wishing to work with ionising radiations for the first time must contact the
School Radiation Protection Officer who will arrange for registration with the
University Radiation Protection Officer.
January 2000 the University has been subject to the Ionising Radiation
Regulations (1999) made under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), which
protect individuals from injury at their place of work. Anyone working with
radioactive substances (or equipment that produces ionising radiations) is
subject to these regulations. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) administers
and checks compliance with the regulations. A copy of the relevant guidance notes
and procedures is available at the documents page of the
Health and Safety office website.
protection is based on three general principles:
exposing individuals to ionising radiation must be justified by the advantages
must be kept as low as reasonably achievable;
sum of doses received shall not exceed certain limits.
University is also subject to the “Radioactive Substances Act” 1961 and 1994,
which controls holdings of radioactive materials and their disposal.
University appoints both as Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) (currently an
external consultant) and a University Radiation Protection Officer (URPO). The
function of the RPA is to advise the University, whereas the URPO is
responsible for most of the day-to-day running of the University Radiation
Protection Service. Part of the responsibilities of the SRPO are to:
- keep an inventory of radioactive materials stored
throughout the University site, and to make returns as required by the
- organise and control the correct disposal of
- leak-test sealed sources held within the University
every two years.
- order and distribute all new radioactive material
required by authorised users
- assess the need for personal dose monitoring of
individual workers, organise the procurement and distribution of relevant
dosemeters, maintain dose records for non-classified workers and to forward
those for classified workers to the National Radiological Protection Board
- investigate and account for abnormal dose returns and
to keep a record of all incidents and accidents involving ionising
Radiation Protection Officer (SRPO) oversees all matters concerned with
radiation protection within the School and liaises with both the University
Radiation Protection Officer and with specific Radiation Protection Supervisors
(RPS) within the School who are responsible for proper supervision in specific laboratories/areas.
The SRPO is to:
- ensure that the Local Rules, schemes of work and
Regulations are adhered to
- ensure that suitable and appropriate training is provided
for all radiation workers
- keep the URPO informed of all changes in the nature of
the work in the School, and to assist in the reformulation of Local Rules
and schemes of work to accommodate these
- ensure proper keeping of records for radioactive
materials brought into the School, their usage and disposals
- ensure that all disposals are in accordance with the
waste disposal certificates held by the University
- make regular checks and inspections of storage sites
for radioactive materials and to monitor radiation levels at these sites,
to monitor contamination of working surfaces etc. at least two times each
year and to keep records of these checks
- monitor the scatter and leakage from any X-ray
analytical equipment at least twice a year and to keep records of these
- report to the URPO any irregularity noted during the
above checks, or arising at other times
- arrange with the URPO for the disposal of waste
- inform the URPO of new workers in the School so that
medical tests can be arranged for them if necessary and so that they can
be interviewed by the URPO, and to inform the URPO when any worker ceases
to work with ionising radiations or leaves the University
- organise, where necessary, free access to areas of the
School by the URPO for inspections
- attend meetings of the Radiation Hazards Committee.
- arrange and ensure prompt distribution and collection
of dose meters within the School.
- bring to the attention of the URPO any other matters of
which he should be aware.
- act as Radiation Protection Supervisor in those areas
where no other RPS has been appointed.
laboratory working with open sources of ionising radiation the appointed RPS is
responsible for ensuring adequate radiation protection procedures and training
of workers in the area. In particular, the RPS is responsible for:
- ensuring that all workers within a particular group
observe the Local Rules, Schemes of Work and Regulations.
- ensuring that suitable and appropriate training is
provided for all radiation workers under her/his supervision.
- reporting to the SRPO any changes in the nature of the
work carried out, and any incidents involving ionising radiations.
- keeping records of the acquisition of radioactive
substances, their use and disposal, and providing such records to the SRPO
- informing the SRPO of new workers and helping in their
training, and informing the SRPO of the cessation of radiation work by
- monitoring regularly, where appropriate and as laid
down in the Local Rules, for radioactive contamination and leakage from
equipment generating ionising radiations, and keeping records of such
- keeping a record of the location of sealed and unsealed
sources, checking this inventory regularly at a frequency laid down in the
Local Rules, and making these records available to the SRPO
- bringing to the attention of the SRPO any matter of
which s/he should be aware.
assessments must be made and local Rules and Schemes of Work written for each
sphere of work involving ionising radiations to ensure that it is carried out
in compliance with the Regulations. Copies of these rules and working
procedures must be displayed in each laboratory and should be brought to the
attention of all employees who may be affected by them.
