Radiation Safety Program
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Radiation Emergency Response


In the event of a radiation spill or leak, immediate action must be taken to protect individuals and to control the spill.† Proper authorities should be notified immediately.

  1. Immediately inform co-workers in the area.If possible inform supervisor and ask for their support.

  2. Ensure your own safety.† Do not do anything to contaminate yourself or to cause increased penetration of contamination.

  3. Ensure the safety of others. Do not do anything to contaminate others or to cause increased penetration of contamination.

  4. Remove potentially contaminated clothing or cover shoes to avoid spreading the contamination.

  5. If you are not trained to cope with the severity of incident, immediately inform the Environmental Health and Safety Office directly (474-6633) during normal work hours.† Call 555 for Campus Police for a 24 hour response.† ALL INCIDENTS INVOLVING SEALED SOURCES SHALL BE IMMEDIATELY REPORTED!

  6. When possible make use of an uncontaminated person to perform duties that will not contaminate them.

  7. Get the Spill Kit.

  8. Cordon off the area.†† Unnecessary persons should be prevented from being in the spill area.

  9. Wear gloves and foot covers to avoid contamination.† Surround the spill or leak with absorbent material. Cover a liquid spill with absorbent material.† Wet absorbent paper before covering a dry spill.†† If radioiodine compounds are spilled, small amounts of a solution of 0.1 M NaI, 0.1 M NaOH and 0.1 M Na2S2O3 should be added to the spill carefully, to tie up any free iodine present or evolved.

  10. Monitor self and others, then the spill.† Note the isotope, maximum activity and results of preliminary survey.† Incidents involving† more than 10 mCi of H-3, 1 mCi of C-14, 10 uCi of I-125 or 100 uCi of all other radioisotopes MUST be reported to the Environmental Health and Safety Office directly (474-6633) during normal work hours or call 555 for Campus Police for a 24 hour response.

  11. Mark the location of the spill with a wax pencil and begin approved decontamination procedures as soon as possible (see below).† Remove contaminated items or decontaminate area and re-monitor.

  12. Write a report.† Keep a copy with Radiation Safety Records binder.† Send a copy to the Environmental Health & Safety Office.† Analyze the contributing factors to the incident and take action to reduce the possibility of a re-occurrence.† Share your experience with others.



Remove contamination as soon as possible to prevent its spread and eliminate it as a source of internal contamination by way of ingestion, absorption, inhalation or wound contamination.† Decontamination procedures should NOT increase penetration of radioactivity into the body by excessive abrasion of the skin.

  1. Locate the contaminated area with an appropriate survey meter.† Remove contaminated clothing and place in bag.
  2. If the skin is not broken, rinse the contaminated area with tepid water.
  3. If the contamination persists use a mild, non-abrasive soap by rubbing the lather gently about the contaminated area for about three minutes and then rinse thoroughly with tepid water.† Repeat if necessary.† Try household vinegar to remove P-32.
  4. If the contamination persists, notify the Radiation Safety Coordinator.
  5. If the skin is broken in the contaminated area, wet-swab the area taking care not to spread the activity into the wound.† It may be necessary to clip contaminated nails or hair, if decontamination attempts fail.

In the event of complications, medical assistance is available from:

The Radiation Medical Advisor,† Dr. I. D. Greenberg†† Phone:† 787-3837†† OR


Nuclear Medicine (Health Sciences Center)


Ask for Dr. I. D. Greenberg or the Physician On Call.


It would be of assistance to the medical advisor if the following information could be supplied:

  • the patientís name
  • the radioisotope involved
  • the total activity involved
  • nature of the material (liquid, powder, etc.)
  • the extent of the contamination and any other complications (i.e. fractures or burns).


Discuss large scale decontamination operations with the Radiation Safety Coordinator in before beginning procedures.†† Steps to follow if contamination occurs:

  1. Use specific decontamination techniques which are listed in Figure 11:† AREA AND MATERIAL DECONTAMINATION (page 37).
  2. Various chemicals may be used, but the initial approach should be scrubbing with small quantities of hot water containing suitable cleaning agents. Use no more liquid than necessary in order to minimize the spread of contamination.
  3. All waste chemicals, water, rags, etc. created as a result of decontamination are to be disposed of in accordance with the "waste disposal chart". Remember to keep higher level and lower level waste separate.
  4. Records of decontamination procedure and results of subsequent monitoring should be filed in the Radiation Safety Records binder in the room where the incident occurred.



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