Radiation Safety Guide

Radiation Protection Services (RPS) has the responsibility to implement the radiation safety program at Stony Brook University. The complete rules and regulations for the safe use of radioactive materials can be found in the University Radiation Protection Committee (URPC) Policies and Procedures booklet, which is available in each authorized radioactive materials laboratory. This booklet is provided to aid you in recognizing your responsibility for radiation safety. While it gives an overview of basic radiation safety procedures, it is the responsibility of each radiation worker to be thoroughly familiar with all applicable sections of the Radioactive Materials Safety Manual.

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Accidental Spills of Radioactive Material

All spills of radioactive material must be cleaned promptly. The responsibility for cleaning up the spill rests on the individuals working in the area involved and responsible for the spill. Under no circumstances should an untrained person attempt to examine or clean up a spill of radioactive material. If assistance is needed, contact the RPS Office.

Major Spills

Major spills, such as contamination of the body or clothing, ingestion of radioactive material, overexposure to radiation, etc. shall be decontaminated under the direct supervision of RPS.

Minor Spills

Minor spills, those involving little or no radiation or contamination hazard to personnel may be decontaminated by laboratory personnel under supervision of the responsible Senior Investigator or his designee.

Spill Procedures

The following general procedures should be followed when dealing with spills of radioactive materials:

  1. Inform others of the spill. Adjust your response to the seriousness of the spill. Instruct those personnel present in the room at the time of the spill to remain in an evacuation area to prevent contamination spread. Have an evacuee notify the RPS office of the incident. If after normal working hours, report the incident to Public Safety. Evacuated personnel should not eat, drink or smoke until they are monitored and found free of contamination.
  2. Affected persons should limit their movement to confine the spread of contamination.
  3. Contain the spill from further spread. If the material is a liquid, place an absorbent material such as paper towels, tissues, cloth, etc. over the spill to prevent its spread. If the material spilled is a powered solid, attempt to contain its spread by covering the area with a protective barrier such as a drip tray, empty beaker, section of paper, etc. If appropriate, close doors and windows, and turn off room ventilation fans.
  4. Remove contaminated clothing at once; flush contaminated skin areas thoroughly.
  5. Shut off ventilating equipment (if possible) that may transport contaminated air from the area to other parts of the building.
  6. Vacate and post or cordon off the contaminated area.
  7. Assemble in a nearby safe or clear area and begin monitoring and decontamination of affected persons. Do not leave the area unless adequately decontaminated or with the permission of RPS.
  8. Decontaminate the area: Plan ahead. Provide adequate protection and supplies for personnel involved in the clean up. Begin at the periphery and work toward the center of the contaminated items in the proper waste containers.
  9. Monitor the area: Using appropriate survey techniques, monitor the progress of the decontamination. Monitor all personnel and material before releasing them to clean areas.

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