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Your Role

Student Supervision

Special responsibilities need to be managed when supervising students and minors working in NIH laboratories. Students must be appropriately hired, trained and supervised. One of the NIH's goals is to provide a rewarding learning experience. By following safety regulations and guidelines, students and supervisors alike can share a satisfying work environment.

Resources


Summer Students and Laboratory Safety, A Memorandum from Michael M. Gottesman, M.D.

Reminder about Importance of Supervising Students in Laboratories, A Policy Letter

Additional Responsibilities and Training Requirements for Working with Nonhuman Primates

Requirements for Minors Intending to Use Radioactive Materials

Learn about S.T.A.R.S.

Letter to Students: Preplacement Medical Evaluation

NIH Policy Manual 3015 - Admittance of Minors to Hazardous Areas

Reminder About Importance of Supervising Students in Laboratories, A Policy Letter

Date: July 17, 2002
To: All Principal Investigators
From: Deputy Director for Intramural Research
Subject: Reminder about Importance of Supervising Students in Laboratories

Each summer, hundreds of students come to NIH laboratories for training in biomedical research. It is critical that we take appropriate responsibility for the safety, as well as mentoring, of these students. The following are important principles to follow to assure the safety of our trainees:
  1. You must supervise students directly at all times when they are working with any potentially hazardous materials.
  2. All students should be appointed under a hiring authority (or properly executed special volunteer agreement) that provides the student with insurance coverage under the Federal Employees Compensation Act and the Federal Tort Claims Act. Personal and professional services agreements are not appropriate mechanisms for students.
  3. Parents must sign a consent for minors to work in a laboratory. The consent form must list any potentially hazardous materials the student may encounter or work with.
  4. All students must receive safety training courses relevant to the laboratory procedures they will be performing. The NIH Division of Safety (496-3353) offerslaboratory safety training.
  5. Supervisors must provide and document specific safety training related to the work the student will do. All of us are responsible for giving these young people a safe and scientifically rewarding experience at the NIH. The first step is to set a good example with regard to safety. Laboratory/Branch Chiefs and principal investigators are directly responsible for following these rules and assuring that students are appropriately hired, trained, and supervised.

Michael M. Gottesman, M.D.


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Additional Responsibilities and Training Requirements for Working with Nonhuman Primates

For additional information see Manual Chapter 3044-2

  1. Students and Trainees are defined, for the purpose of this policy, as those individuals who do not have documented training and experience in handling and working with nonhuman primates. In such cases, the Principal Investigator must assure that required training has been provided and that the student or trainee has demonstrated competency in performing all activities or procedures undertaken with any nonhuman primate. Minors (individuals under 18 years of age) may not work with or be present for procedures or research activities involving awake nonhuman primates. Minors under 16 years of age may not enter a room containing a nonhuman primate.
  2. Principal Investigators are responsible for the following:
    • Specifying, in writing, each procedure and activity in which the student /trainee may, participate involving an awake nonhuman primate
    • Developing a training plan for the student/trainee including the length of time or number of procedures the student/trainee must perform under directly observed supervision by the Principal Investigator or a qualified member of the staff designated by the Principal Investigator
    • Obtaining review of and concurrence with the training plan, for each student/trainee, from the IC Veterinarian and the Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS), ORS (Note: the format for development of the training plan can be obtained from the DOHS)
    • Obtaining review of and concurrence with the training plan, for each student/trainee, from the IC Veterinarian and the Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS), ORS (Note: An example development of the training plan is available from DOHS) This link opens a PDF file
    • Instructing the student/trainee in the proper performance of any technique, procedure and/or manipulation of an awake nonhuman primate
    • Documenting the student/trainee's progress
    • Documenting the student/trainee's competency in performing each procedure, technique or manipulation identified in the training plan
    • Certifying in writing, the student/trainee's competency in the performance of any technique, procedure or manipulation involving an awake nonhuman primate prior to allowing the student/trainee to perform these activities in an independent manner
    • Providing and documenting refresher training for any returning student/trainee (e.g., summer students)
  3. Principal Investigators must provide all documentation and records, pertinent to a student/trainee's training and competency to perform work with awake nonhuman primates, upon request of the IC ACUC and/or Division of Occupational Health and Safety personnel.
  4. Principal Investigators are responsible for insuring a student/trainee's compliance with all other provisions of NIH Manual Chapter 3044-2, Protection of NIH Personnel Who Work with Nonhuman Primates, and any other special requirements or procedures specific to the facility within which they are working.

Michael M. Gottesman, M.D. Deputy Director for Intramural Research 

Date: April 4, 1997


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Requirements for Minors Intending to Use Radioactive Materials

Prior to work with radioactive materials a minor must submit an application to the Division of Radiation Safety (DRS) for approval. DRS will verify the following criteria are met:

  • Minors under the age of 16 are prohibited from working with radioactive materials
  • Minors who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from handling source vials and need special permission from the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) to use other radioactive materials, including performing monthly surveys
  • Before working with radioactive materials, minors must have successfully completed the "Laboratory Safety" course and the "Radiation Safety in the Laboratory" course
  • All use of radioactive material by a RSO approved minor must be directly supervised by a trained adult NIH staff member at all times
  • Failure to supervise the minor while he or she is using radioactivity will result in immediate suspension of the Authorized User's privilege to order and receive radioactive material
  • Written consent of the student's parents/guardians is required as part of the approval process
  • Minors cannot use radioactive materials until their Authorized User receives an approved application from the NIH RSO.

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