The University of Nebraska Medical Center values an atmosphere that fosters a work-life balance between work and family responsibilities. UNMC believes in an environment that is conducive to work, and in which health and safety concerns of employees, students, staff and children are respected and disruptions are minimized. UNMC facilities and grounds can present a variety of potential hazards to individuals, and these are greater for children who often lack the hazard recognition abilities of an adult. This policy is intended to address the concerns of all parties when a child is in the workplace, minimize the risk of injury, and promote a safe work environment.
This policy is applicable to all UNMC faculty, staff and students who may consider bringing children into the workplace.
Basis of the Policy
To comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Nebraska Child Labor Laws, Title 180 NAC Nebraska Regulations for Control of Radiation, Section 6.8 of the Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Addendum "A" Statement Of Self-Insurance Coverage Provided By The University Of Nebraska General Self-Insurance Program Board of Regents Policies.
Authorities and Administration
The Associate Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance, Safety Leadership Team and the Safety Manager are responsible for the administration of this policy at the campus level. Business unit management (generally the administrator) is responsible for policy adherence within their departments.
Parent: Any faculty, staff, student, or visitor who has responsibility for a child while in the workplace, regardless of relationship.
Workplace: A UNMC-maintained room, office, shop, laboratory, vehicle, or any other campus area where people are conducting work on behalf of UNMC.
High Risk Area: Patient care areas, utility plants, mechanical rooms, shops, any area containing power tools or machinery with exposed moving parts, food prep areas, UNMC vehicles or motorized equipment, rooftops, construction zones, and/or laboratories or special work areas that contain chemicals, biological hazards, radioactive hazards, flammables, explosives, compressed gasses, sharp objects, lasers, animals, hazardous wastes and/or any other environmental hazards.
UNMC does not permit the presence of children in the workplace:
- In lieu of childcare arrangements. Parents are responsible for childcare arrangements and planning alternatives for childcare. Parents may use vacation time when childcare issues arise.
- On a regular or sporadic basis such as but not limited to: before or after school/camp each day, on holidays when day care is not available or school is not in session, or when children are ill.
In the rare instance when there are no other alternatives, and a staff member must bring a child to the workplace, advance approval should be obtained from the supervisor and the duration of the child's visit to the workplace should be kept to a minimum. Examples of a rare instance:
- Parent has forgotten an item and needs to come to work to pick it up.
- Parent needs to take care of an essential task of short (15-30 min) duration and the child cannot be left at home.
- Co-workers would like to meet a new baby. If this takes place it should be for a brief visit and should occur in a public space (lobby or atrium) to minimize work disruptions.
- An emergency has occurred and a supervisor has asked the parent to come assist.
Children can never enter a High Risk Area, even if the above rare instance has been approved by the supervisor. It is essential that parents provide close constant supervision of their children while they are in the workplace. In the unavoidable circumstance when a child must be in the workplace, under no circumstances may the child:
- Have access to any confidential information, including but not limited to patient information, student educational information, or proprietary information.
- Enter a High Risk Area.
- These prohibitions cannot be waived by the department manager or supervisor.
If a rare instance has occurred and the parent feels a child needs to enter a laboratory, permission must be granted in advance by the Vice Chancellor for Research or their appointed designee. The parent will provide the rationale for the child needing to enter the lab, the age of the child, and they type of lab and hazards within that lab (animals, radioactivity, types of chemicals, etc.). The department administrator or Chair cannot provide this permission.
No one under the age of 16 is to be left unattended in the laboratories at any time. Children may only enter a lab they are accompanied by a parent who is a UNMC employee in the lab and who is responsible for the child. If there is a need to leave a child unattended in the facility, they must remain in the parent's office or common (non-laboratory) space. For the child’s safety, they cannot be left in an atria, commons area, lobby or any space adjacent to a building entrance. If the child is under 12 years of age, they must be accompanied by the parent and must remain in the same said parent's office or common (non-laboratory) space.
The presence of children, visitors or family members during work hours, except for an occasional basis for a brief visit, is to be avoided. Exceptions may be granted for job shadowing, guided tours or other reasons if appropriate precautionary measures are taken, including written consent of parent or guardian, and direct adult supervision. Please refer to the policies below for further information.
UNMC recognized educational opportunities, like the High School Alliance, are exempt from this policy. A high school student highly interested in science/research that would like to arrange a visit to a research lab for a personal visit can do so provided:
- They are at least 14 years of age
- The student to UNMC Faculty member ratio must be 1:1 while the student is in a research lab.
- The departmental chair must approve the visit prior to the visit being scheduled.
- They do not enter Comparative Medicine or BL3 facilities.
Any employee or student that brings his/her child into the workplace without approval of his/her supervisor will be requested to leave and use available vacation, personal leave or leave without pay. Individuals that fail to cooperate shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action (Reference: UNMC Policy #1098, Corrective and Disciplinary Action Policy).
Because of child labor laws, under no circumstances should a child under the age of 16 be allowed to perform work for the University. Family members who serve as volunteers must be at least 16 years old and comply with UNMC Policy #6053, Volunteer Policy. Volunteers must be issued a photo ID (Reference UNMC Policy #6008, Identification Card Policy). Volunteers and job shadowing participants must comply with UNMC Policy #6045, Privacy, Confidentiality and Information Security Policy. For information on job shadowing see the Job Shadowing Program and UNMC Policy #6045, Privacy, Confidentiality and Information Security Policy.
It is important to note that due to some work environments and the duties of the parent, children cannot be permitted in the work area at any time. There are many areas of the medical center where hazardous materials or equipment are located, or where hazardous operations are conducted. These include patient care areas, some laboratories, shops, animal areas, power plants, etc. The risk of accident or injury in these areas is increased for those who are unfamiliar with safety requirements. Therefore, children under 16 are not allowed in these areas.