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Environmental Health & Safety

Laboratory Safety Unit

Policy on Visitors to Laboratories or Shops

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Visitors to Laboratories or Shops

  2. Volunteers and visitors to University Laboratories or Shops who are not properly supervised can be at risk for injury, which may also expose the University to liability. Accordingly, EH&S recommends that a responsible person be appointed by the Laboratory Principal Ivestigator, Director or Shop Supervisor to supervise all visitors or volunteers when they enter a laboratory/shop for a visit.

  4. This policy applies to all academic, clinical, and service units involved in University of Rochester operations.

    • Host - the person(s) bringing in the visitor(s) and who accepts responsibility for the visitor's actions and safety.
      Laboratory - any part of a building used or intended to be used for scientific or technical activities that may store or use hazardous agents, including teaching laboratories, research labs or clinical laboratories at on-and off-campus locations.
      Responsible Person - any person approved by a Laboratory Principal Investigator, Director, or Shop Supervisor to oversee and/or supervise the activities of a visitor in the particular location.
      Shop - any part of a building used or intended to be used for tooling, cutting, or other fabrication of materials or equipment, or storage of those materials.
      Visitor - any person not employed by or associated with the University who enters a student, research or clinical laboratory, a shop for a service call, a tour, or observation of activities in the applicable location.
  7. Visitations to laboratories must be under the direct supervision of an authorized faculty or staff member or part of a formally organized guided tour, or supervised educational program.

    The organizational unit chair/director, shop supervisor, or laboratory principal investigator bears primary responsibility for ensuring that University students, faculty, and staff members under their direction are aware of and adhere to this policy.

  9. To protect the visitor and reduce the risk to the University, the following parameters for visitors to laboratories and/or service unit or shops should be followed at a minimum.

    Applicable to all visitors regardless of age:

    • The host must have reasonable knowledge of the potential hazards in the Laboratory or Shop and be familiar with the risk prevention strategies applicable to those hazards.
    • The host assumes full responsibility for the safety of each visitor.
    • The host assures that appropriate safety training pertinent to the laboratory or shop is given to the visitor.
    • All site specific safety requirements apply.
    • All visitors must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment or clothing including, at a minimum, but not limited to, ANSI approved eye protection and gloves as dictated by the activities in the laboratory or shop.
    • Shorts or short sleeve shirts, or shoes (of material suitable for the environment) that do not entirely cover the legs and feet are not allowed.
    • Visitors must have long hair or berds secured, with no strings or other materials dangling from clothing (e.g. badges, jewlery, cords, etc.). No outerwear is to be worn in labs (bulky coats can knock things over).
    • Each visitor must be accounted for and accompanied during the entire visit.
    • The visitor(s) must be instructed to touch nothing in the lab/shop that they are not expressly invited to touch.
    • The host must ensure no equipment with unguarded moving parts or unprotected chemical reactions are active in the lab or shop at the time of the visit.
    • The host must ensure no spilled, uncovered or unprotected chemicals are in the area prior to the visit.
    • The host must ensure no unshielded or otherwise unprotected radioactive materials are in the area prior to the visit.
    • The host must ensure that all hazardous material is protected in such a manner that poses no hazard to visitors prior to the visit.
    • Anyone having direct contact with animals must be identified on a UCAR protocol.
    • Visitors to a lab where animal research is taking place but not having contact with animals must comply with procedures per the department's risk assessment.
    • The visitor(s) must be instructed to thoroughly wash hands upon leaving the area.
    • Children of University students, faculty, or staff members are not permitted to be in laboratories or shops for childcare purposes.

    Signed parental/guardian consent forms and liability waivers are required for all visitors under 18, and must be obtained prior to the visit. The sponsoring faculty or staff member (or Program Director) must keep the completed form on file for at least three years. This form is found under "Administration" in this document.

    Additional minimal requirements for minors visiting labs or shops are:

    • The host ensures that the presence of minors in a research laboratory has a clearly defined educational purpose.
    • The host must obtain the written permission, as indicated, for each visitor under 18 from that person's parent or guardian, including that the University will not be held liable for any mishaps.
    • Visitors under 18 are should not be allowed in laboratories where select agents or explosives are used.
    • Any group of minors visiting the University for educational purposes must have at least one adult for three minors under the age of 14 years, and at least one adult for four minors' ages 14 - 17 years.
    1. Permission Form
  13.  Date

     Revision No.






     Revision 1

    Updates from Counsel

Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 12/2/2022. Disclaimer.