Appendix B: Radiation Laboratory Rules

  • Eating, drinking, smoking: No eating, drinking, smoking or application of cosmetics is permitted in a radioisotope laboratory.
  • Wash Hands: Wash hands after handling radioisotope and before doing other work.
  • Pipetting: Pipetting by mouth is prohibited
  • Protective Clothing: Always use protective laboratory gloves when handling radioisotope. Lab coats shall be worn in the laboratory and left in the laboratory. They shall not be used for other work, sent to another area, or released for cleaning until demonstrated to be free of contamination. Safety glasses should always be worn in chemical laboratories.
  • Confine the activity: Always work over trays or work surfaces lined with an absorbent material. Keep, and transport, radioisotopes doubly contained.
  • Labeling: Label radioisotope containers with your name, date, radionuclide and its quantity.
  • Before Leaving: Clean up and monitor your work area and yourself at the end of each work period before leaving the laboratory. Remove any contamination found and monitor the area to ensure successful decontamination.
  • Waste Disposal: All radioactive wastes and contaminated materials shall be placed in the properly labeled radioactive waste containers. No radioactive material shall be placed in the regular waste. Waste log shall be kept on the waste container or nearby.
  • Counting Room: Take only prepared samples into the counting room. No potentially contaminated material or apparatus is permitted in the counting room or area.
  • Hoods: Materials which could become airborne must be stored and used in an approved hood or glove box.
  • Security: Secure all radioactive materials when the laboratory is unoccupied or when authorized radiation workers are not present.
  • Personnel Monitoring: Wear assigned personnel dosimeters whenever working with radioactive material.
  • Sewer Disposal: No radioactive waste shall be placed into the sewer system without authorization from the Radiation Safety Office.
  • Exposure: No one shall cause any person unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Laboratory Spills

Where danger of spills of radioactive material exists, secondary containers or trays must be used. Containers should be covered whenever possible and only those amounts of radioactive material that is immediately necessary should be taken from the stock.

In the event of accidental spillage, keep calm, use common sense, protect people, and do not spread the contamination. If there are high radiation levels or the possibility of airborne contamination from volatile radioactive material, evacuate the laboratory immediately, secure the laboratory to prevent entry, and notify the RSO. Unnecessary movement or touching of the spill or contaminated items or surfaces shall be avoided. Use the following as guides:

  1. Notify persons in the area that a spill has occurred
  2. Localize the spill. Put on disposable gloves, right the container, and blot the spill with absorbent material. Do not wipe or use wiping motions because this may spread the contamination.
  3. Water and mild soap may be used if necessary.
  4. Survey the area with appropriate instruments. Check the area around the spill, your hands, clothing and shoes for contamination.
  5. Report the incident to the Radiation Safety Office.