Visitors and volunteers are welcomed in University of Michigan (U-M) laboratories; however, given the inherent nature of research, there is always a potential risk for injury and additional liability for U-M. The lab director (faculty/lab manager/supervisor) is responsible for ensuring visitors and volunteers receive a briefing on potential risks, what to do in emergencies, and how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) when they enter the laboratory. All visitors and volunteers must be provided proper PPE and follow all of the normal policies for safety in a laboratory setting.
NOTE: If the visitor or volunteer is a minor, go to Minors in Research for the appropriate policies and procedures. However, minors not taking part in a university-approved visit or volunteer role are not permitted within research settings for any reason. Among other things, this prohibition applies to instances when an employee office is inside a laboratory space.
In addition to ensuring proper supervision of visitors and volunteers, lab directors are responsible for ensuring visitors and volunteers adhere to the EHS guideline Visitors and Volunteers in Research Laboratories.
Types of Visits
Lab directors must obtain written approval from their department to allow the visitor or volunteer to participate in the following types of visits:
- Observation Only: The visitor or volunteer will not be conducting any laboratory work using hazardous substances or equipment.
- Performing Laboratory Research Activities (non-minors) Using Hazardous Substances or Equipment.
Visitors and volunteers participating in laboratory activities using hazardous substances or equipment must go through the same training as regular employees working in the laboratory.
They must also complete a release of liability form: Lab Use Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability for Volunteers and Visitors.
Labs hosting visitors and volunteers to participate in laboratory activities are responsible for maintaining appropriate records as outlined in the Visitors and Volunteers in Research Laboratories guideline.
Emergency Medical Procedures
Unlike regular laboratory personnel, in the event of a medical emergency, visitors and volunteers should be referred to their own physician or nearest emergency center depending on the nature of their issue.