Youth in Laboratories Guidelines
From time to time MSU provides experiential laboratory opportunities to youth and groups with children. The following guidelines should be complied with whenever MSU laboratory use is proposed for this purpose. For the purposes of these guidelines, youth/children are described as any non-MSU faculty, staff or student under the age of 18. These guidelines are to be applied campus wide as they are appropriate for chemical/research environments, teaching environments, artistic, shop, and other environments that might be utilized for youth educational programs where there exists a potential exposure to hazardous materials, hazardous energy, tools and machinery, sources of heat and flame, and/or other risks found outside of most lecture classroom environments.
1. When planning a laboratory program involving children, the individual(s) responsible for the proposed MSU laboratory location will obtain the appropriate MSU Department Head’s written approval for the activity.
2. MSU laboratories should receive assurance from the coordinating person or entity that the parent/legal guardian for each child has provided permission for their child to participate in the program.
3. In advance of the youth/child program at MSU facilities, the host MSU laboratory/environment will evaluate the proposed youth activities and provide the program coordinators with any special instructions for apparel required for participation. Apparel requirements will be determined by the host MSU laboratory/environment and shall be commensurate to the specific program activities or materials being handled or to which participating youth may encounter in the corresponding MSU environment being utilized. Required apparel is the responsibility of the child participant and his/her family.
4. Laboratory/Activity planners shall identify all personal protective equipment required for youth/child participation and ensure that this is provided at the time of the laboratory activity. MSU personnel will ensure that all youth/child participants use the provided personal protective equipment when instructed to do so. It is the responsibility of the host laboratory to provide any required personal protective equipment to child participants.
5. MSU Safety and Risk Management requests that it receives notice of intent to use a specific laboratory facility for a proposed youth/child program. Please contact SRM by calling 994- 7870 at least three weeks prior to the date of the first youth program activity. If available, please provide the date of the youth/child program, building and room number of each lab being utilized, an estimate of the number of youth/child participants, and a brief description of the activity. SRM will make every effort to visit and review each hosting laboratory; however each host lab is responsible for ensuring that all safety and health requirements have been met.
6. Laboratories to be utilized shall be sufficiently cleaned. All workspaces and bench tops shall be cleaned and cleared of hazards. All hazardous materials including chemicals, infectious agents, carcinogens, sharps, sharps containers shall be removed from areas open to or accessible by the visiting youth/children. All other chemicals not used in the youth/child laboratory activity shall be securely kept from access.
7. Laboratory fume hoods must be in operable condition with the appropriate labels affixed. All other laboratory safety equipment must be maintained in functional condition.
8. Constant supervision of youth/children in MSU laboratories/environments must be ensured. The recommended ratio of youth/children to adult faculty or adult assistants/chaperones is 12:1. Adjustments above or below this recommended ratio can be made by the host laboratory depending upon the nature of the activity, the youth group, their age and ability.
9. All MSU laboratories/environments utilized for youth/child program activities will ensure that procedures are in place to respond to laboratory/work space and building emergencies. All emergency contact phone numbers are to be visibly posted in each laboratory/environment.
The above guidelines are not all inclusive and MSU personnel providing youth educational opportunities shall make every effort to eliminate the physical risk of harm to youth/child participants in MSU laboratory experiential programs. These guidelines only address organized groups of children. Other types of laboratory visits by children, whether children of employees or otherwise, should be approved by lab manager and department head.
Furthermore, the responsible parties are responsible for following the Guidelines for University Programs for Children as listed in MSU Policy.