Minors in Research

To ensure minors are protected at the University of Michigan (U-M) while participating in research activities, departments hosting minors must take an active role in assuring all policies, including departmental policies, are followed.  The process includes reviewing the risks of the materials and equipment minors will be using and designating a responsible person to supervise minors performing research.

Minors are prohibited from entering or working in U-M research laboratories alone and must be under direct supervision at all times.  The person supervising the minors must be:

  • Designated on the Project Checklist for Minors Performing Research in Laboratories (see below)
  • Trained and knowledgeable about the research, applicable safety protocols, and the activities minors can participate in
  • The actual person observing the minors and be physically with them while in the research area.  A designee can be appointed, but the designee must also be fully trained and approved to supervise minors.

Level of Participation

Minors may be involved in research as observers or active participants.  The level of participation determines what policies are necessary to follow in addition to obtaining your departments approval to allow minors into the research area, and if specified, perform research activities.

  • Observation Only: Minors will not be conducting any research using hazardous substances or equipment.  However, basic training on potential hazards they may encounter, emergency actions to take, and required PPE must be provided by the supervisor before they are allowed into the research area.
  • Performing Research Activities involving hazardous substances or equipment: Lab directors (faculty/lab managers/supervisors):
    • Must receive Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) authorization for a minor to work in a research area
    • Must obtain written parental permission for a minor to perform research activities
    • Are responsible for maintaining appropriate records as outlined in the Minors in Research Laboratories guideline

Obtaining EHS Authorization

Read the Minors in Research Laboratories guideline to understand restrictions and requirements for minors.

The following documents must be completed and sent to EHS prior to minors beginning participation in research activities:

Copies can be sent to EHS by the following methods:

  • Campus Mail: EHS—CSSB, Campus Box 1010
  • Fax: (734) 763-1185
  • Email: drsheen@umich.edu

U-M Sponsored Program or Activity That Includes Minors

In addition to obtaining EHS authorization to involve minors in research, lab directors must visit the Children on Campus Website for additional information about hosting minors on campus.  This web site provides additional requirements to ensure the programs and activities under the direction and authority of the U-M, as well as faculty, staff, and sponsored student organizations are compliant with SPG 601.34 – Policy on Minors Involved in University-Sponsored Programs or Programs held in University Facilities.

Emergency Procedures

All near misses, injuries, accidents and illnesses involving a minor in your research, whether participating or just observing, must be reported.  Appropriate medical treatment may be necessary.  Determine what must be done for each minor and ensure all responsible persons are aware of the procedures.

  • For minors who are being paid to work at U-M, complete the Illness or Injury Report Form and submit to Work Connections.  If medical treatment is required, follow same procedures as for regular U-M employees.
  • For minors visiting or volunteering, refer them to their personal physician or the nearest emergency center depending on the nature of their issue.

For all incidents – Complete the U-M Laboratory Incidents and Near Miss Form and submit it to EHS.

For more information, contact Research Health and Safety at (734) 647-1143 or drsheen@umich.edu