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Radiation Safety Training Module
Refresher Training
ISU Technical Safety Office
Campus Box 8106
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-2311
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Laboratory Safety Procedures

Each person who works with unsealed or dispersible radioactive materials is responsible for:

  • knowing the basic properties of the radioactive materials to be used, e.g. the half-life of the nuclide(s), the type(s) of radiation emitted, the annual limit on intake (ALI) and the type and quantity of the appropriate regional shielding.
  • following the instructions or procedures provided by the responsible user and the RSO, or provided in the Radiation Safety Policy Manual.
  • surveying of gloves, clothing, equipment and work area frequently during procedures in which more than 1 ALI is manipulated, and surveying of hands and personal clothing before leaving the laboratory.
  • providing a urine sample, obtaining a thyroid count or other bioassay measurements, at intervals specified by the RSO. 
  • recording the results of all radiation surveys and screening bioassays promptly, completely and accurately.

Each room containing more than 10 times the Reference Quantity values given in 10CFR20, Appendix C and RPR10 must be labeled with a "CAUTION RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS" label. For rooms containing X-ray machines “CAUTION X-RAY EQUIPMENT” label should be used.

If any dose rate exceeds 2 mrem in any one hour at 30 cm (1ft.) from an accessible source or surface, the room shall be posted as a "RESTRICTED AREA" to prevent entry of unauthorized individuals.  If any dose rate exceeds 5 mrem in any one hour at 30 cm (1ft.) from an accessible source or a surface, the room must be labeled with a "CAUTION RADIATION AREA" sign. 

A "NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES" (left), available from the RSO, must be posted in a location clearly visible to anyone entering the laboratory.

All containers of radioactive materials should be labeled with the "CAUTION, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL" or "DANGER, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL" sign.
Survey Instruments 
The responsible user shall ensure that instruments used for determining exposure rates or for direct detection of contamination are calibrated biannually and capable of responding appropriately to the types of radiation anticipated. The user must know the detection efficiency (e.g. % efficiency for the radionuclides being used in the laboratory, cpm/dpm) for each contamination survey instrument and record it with all survey results. 
Lantern Mantle Check Sources
We have recently provided laminated lantern mantle check sources to verify that your survey instrument is in proper working order.  Contact TSO if you do not know how to use these.
Minimize the external exposure
Careful planning of work, good handling techniques and thorough monitoring are all necessary to minimize exposure.  Adequate time, distance, and shielding (the ALARA concept) from sources are also important factors in reducing exposure.
Prevention of intake of radioactive material
Ingestion of radioactivity must be prevented by avoiding mouth contact with any items handled in a radioactive material laboratory (pipettes, pencils, etc.), by prohibiting eating, drinking and smoking in radionuclide handling areas and by careful attention to personal hygiene.
  Key Words: responsibilities, posting, survey instruments, minimize the external exposure, prevention of intake.
Page: 9 of: 12
  Quiz: A contamination meter reads 200 counts per minute (cpm) when performing a contamination survey for P-32.  The efficiency on the detector states the efficiency for P-32 is 50%.  What is the estimated rate of disintegrations per minute (dpm)?
a) 400 dpm b) 200 dpm c) 10,000 dpm d) 100 dpm
  10 CFR 20.1901 Caution Signs
  Side story:  There are many urban legends about people accidently poisoning themselves by sticking pens/pencils that have been in contaminated areas in their mouths.  Lets not make the legends true, keep EVERYTHING out of your mouth while working in the laboratory!

This web based training was developed for use within Idaho State University.  It is intended for use by, and applies to ISU employees, staff, visitors, and students.  If this web site or any part of it is used elsewhere, neither its authors nor the University accept responsibility for its contents.  This information may NOT be used for commercial development or profit.