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Access to Laboratories and Potentially Hazardous Areas | Policies | CSUSM

Access to Laboratories and Potentially Hazardous Areas

Definition: It is the policy of California State University San Marcos to restrict access to its laboratories and other potentially hazardous areas. Certain minors and members of the public, who are not California State University, San Marcos students currently enrolled in laboratory courses or who are not registered laboratory research volunteers, may be permitted in campus facilities for scheduled events, carefully supervised tours, and educational outreach programs. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) restricts the amount of radiation exposure that minors may receive, and because there are a wide variety of chemical and biological hazards associated with laboratory work, it is necessary for the campus to establish guidelines for the appropriate supervision of visitors, student employees and volunteers in laboratories or other potentially hazardous areas. As with all other policies affecting the use of laboratories and/or areas of potential hazard, enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of the supervisor or otherwise designated campus employee of the laboratory space or potentially hazardous area.
Authority: Nuclear Regulatory Commission; California Code of Regulations, Title 8, subchapter 7, group 16, §3203 §5194 and §5191 ; California State University San Marcos Chemical Hygiene & Biosafety Committee; Cal State San Marcos; the campus President.
Scope: Applies to all areas of the campus community. Including students as paid or unpaid researchers.
Responsible Division: Finance & Administrative Services
Approval Date: 05/11/2017
Originally Implemented: 08/12/2002
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Access to Laboratories and Potentially Hazardous Areas Policy



Access restrictions to certain areas of the campus are necessary to insure the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors.  The following procedures are intended to assist employees who are responsible for these areas, and for the activities, which take place within these areas, in maintaining a safe and academically productive environment.


For the purposes of this policy and procedure, the following definitions apply:

A. A "minor" is anyone under the age of 18 years.

B. "Public" is any campus employee, student, visitor, or guest who is not enrolled in a laboratory course and who does not have an official reason for being in a laboratory or other defined hazardous area.

C. "Laboratories" are rooms in which campus employees and students handle and store hazardous chemicals, radiation, or biological materials that are subject to the regulations of the California Department of Industrial Relations (OSHA) or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

D. “Potentially hazardous areas” are hallways, classrooms and offices adjacent to laboratories, which are not considered hazardous, but adult supervision is required for minors to be in these areas because of the potential for emergencies associated with laboratory work.

E. “Other hazardous areas” are machine rooms, electrical rooms, equipment rooms, confined spaces and construction sites.

F. "Visitor/s" collectively refers to any minor or member of the public previously defined.


A. Visitors shall not be permitted in any California State University, San Marcos laboratory:

  1. For any purpose if the minor is below five years of age.
  2. For any purpose other than official campus activities, campus approved tours or other approved campus events.
  3. Where there is any possible exposure to potentially harmful agents and substances, including, but not limited to, chemicals, biological materials, or radiation sources.  The Radiation Safety or Chemical Safety Officer may provide written exceptions to this section, on a "case-by-case" basis.
  4. In no instance will an exception be given for visitors below the age of fourteen to participate in laboratory events lasting longer than two (2) consecutive days.  Sufficient and appropriate (subject matter expert) adult supervision is required for any laboratory-related activity involving minors.
  5. Notification of laboratory visits is to be provided to the Director of Safety, Health & Sustainability (SR&S).  The submittal of a campus event request through Events and Conference Services, an email notification, or phone call is the appropriate method to provide notification to the Director of SR&S and other specific campus departments.

B. In addition, visitors shall not be allowed:

  1. Where any shop activity is conducted including, but not limited to, fabrication of instruments and laboratory apparatus, welding, or machinery operation.  The Director of SR&S must be consulted and must provide written authorization before any exception to this section is granted.
  2. In any retail kitchen, warehouse, Central Plant,  garage area, storehouse or storage facility, utility tunnel, or ground maintenance facility.  The Director of SR&S must be consulted and must provide written authorization before any exception to this section is granted.

C. High School and Undergraduate Students Employed or Volunteering in Laboratories

  1. Unless recommended for approval by the Dean's Office, students under the age of 18 shall not be employed or volunteer in California State University, San Marcos scientific or clinical laboratories.  Final approval is contingent upon review by SR&S, and successful completion of the required laboratory safety training by the students.
  2. Undergraduate students, volunteers and employees over the age of 18 may be employed or volunteer in California State University, San Marcos laboratories upon completion of required laboratory safety training.  Please contact SR&S for additional information at (760) 750-4502.


A. The supervisor and/or investigator or other designated employee responsible for the laboratory that is hosting visitors must ensure compliance with all appropriate environmental, radiation, safety and risk management policies and regulations.  The responsible employee must ensure that any visitors who will be handling hazardous materials as part of their visit receive training that is then documented.  The visitors must be directly supervised by the responsible employee.

These restrictions are required to protect the health and safety of any campus visitor and to avoid potential liability resulting from a visitor's exposure to harmful agents or conditions.  It is the responsibility of the appropriate supervisor, investigator, faculty, or any other knowledgeable employee to enforce this policy.

B. Individual campus employees, who are responsible for the areas designated above, may be held personally liable for loss and/or damages incurred by a visitor being allowed into a facility except as permitted by this policy.  Problems with compliance with this policy are to be referred to SR&S, the appropriate Department Chair or the Radiation Safety Committee or Chemical Hygiene & Bio-Safety Committee.  An employee raising concerns about this policy to any of these individuals or groups shall not be discriminated against.

C. The department hosting the event or minor shall be responsible for collecting the signed CSUSM Standard Release of Liability Waivers from members of the public/visitor’s participating in any laboratory activity other than observational activities or tours that are non-participatory.