In keeping with the UVM mission of education and outreach, it is appropriate for persons under the age of eighteen years to occasionally enter research laboratories for educational and work-related purposes; e.g. HELIX research program and "bring your child to work" days. But because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) restricts the amount of radiation exposure that minors can receive and because there are a wide variety of chemical and biological hazards associated with laboratory work, it is necessary to establish guidelines for the appropriate supervision of minors in laboratory areas. These guidelines are necessary to protect a child's health and safety and to prevent harm arising from a child's exposure to harmful agents or conditions. The policy below clarifies existing radiation safety regulations at UVM and addresses the issue of persons under the age of eighteen in hazardous chemical and radiation handling laboratories.
1. Persons below five years of age are not allowed in laboratories.
2. Persons below fourteen years of age are not permitted access to a hazardous chemical, biohazard or radiation handling laboratory except for short-term (up to two days) visits, such as a high school or middle school tour of a laboratory. Adequate adult supervision must be provided by the organization sponsoring the visit. The RSO and the Department of Risk Management must be notified of such a visit.
The investigator responsible for the laboratory hosting the visit must ensure compliance with radiation safety policies and regulations. The investigator is also responsible to see that any visitors handling hazardous materials receive chemical safety/hazard communication training. The visitors must be directly supervised by the investigator or his/her designee.
The Department of Risk Management should be notified before the visit when access is provided to organized groups. Risk Management can provide a letter of agreement to be signed by the participating organization to address concerns about responsibility for minors.
3. Persons between fourteen and eighteen years of age are permitted access to hazardous chemical and radiation handling laboratories for both short-term and extended visits for education or work-related reasons. They must be directly supervised by the investigator his/her designee.
If appropriate, a radiation film badge must be worn. The NRC limits persons under eighteen years of age to 10% of the exposure to those eighteen years of age and older. The investigator must provide persons handling hazardous materials with chemical/hazard communication training.
Note: If the person is expected to use radioactive materials, he/she is required to become a certified radiation handler by successfully completing a written examination administered by the RSO.
1. All laboratories are considered hazardous areas subject to the guidelines described above. "Laboratories" are rooms in which hazardous chemicals, radiation, or biological materials subject to National Institute of Health (NIH) restrictions are handled or stored.
2. Rooms with unusual hazards, such as machine rooms, electrical rooms, and equipment rooms, are considered hazardous areas.
3. Hallways and offices adjacent to laboratories are not considered hazardous, but adult supervision is required for minors to be in those areas because of the potential for emergencies associated with laboratory work.
4. Specific areas requiring adult supervision under the above guidelines include but are not limited to:
As with all other policies affecting the use of hazardous materials, enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of the supervisor of the user of the hazardous material. Their professional judgement will be used to assure that the spirit of this policy is appropriately followed. Problems with compliance with the policy should be referred to the Dean of the College responsible for the building, or the Radiation Safety or Chemical and Biological Safety Committees. Employees will not be discriminated against for raising concerns about this issue to appropriate authorities.
For more information contact:
Risk Management Office, 622 Main St, 656-3242