This policy provides uniform guidance to support the university’s commitment to scholarly programs with minors and volunteers in research laboratories while also protecting the participants and the principal investigators that sponsor these programs.


Minor – any individual under 18 years of age. This applies whether or not the individuals are paid for their work.
Volunteer – any individual that does not receive payment for work activities performed in a laboratory.


Under this policy, faculty and their designated staff members shall follow this process for minors and volunteers that work in their labs or perform research activities.

  1. The principal investigator must notify the department chair of the program utilizing minors or volunteers that will be working in their lab.
  2. The PI must clearly document what the volunteer will be working with (very specifically) and any other hazards they may be exposed to and who will be overseeing them while in the lab.

    Use this link to complete this process - halflife.rutgers.edu/forms/minors_in_labs

  3. The minor or volunteer must attend training appropriate for the work activities they perform or that may be performed by others in their assigned laboratory.
  4. Personal protective equipment shall be provided by the department and worn by the minor or volunteer as directed by the laboratory principal investigator and requirements specified in the chemical hygiene plan for the work activities performed by that individual.
  5. Minors shall not be permitted to work unsupervised in the lab.
  • Minors shall be prohibited from the following work activities:
    Handle or manipulate organisms at Biological Safety Level 2 or higher
  • Operate or work in laboratories with hazard class 3b or 4 open beam lasers
  • Handle or manipulate Select Agents
  • Handle or manipulate radioactive materials or ionizing radiation sources
  • Handle or manipulate Particularly Hazardous Substances (PHS) without prior approval from the department chair and REHS.
  • Perform research activities with live laboratory animals

The following individuals and administrative units share responsibility for the participation in and implementation of this policy for minors and volunteers that work in laboratories.

1. Minors and Volunteers

       Observe all safety requirements for the work activity you are performing. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Attending required safety training [Right-to-Know, Chemical Hygiene, etc] for the work activities you perform, as well as others in your work area(s).
  • Review and know the hazards associated with the substances and equipment you use to conduct your work activities, as well as others in your work area(s).
  • Perform your work according to manufacturer instructions, safety data sheets (SDS), training, and the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • Wear personal protective equipment as provided by the department.
  • Immediately report all spills, concerns, or exposures to your supervisor, the principal investigator, and REHS.

2. Principal Investigators and Supervisors

  • Ensure employees know and follow the manufacturer instructions, safety data sheets (SDS), training, and the Chemical Hygiene Plan requirements for their work activities.
  • Ensure employees attend the required safety training and wear appropriate personal protective equipment for their work activities.


  • Provide training appropriate for the work activities performed in the lab.
  • Upon request, assess the control measures and personal protective equipment used for the work activities performed.