4.0 Handling Policies

4.1 Safe Work Practices

Good housekeeping is required wherever radionuclides are used. Work areas must be clearly defined and remain uncluttered.

Work surfaces shall be covered to facilitate easy decontamination. Absorbent bench coverings shall be changed frequently, i.e., weekly, or whenever the covering is noticeably soiled, torn, or contaminated.

Locate work areas away from heavy traffic or doorways.

When moving a radioactive solution between approved locations, place the material in a secondary container.

4.2 Radiation Safety Training

Persons planning to work with RAM must be familiar with the properties of radioisotopes used. To ensure such knowledge, all radiation workers shall receive radiation safety training PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF SUCH WORK:

  • Radiation safety training is provided through the EH&S Program. The AU provides training in laboratory specific policies and procedures for associated radiation workers. Annual refresher training is required.
  • The training requirement may be waived by the RSO for personnel who have either received training from other institutions (and the evidence of training is provided to RSO). Training may also be waived if an individual has previously worked with RAM.
  • Classroom training requirements for ionizing radiation can be met by the RSO, by another approved instructor, or by a member of the Radiation Safety Staff. Radiation safety guidelines will be presented before laboratory work begins. Documentation of

Temporary radiation workers can be approved by the RSO.

  • Temporary radiation workers (radiation work period less than or equal to two weeks) may use RAM under the direct supervision of the AU or another radiation worker who is familiar with the RAM use in the laboratory. Radiation safety training is recommended, but it is not mandatory.

4.3 Radiation Use by Pregnant Women

It is the policy of the University of Nevada, Reno to assure that the unborn children of the University's employees be protected to the greatest extent possible. The dose limit for the embryo/fetus of a declared pregnant woman is 500 mrem. This limit is for the entire gestation period.

This policy applies to all declared pregnant women. The State of Nevada defines a declared pregnant woman as a woman who has voluntarily informed her employer, in writing, of her pregnancy and the estimated date of conception.

It is the fundamental responsibility of the pregnant worker to decide when and if she will formally declare her condition to her employer. Any person who has questions or concerns about declaring pregnancy is strongly encouraged to contact the RSO.

4.4 Storage of Radioactive Materials

When not in active use, radioactive materials shall be secured in a manner that will prevent unauthorized access or removal. Storage sites shall not create "Radiation Areas" and radiation must be shielded or sealed to keep exposures ALARA. Radioisotopes must never be left unsecured in unoccupied laboratories.

4.5 Labeling of Containers

Containers of radioactive material for storage, processing, or use, shall be individually and conspicuously labeled "Caution-Radioactive Material". Exempt containers must meet the conditions specified in NAC 459.3575. In addition, the label must specify the identity of the radioisotope, the estimated activity (amount), and the date. Containers with less than exempt quantities or concentrations of radioactive material may be placed in properly labeled secondary containers for storage. Containers of radioactive materials not labeled as such are subject to impoundment. Empty and clean containers must have labels removed or defaced.

4.6 Posting of Radiation Areas

4.6.1 Rooms and Work Areas

All rooms in which more than exempted quantities or exempted concentrations of radioactive materials are used or stored shall be designated in writing by the RSO and shall be posted with an appropriate warning label. Radiation sources must not be in any room or location that has not been approved by the RSO.

4.6.2 Controlled Areas

All areas with greater than exempted quantities or exempted concentrations of radioactive material present are controlled areas. Access to such an area must then be controlled by the Authorized User and limited to persons requiring access. Casual visitors are prohibited in controlled areas.

4.6.3 Notice to Employees

The State Radiation Control Program Office Form NRC-1 "Notice to Employees" shall be conspicuously posted in each laboratory where radioactive materials are used.

4.6.4 Radiation Laboratory Rules

Each laboratory using radionuclides shall conspicuously post the UNR "Radiation Laboratory Rules" (APPENDIX B).

4.7 Protective Clothing Policy

Personnel working in designated areas displayed on lab maps (where radioactive materials are in use) must wear protective garments. Open toed shoes and sandals are not permitted. The usual laboratory coat, safety glasses, and disposable gloves are considered minimum fulfillment of this requirement. Additional protective garments may be required by the RSO.

Storage and Consumption of Food, Smoking, and Application of Cosmetics Policy

The storage and consumption of food, smoking, and application of cosmetics is prohibited in locations authorized for the storage and use of radioactive materials. Clean areas in this section mean the absence of radioactive material or radiation sources. All other hazards such as chemical hazards must be addressed by EH&S.

Upon the request of the Authorized User, "Clean Areas" may be designated by the Radiation Safety Office after radiation and/or contamination surveys of the area have been conducted by the Radiation Safety Office. All designated "Clean Areas" will be surveyed for contamination whenever contamination is found in any adjacent work area.

Approval of the "Clean Area" will depend in part on the radioisotopes, amounts and physical forms of the isotopes, and the types of operations being conducted.

Refrigerators used for storage of radioactive materials shall not be used for storage of food and beverages. If an Authorized User wishes to use a refrigerator for food storage that was previously used for storage of radioactive materials, it must be surveyed by the Radiation Safety Staff and verified as clean. Only then can it be used for food storage in unrestricted areas.

4.9 Personal Hygiene

Mouth pipetting is not permitted while working with radioactive materials. Personnel using radioactive materials shall wash their hands thoroughly and monitor them for radiological contamination before leaving the laboratory.

4.10 General Monitoring

4.10.1 User

Immediately following the use of radioactive materials, the area and equipment must be swiped (and the swipes counted) or surveyed, by an appropriate method for the radioisotope(s) in use by personnel directly involved with the project. Monitoring results must be documented and the records must be preserved. Monitoring may be required more frequently at the discretion of the RSO. If contamination is found, the Authorized User must immediately restrict access to the area and decontaminate the area.

Each laboratory in which radioisotopes are used shall be equipped with a portable survey instrument in good working order which is capable of detecting the type of radiation(s) emitted by the radioisotope(s) used. These instruments shall be continuously available for routine monitoring and for surveys following a radiation incident. Because these instruments usually are not capable of detecting H-3, swipe tests and analysis by a liquid scintillation counter are required when H-3 is used. All portable radiation survey equipment will be calibrated, and all fixed counting equipment will have their efficiencies determined at intervals not to exceed one year and whenever repairs are completed. Documentation of such calibration or efficiency tests shall be maintained both with the equipment and at the Radiation Safety Office.

4.10.2 Radiation Safety Office

The RSO and/or other qualified EH&S personnel shall also conduct periodic surveys of all areas in which licensed radioactive material is used. The RSO will institute or recommend appropriate corrective measures in cases where contamination or other sources of potential hazard are found to exist. Radioactive sealed sources shall be tested for leakage in accordance with NAC 459.307.

5.0 Animal Use Policy