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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: May 25, 2011
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs

2.44 Minors in Laboratories or Similar Facilities


POLICY STATEMENT


The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is committed to introducing minors to interesting and challenging scientific, scholarly, or artistic pursuits and fields at a young age. These experiences should be handled in ways that will promote the safety of the minors and that will not impair the normal functions of the University.


RATIONALE


The welfare of children under the age of eighteen years (minors) in university laboratories is of great importance to UTSA.
This policy establishes restrictions relating to and conditions under which certain minors are permitted to be in UTSA laboratories and other UTSA facilities that could pose risks to minors.  To afford flexibility, this policy also provides a process for obtaining exceptions to provisions in the policy.


SCOPE


This policy applies to all minors who will tour, observe, or conduct research or a scholarly or artistic activity in a UTSA laboratory as part of an organized tour/program or as an individual observer or volunteer. It does not apply to emancipated minors, minors who are matriculated UTSA students or minors who are employed by UTSA. It also does not apply to summer camps, events coordinated through UTSA’s Events Management and Conference Services or any other activities involving minors who will not be permitted access into a UTSA laboratory.


WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY


http://www.utsa.edu/hop/chapter2/2-44.html


RELATED STATUTES, POLICIES, REQUIREMENTS OR STANDARDS


UTSA or UT System Policies or the Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations

  • UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures policy 9.13, Unsupervised Children on Campus

CONTACTS


If you have questions about HOP policy 2.44, Minors in Laboratories or Similar Facilities, contact the following office:

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
210-458-4110


DEFINITIONS


Covered Activity(ies) refers to the activities that Covered Minors may perform in certain laboratories. These may include, but are not limited to, Covered Minors observing ongoing research, scholarly or artistic activities, Covered Minors actively participating in research, scholarly or artistic activities, or Covered Minors actively participating in training exercises to learn skills associated with research, scholarly or artistic activities. [Also see Lab Tour definition below.]

Covered Minor(s) refers to person(s) at least 6 years old, but younger than 18 years of age who are not emancipated, matriculated as UTSA students or employed by UTSA.  A minor student is not employed by UTSA if the University provides the student with a stipend or scholarship.

Laboratory(ies) refers to all facilities covered by the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management (EHSRM) Laboratory Evaluation Program at UTSA, which include the following:

  • Research and teaching laboratories such as chemistry, biology, engineering, physics, geology, biomedical engineering, kinesiology etc.
  • Animal and plant facilities such as animal holding rooms, surgical suites, greenhouses, etc. 
  • Environmental laboratories such as ecology outdoor nature laboratory, etc.
  • Other facilities posing similar risks that are routinely surveyed by EHSRM such as ceramics and art studios.

Lab Tour refers to when one or more Covered Minor(s) visit a particular laboratory at particular times on one day to observe pre-selected and pre-arranged research, scholarly or artistic activities.

Lab Supervisor refers to the UTSA staff member or faculty member, including but not limited to a Principal Investigator, who has the ultimate control and responsibility for all activities and matters associated with a particular laboratory.

Mentor refers to the UTSA staff member (director level or above) or faculty member with the responsibility for ensuring that Covered Minors have satisfied all the conditions and requirements in this policy. The Mentor is responsible for guaranteeing that all appropriate UTSA paperwork, requirements, and conditions have been completed before a minor is allowed into a Laboratory (consulting with the appropriate university offices, collecting mandatory forms from Covered Minors, etc.).  In certain cases, the Mentor and the Monitor may be the same individual. 

Monitor refers to the UTSA staff member, faculty member or graduate student with the primary responsibility for supervising Covered Minors who are assigned to the Monitor while they are in the Monitor’s designated Laboratory.    In certain cases, the Monitor and the Mentor may be the same individual or if expressly stated in this policy, the Monitor may assume certain responsibilities of a Mentor.


PROCEDURES


 

