2.1 Administrative Controls

Supervisors shall consider the hazards involved in their research, and document areas, activities, and tasks that require specific types of personal protective equipmnt (PPE) and work approvals in written research protocols.

Supervisors shall decide and communicate lab-specific work rules for the following:

  • Laboratory security policies
  • Acceptable working hours and working alone policies
  • Housekeeping standards
  • Lab specific training requirements
  • Safe use of laboratory equipment
  • Materials requiring prior approval or other limitations on amount
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Shared equipment
  • Unattended operations
  • Emergency procedures
  • Expectations prior to leaving lab (e.g., graduation)

Laboratory Work Hours

Researchers are strongly encouraged to prioritize research so that work with hazardous chemical, biological, or physical agents occurs only during working hours (8 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday). Researchers should limit work after hours (on nights and weekends) to non-hazardous activities such as data analysis and report writing. If hazardous materials or equipment must be used during non-working hours or when the user is alone, training must be provided and documented by their PI as part of their lab-specific training. Any work alone or after-hours requires the PI’s approval. Persons under 18 years of age are not allowed to work alone at any time.

Minors in the Lab

Persons under 18 years of age are not allowed in University laboratories or other areas where hazardous materials are present or hazardous activities take place except under the following circumstances:

The minor:

  1. is employed by the University or has been formally accepted as a volunteer worker; and
    1. has been trained in safe laboratory procedures; and
    2. has adult supervision at all times;
    3. (employees only) has received a MN Department of Labor Child Labor Exemption. Permit applications can be found at: Permit for Minors <16 years oldPermit for 16/17 year olds; and the permit is on file with the host department;

– or –

  1. is enrolled in a University class with a laboratory component; – or –
  2. is participating in a University-sponsored program; and
    1. has been trained in safe laboratory procedures; and
    2. has adult supervision at all times; and
    3. has a Lab Use Agreement Form on file with the host department.; – or –
  3. is visiting for academic purposes; and
    1. receives written approval from the PI/Lab Director and Department Head; and
    2. has been trained in safe laboratory procedures; and
    3. has adult supervision at all times; and
    4. has a Lab Use Agreement Form on file with the host department

Because laboratories may contain hazardous chemicals or biohazards, a minor who is paid to work in a research laboratory must obtain an exemption from the Minnesota Child Labor Act. An overview of this law is available on the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry.

Child Labor Exemption Applications for working minors should be completed by a parent, guardian, or school official and filed with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Forms are available from the Department of Labor and Industry website.

Volunteers and Visitors in the Laboratory

Volunteers and visitors in University of Minnesota laboratories must complete all of the same training requirements as regular lab employees.

Volunteers and visitors conducting research in University laboratories must complete the Volunteers and Visitors Laboratory Use Agreement. If the volunteer is a minor, a parent or guardian must also sign the agreement.

Planning for Shutdowns

Researchers should develop written procedures to deal with events such as loss of electrical power (affecting fume hoods, coolers, etc.) or other utilities (water), or temporary loss of personnel due to illnesses such as pandemic flu. Guidance on factors to consider when developing shut-down plans is included in the Lab Hibernation Checklist.