Minors in Research Laboratories


The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for University faculty and staff wishing to offer educational opportunities in research labs or animal facilities to minor children ages 15 –17.


“Animal Facility” means any Purdue facility where animals are housed.

“Laboratory” means any building or part of a building used or intended to be used for scientific or technical work which may be hazardous, including research, quality control, testing, teaching, or analysis.

“Minor” means any person who has not attained the age of 18 years.

“PI” means principal investigator.

“Research” means an active, diligent, and systematic process of inquiry in order to discover, interpret, or revise facts, events, behaviors, or theories, or to make practical applications with the help of such facts, laws, or theories.

“Select Agent” means biological agent or toxin listed in 73 CFR part 4 and 9 CFR part 121.4.

“Visitor” means any person who enters a laboratory, greenhouse, or animal facility upon the express or implied invitation of the laboratory director/supervisor.

“Volunteer” means any person who, of his or her own free will, provides services to Purdue for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation.


This policy covers all Purdue research laboratories, greenhouses, animal facilities, animal procedure rooms, animal housing areas, and clinical laboratories. This policy is directed to include all persons under age 18 whether students, employees, or volunteers. Minors 14 years of age and under are NEVER PERMITTED inside of any research laboratory, greenhouse, or animal facility at the Purdue University. An exception is allowed for Purdue sponsored programs which are designed for youth under the age of 15 and which have documented training policies.


Unless enrolled as a Purdue student, a minor is not allowed to work or conduct research in a Purdue research laboratory, greenhouse, or animal facility except as identified specifically below. In addition, minors are prohibited from operating farm machinery or state vehicles and from working in machine shops.

1. All minors are prohibited from working or conducting research in the following: a. Any laboratory or facility designated as BSL-3, ABSL-3, or higher for recombinant or infectious organisms. b. Any laboratory where select agents or explosives are used or stored.

2. All minors are prohibited from working with radioactive materials or (ionizing) radiation producing devices unless specifically approved by the Radiation Safety Committee.

3. Regardless of the time interval, minors who work in any capacity with animals must be added to an Animal Care and Use protocol currently approved by the PACUC. Minors must be enrolled in the Animal Occupational Health Program. Declination of participation is not an option for minors.

4. Minors are allowed to work or conduct research in laboratories (not listed in #1 above) if all of the following requirements are met:

a. All information and signatures required here are complete.

b. Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) training has been completed by the minor if any chemicals are involved in the work.

c. Hazard Communication Program (HCP) training has been completed by the minor if no chemicals or are involved in the work or if any chemical use is other than “laboratory use” in nature (e.g. cleaning).

d. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training has been completed by the minor if any PPE is likely to be involved in the work, and PPE specific to the hazards has been provided to the minor with instructions for use and disposal.

e. Bloodborne Pathogens training (BBP), Laser Safety training (LSR) training, and/or Biosafety training (BS) have been completed by the minor if appropriate to the work.

f. Building Emergency Plan training (BEP), for the building(s) where the minor will do the work, has been completed.

g. Any appropriate hazard-specific safety training is completed by the minor with the Principal Investigator/Sponsor.

h. The minor is supervised at all times while in the laboratory and never left alone.

i. Hours of work comply with Federal Regulation 29 CFR 570.35.

j. The laboratory is in full compliance with all applicable Purdue environmental health and safety programs and regulations.

Please see Guidance Document: "Minors in Research Laboratories or Animal Facilities" for more details and to fill out the Approval Form.

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