  1. Restrictions
    1. Prohibited Minors: Persons under the age of six (6) are not permitted in any Laboratory.
    2. Prohibited Laboratories: Covered Minors are not permitted under any circumstances in the following laboratories:
      1. Laboratories where radiation or radioactive materials are stored or used,
      2. Laboratories with Class IIIB or IV Lasers,
      3. Laboratories classified at a level of containment of Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) or above, and/or
      4. Animal Care Facilities classified at a level of containment of Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL-3) or above.
    3. Unless an exception is granted (see Section D below), Covered Minors are not permitted in the following laboratories:
      1. Laboratories classified as Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2), Animal Care Facilities classified at Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL-2), and/or
      2. Any facility or location where the use of a hard hat or respirator is required during normal operations. 
    4. Prohibition on Covered Activities
      Covered Minors are prohibited from participating in Covered Activities in laboratories where pyrophorics, or highly toxic gases are stored or used; however, they can participate in Lab Tours of such laboratories, providing that activities involving use of such materials are suspended. Unless an exception is granted (see Section D, below), Covered Minors also may not participate in Covered Activities in the following Laboratories (although they may participate in a Lab Tour of such laboratories):
      1. Animal facilities classified at Animal Biosafety Level 1 (ABSL-1). 
  2. Conditions related to Lab Tours
    1. Mentor
      1. Each Covered Minor who takes a Lab Tour must have an identified and responsible Mentor.
    2. Mandatory Prior Coordination relating to Lab Tours 
      Prior to a Lab Tour, the Mentor must take the following actions:
      1. Consult with the appropriate Lab Supervisor (i) to establish a date for the tour that will not impair on-going research, (ii) to select and to arrange for the research, scholarly or artistic activities that will occur during the tour, (iii) to receive from the Lab Supervisor any Lab-specific guidelines or protocols that will apply to the Covered Minors during their tour, and (iv) if the Mentor is not also acting as the Monitor, to assign such Covered Minors to one or more Monitor(s), and provide documentation of same to EHSRM.
      2. Consult with EHSRM to establish the maximum number of Covered Minors who can be visiting that Laboratory at one time.
      3. If the Lab Supervisor is a faculty or staff member assigned to a College, notify his/her Department Chair and Dean of a scheduled Lab Tour and submit a list of Covered Minors planning to participate in the Lab Tour at least two days before the tour;
      4. If the Lab Supervisor is a staff member who reports to a supervisor outside Academic Affairs, he/she must notify their supervisor and Vice President of a scheduled Lab Tour and submit a list of Covered Minors planning to participate in the Lab Tour at least two days before the tour.
      5. Collect a properly signed release from each such Covered Minor.
    3. Controls Applicable to the Lab Tour
      1. The Monitor will confirm the names of all Covered Minors actually participating in the tour.
      2. While Covered Minors are in the Laboratory, their assigned Monitor will supervise the Covered Minors and will ensure that they are always in compliance with all applicable requirements or conditions included (i) in this policy, (ii) in the tour or program materials (if any), (iii) in any EHSRM or other safety training materials or directives, and (iv) in any Lab-specific guidelines or protocols.
      3. The Monitor, coordinating with the Lab Supervisor or his/her designee, will ensure that for the full duration of the Lab Tour (i) all hazardous materials, such as chemicals and biological agents, will remain secured, and (ii) all activities that could pose a hazard to the Covered Minors are suspended. 
      4. The Monitor will ensure that the maximum number of Covered Minors allowed to tour the selected lab at one time is not exceeded.
      5. The Monitor will immediately notify the Mentor, Lab Supervisor and EHSRM if any of their assigned Covered Minors are injured during a Lab Tour. 
    4. Additional Controls relating to Lab Tours to Lab Tours of ABSL 1 animal care facilities
      In addition to satisfying all the conditions in this Section B 1 through 3 (above), Lab Tours of an ABSL-1 animal care facility must also meet the following conditions:
      1. The Monitor, coordinating with the Lab Supervisor or his/her designee, will ensure that for the duration of the Lab Tour invasive animal procedures and euthanasia will be suspended; and
      2. The Monitor will ensure that, immediately before the tour, each Covered Minor receives training or instructional materials from animal facility staff as directed by the Lab Supervisor or his/her designee.
    5. Retention of Records associated with Lab Tours
      1. In accordance with UTSA’s record retention policy, the Monitor will ensure that consent forms for each Covered Minor on the Lab Tour and appropriate documentation about the Lab Tour are retained by the Department responsible for the laboratory.  
  3. Conditions relating to Covered Activities
    1. Mentor
      Each Covered Minor who willingly engages in Covered Activities must have an identified and responsible Mentor.
    2. Mandatory Prior Coordination related to Covered Activity(ies)
      Before any Minor may participate in a Covered Activity, the Mentor must take the following actions:
      1. Consult with the appropriate Lab Supervisor (i) to establish dates when a Covered Minor can participate in Covered Activities, (ii) to select and to list the research, scholarly or artistic activities in which the Covered Minor will participate (itemize the Covered Activities), (iii) to select and to appoint a Monitor for each Covered Minor; and provide documentation to EHSRM, (iv) to receive from the Lab Supervisor any Laboratory-specific guidelines or protocols that will apply to the Covered Minor while participating in Covered Activities; 
      2. Consult with EHSRM to identify and to schedule any mandatory safety training for the Covered Minor and to establish the maximum number of Covered Minors who can participate in Covered Activities in the Laboratory at any one time;
