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General Laboratory Rules for Radiation Safety

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General Laboratory Safety Rules

  1. High standards of cleanliness and good housekeeping must be maintained in all laboratories where radioactive material is present.
  2. Eating, drinking, smoking, or applying cosmetics are not permitted in areas where radioactive materials are used or stored.
  3. University housekeeping personnel must clean only those areas designated by the Laboratory Authority. The users or their qualified laboratory personnel shall be responsible for the remainder of the housecleaning.
  4. At least one preliminary run using appropriate test materials is recommended for new procedures and new personnel to test the effectiveness of procedures and equipment.
  5. Radioactive solutions must not be pipetted by mouth.
  6. All work must be performed on surfaces protected by plastic-backed absorbent paper in order to minimize contamination.
  7. All containers of radioactive material must be properly labeled. See Posting and Labeling, Radioactive Material Safety Program.
  8. When radioactive material is used in a volatile or gaseous form, or in such a way that aerosols could be readily dispersed, the work must be performed in a manner intended to minimize airborne contamination.
  9. When work with radioactive materials is performed in a fume hood, the hood should be manufacturer-designated for radioisotope use. The sash opening should be minimized (less than 18 inches). Any equipment in the hood and work done in the hood should be as far back from the opening as possible.
  10. It is the responsibility of the Laboratory Authority to ensure that all personnel under their supervision have read and are trained on the procedures specified in the Radioactive Material Safety Program
  11. All persons designated by the radiation safety officer to wear personnel monitoring badges must wear these devices when they work with or near radioactive material that requires monitoring.
  12. Gloves are required when handling any radioactive material (except sealed sources - refer to Appendix 7 Definitions, Radioactive Material Safety Program). Other appropriate protective clothing and equipment may be required depending on the procedure being used.
  13. Radioisotopes must be used in such a manner that radiation exposure rates to personnel are kept as small as possible. The use of appropriately designed shields will minimize exposure.
  14. Long-handled forceps, beaker tongs, etc. should be used routinely when handling radioactive material that emits high levels of radiation in order to increase distance between material and personnel.
  15. All injuries possibly involving radioactive material, no matter how slight, should be monitored to determine if the wound is contaminated. Special protection is required to prevent the entry of radioactive material into the body through wounds. The radiation safety officer must be notified and will evaluate each situation.
  16. All equipment that is suspected to have come in contact with loose radioactive material must be considered potentially contaminated. An authorized user must monitor the equipment for contamination before the equipment can be removed from the laboratory.
  17. The use of biodegradable cocktails (e.g. alkyl benzene base) for liquid scintillation counting is strongly encouraged because of increased personnel safety.
  18. When the use of a facility or storage area is to be terminated, the Radiation Safety Office must be notified. See Inactivation of Authorized Equipment and Areas, Radioactive Material Safety Program.

Contact Information

Donald Conner, Radiation Safety Officer

Phone: 540-231-5364 
Email: dcon@vt.edu

Cynthia Strader, Assistant Radiation Safety Officer

Phone: 540-231-2699 
Email: cynth@vt.edu