Laboratories may contain biological, chemical, and/or radiological hazards, as well as mechanical, electrical, and thermal hazards from laboratory equipment. Laboratory animals may pose additional risks, including bites, scratches, and exposure to allergens or zoonotic agents. These hazards pose risks not only to those performing laboratory work, but also to those who are present within the laboratory while work is ongoing.
Minors are not allowed in high risk areas. Access to research areas may be prohibited due to reasons of safety, security, or regulatory compliance. Minors must be directly supervised at all times by the principal investigator (PI) or a trained staff member designated by the PI. Minors are not allowed to be alone in a research laboratory, and are not permitted to have their own building or room access.
Children under the age of 10 are prohibited from entering laboratories. Minors between the ages of 10 and 17 may visit laboratories for short-term observation, for example as part of a high school or middle school tour, once program registration requirements have been met. The following apply to all research areas:
Age 14-17 1:12
Trained laboratory staff may contribute to adult: student ratios, but non-laboratory staff (e.g., parents, teachers, chaperones) do not count towards laboratory staff: minor visitor ratios.
Children under the age of 14 are prohibited from participating in research activities in UW–Madison laboratories. Minors between the ages of 14 and 17 who are not matriculated UW–Madison students may only participate in research activities for which program registration requirements have been met. Minors who are enrolled as students at UW–Madison that volunteer or work in UW–Madison laboratories do not fall under these program registration requirements, but there are still restrictions on the materials and activities that are allowed. Please note that this policy does not cover minors that are the subjects of Institutional Review Board-approved research studies.
A risk assessment that takes into account all biological, chemical, radiological, mechanical, and electrical materials and equipment used in the research environment must be performed before and during activities involving minors. Based on the risk assessment, appropriate engineering and administrative controls and PPE must be in place to prevent injury or exposure. The Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) Department will provide consultations upon request.
Some materials and activities are restricted or prohibited for minors:
Environment, Health and Safety
Office of Biological Safety
Animal Research Safety
Research Animal Resources Center
Office of Chemical Safety
Office of Radiation Safety