Campus Safety

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Appendix No. 3

General Radioisotope Laboratory Safety

Revision 0 (8/2003)

  1. PURPOSE
    1. This procedure provides instruction for the safe use and handling of unsealed sources of radioactive material.
  1. SCOPE
    1. These instructions apply to any person working in a laboratory where radioisotopes are used, whether or not that person is actually working with radioisotopes.
  1. INSTRUCTIONS
    1. A lab coat must be worn.
    2. Good housekeeping is imperative. All work with radioactive materials (other than sealed sources) must be carried out on absorbent paper. Keep the laboratory neat. Do not let unlabeled waste accumulate.
    3. Rubber or plastic gloves should be worn when using any non-sealed radioactive material and should be washed before removing from the hands. After removal of gloves, the hands should be washed and monitored. Forceps, beaker tongs or remote handling tools must be used when using gamma or hard beta emitters at activities above the 1 microcurie level. In such cases the dosage rate must be estimated and procedures cleared with the Radiation Safety Officer.
    4. Whenever there is any possibility of contamination, a person must be checked by a monitoring device sensitive to the suspected radiation. Scrubbing must occur until all detectable radiation is removed.
    5. All solid wastes must be labeled and deposited into the appropriate container for disposal.
    6. All containers of radioactive material must be properly labeled at all times. The label should indicate the date of the assay, the kind and quantity of the radioactive material and must carry the standard yellow and magenta radioactivity symbol.
    7. Liquid radioactive waste must be stored in properly marked containers. No liquid waste should be flushed down the sanitary sewers without clearance by the Radiation Safety Officer. Where possible all waste should be allowed to decay to background levels before disposal.
    8. Containers of radioactive solutions shall be kept closed except when in actual use.
    9. Pipetting of radioactive solutions by mouth is not permitted.
    10. Eating, drinking, or smoking in any area used for work with radioactive materials is not permitted.
    11. If any spillage is suspected, the area should be checked using the survey meter. In the case of low-energy beta emitting materials (35S, 14C, 3H) the area should be wipe tested.
    12. If spillage should occur, follow the instructions outlined in Procedure JC-RS-9.1, "Emergency Instructions for the Handling of Radioisotopes".
    13. Periodic surveys to detect removable contamination in usage areas must be conducted and documented as outlined in Procedure JC-RS-6.2, "Surveys of Radioactive Material Use and Storage Areas".