervisor may place additional restrictions on the presence of minors in their specific activity areas.
High Hazard Areas
All minors (including the exceptions listed above) are not allowed in any of the following “high hazard areas”:
- Any laboratory designated as Biosafety Level 3 or follows BSL-3 practices.
- Any laboratory where explosives, acute/reproductive toxins or carcinogens are used or stored.
- Any animal housing or procedure area considered high risk (contact the ARC Director for a case-by-case determination)
- Other high hazards areas (radiation, lasers, etc…) as determined by Environmental Health and Safety
Children of University Personnel
Children are allowed to be in areas adjacent to the laboratory (i.e., an office or break room within the laboratory) if they are supervised.
The faculty member, principal investigator, or laboratory supervisor/manager is directly responsible for compliance with this policy and for the safety of all minors who are approved to be in their areas under this policy. Non-compliance must be reported to a supervisor, and failure to comply with the conditions of the policy may result in disciplinary action .