      3. Obtain written approval of the Covered Minor's participation in the Covered Activities from the Lab Supervisor and (i) if the Lab Supervisor is faculty or staff appointed within the College, from his/her Department Chair and Dean (ii) if the Lab Supervisor is a staff member assigned outside Academic Affairs, from his/her supervisor and Vice President.
      4. Collect a properly signed consent form from each Covered Minor; and
      5. Whenever a Covered Minor will be in a Laboratory on a regular basis for more than one month, the department will create a zero percent appointment for the Covered Minor and will forward a completed Acknowledgement of Service Without Salary form and documents showing completion of all actions above to Human Resources (HR). Human Resources will, and as may be necessary and appropriate, approve the appointment and retain such Acknowledgement of Service Without Salary forms according to UTSA’s records retention schedule.
    3. Controls applicable to Covered Activities
      1. Befor any Minor may enter the Laboratory to begin participating in a Covered Activity, the Monitor must take the following actions:
        1. Ensure that all the applicable actions listed in Section C.1 and 2. above have been completed; and
        2. Ensure that the Covered Minor has received and understands all safety training required by EHSRM and all Lab-specific guidelines and protocols, including but not limited to, the use of personal protective equipment.
      2. Anytime the Covered Minor is participating in Covered Activities or is otherwise in the Laboratory, the Monitor, coordinating whenever necessary with the Lab Supervisor or his/her designee and ESHRM, will ensure that:
        1. The Covered Minor is supervised by the Monitor at all times;
        2. The Covered Minor participates only in the itemized Covered Activities;
        3. The Covered Minor follows all applicable requirements or conditions included (a) in this policy, (b) in the program materials (if any), (c) in any EHSRM or other safety training materials or directives, and (d) in any Lab-specific guidelines and protocols, including but not limited to, the use of personal protective equipment. 
        4. The maximum number of Covered Minors allowed to participate in Covered Minors allowed to participate in Covered Activities in that Laboratory at any one time is not exceeded; and
        5. The Mentor, Lab Supervisor and EHSRM are immediately notified of misconduct by Covered Minors and of any damages, safety concerns, injuries, or similar incidents relating to a Covered Minor’s participation in Covered Activities or presence in the Laboratory.
    4. Retention of Records associated with Covered Activity(ies)
      In accordance with UTSA's record retention policy, except for the Acknowledgement of Service Without Salary form described in Section C, 2 (e), above, the Mentor and Monitor will ensure that a signed consent form for each Covered Minor participating in Covered Activities and other appropriate documentation relating to the Covered Minor and to the Covered Activities are retained by the Department Chair under whom the Laboratory is housed.
  4. Exceptions to the Policy
    1. When an exception may be authorized:
      An exception to provision(s) found in this HOP policy may be initiated by a Lab Supervisor and granted as provided below if the following determination is made:
      1. The pedagogical benefits or outreach opportunities associated with a Lab Tour or Covered Activities outweigh any potential risks or disadvantages that may result from deviations to such HOP provision(s).
    2. Who must approve an exception:
      If the Lab Supervisor makes the determination stated in Section D. 1 (a), then he/she should document the deviations to this HOP policy and the rationale supporting the determination, and then forward the request through each of the individuals listed below, obtaining approval from each sequentially. All of the individuals listed below must approve the exception and may make his/her approval contingent on the Monitor or the Mentor completing future actions as soon as practicable or within a time period he/she specifies.
      1. For a Lab Supervisor who is faculty:  written approval must be received from the Department Chair to whom the Lab Supervisor reports (if any) and the Dean (or his/her designee) of the Lab Supervisor.  If the Lab Supervisor is a Dean, such approval must be received from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Provost).
      2. For a Lab Supervisor who is staff:  written approval is required from the Department Chair who controls the Laboratory (if any), the Associate Vice President to whom the Lab Supervisor reports (if any) and the Vice President (or his/her designee) of the Lab Supervisor.  If the Lab Supervisor is a Vice President, such approval must be received from the Provost.
    3. Authority of the Provost:
      At any time, the Provost may intervene and make the final decisions on any exceptions to this policy
  5. Suspensions of Covered Minor's Privileges
    1. The Monitor, Mentor, an EHSRM staff member, the Lab Supervisor, his/her Department Chair or his/her Dean may temporarily suspend (a) a Lab Tour or Covered Activities or (b) a Covered Minor’s participation in a Lab Tour or in all or part of the listed Covered Activities if violations, safety deficiencies or other conditions occur. 
    2. The Lab Supervisor, his/her Department Chair, or his/her Dean may permanently suspend future Lab Tours, Covered Activities or a Covered Minor’s participation in a Lab tour or all or part of the list Covered Activities if violations, safety deficiencies or other conditions occur and are not corrected.
    3. At any time, the Provost may intervene and make the final decisions relating to any suspensions of privileges governed by this policy, and on the management of any disciplinary actions relating to violations of this policy or to misconduct associated with Covered Minors.  
  6. Role of the UTSA Laboratory Safety Committee
    UTSA's Laboratory Safety Committee will review records documenting the number and frequency of minors in labs, and, based on its review, may from time to time, provide its recommendations related to the policy to the Provost.
  7. Administrative Oversight
    The Provost maintains administrative oversight and ultimate authority to enforce requirements relating to Lab Tours, Covered Activities and organized programs associated with such tours and activities.   Therefore, all such violations, safety deficiencies or other conditions should also be reported to the Provost. 

FORMS AND TOOLS/ONLINE PROCESSES


Authorization for Minors in Laboratories

Consent for Minor In A UTSA Laboratory

Notification Form - Lab Tour for Minors