It is the
duty of the Head of School through the SRPO and RPSs to ensure that the local
rules are adhered to and that all persons working in their School are properly
trained in the safe use of all sources of ionising radiation.
It is the
duty of each person whose work involves ionising radiations to ensure that the
local rules are adhered to. Any person under the age of 18 or pregnant must
consult the SRPO before considering any work with ionising radiations.
persons handling or using radioactive materials must be radiation workers
registered with the University Radiation Services.
- At all
times when radioactive material is being handled, full personal
protection, a well-fitting laboratory coat, gloves and, where appropriate,
eye and mouth protection, must be worn.
using 3H and 14C are not normally monitored (although in the case of 3H it
may be necessary to assess internal dose using urine samples) and for 35S
and 125I finger monitors are issued to new workers. Film badges are issued
to users of 125I. Those using 32P must wear finger-monitors when handling
undiluted or slightly diluted stock-solutions.
- The areas
designated for use of radioisotopes handling are clearly delineated on
laboratory plans available in each laboratory. Most of these are
impervious surfaces, with a lipped front, but in some laboratories these
benches are permeable and require covering in a suitably absorbent
material such as “Benchcote” (absorbent side up). Non-designated areas
must not be used for any work involving radionuclides.
- Work must
be performed over drip-trays wherever possible.
normal restriction on eating, smoking etc applies to laboratories where
work with ionising radiations is carried out.
who has been handling or working with radionuclides in any form must wash
his or her hands thoroughly before leaving the laboratory, even for a
brief period. No one shall leave the laboratory wearing gloves that have
been worn for handling radionuclides.
radioactive materials must be stored in a clearly marked, lockable
cupboard or refrigerator when not in use.
dilution of radionuclides from stock solutions must take place at a
designated site, which in the case of 32P, 35S, 22Na or 125I may be a
of radioactive materials from one laboratory to another should be
restricted to the minimum. Radioisotopes must not be transported between
- All areas
where radionuclides are handled must be checked regularly for
contamination, following the guidelines in the Laboratory Rules, and a
contamination found must be removed, a record added to contamination
records and both the SRPO and the URPO informed.
accident or spillage, which involves radioactive materials, must be
contained, the area sealed off and the SRPO and URPO informed immediately.
Guidelines for dealing with spills and decontamination are available in
and complete records must be kept of all radioactive materials used,
stating amounts drawn from stock and amounts disposed of, together with
the method of disposal (sink, solid, scintillant). These records are
collected by the URPO. The location of all sources must be known at all
scintillant waste or counted tubes are deposited in designated containers
for disposal the amount of radioactivity in the waste should be added to
the sheet adjacent to the waste drum.
of waste material must be avoided. Waste is collected by the University
Radiation Protection Service/URPO for storage and/or disposal.
waste will be disposed of via a designated disposal sink leading directly
to a sewer. The disposal amount and rate will be controlled by the
availability of radioisotope and the protocols of the experiments. Care
must be taken to ensure that licence limits are not exceeded. If there is
any likelihood of the limit being exceeded, the RPA must be consulted
before any disposal action is taken, in order that a protocol may be
devised to prevent contravention.
- Solid and
non-aqueous waste will be collected at the storage facility on Streatham
Campus. Each container of waste will be identified by a unique serial
number, assigned by the Radiation Service, when it is taken into the waste
- Very Low
Level Waste (swabs, pipette tips, gloves, washed-out sample containers
etc) must be collected in non-biodegradable white or black plastic bags of
suitable robustness, double-thickness, held in a suitable waste-bag
support (for radiophosphorus this should be a purpose-made box of acrylic
of minimum thickness 7 mm, with a lid) labelled to indicate that
radioactive materials only must be disposed of there, and where separate
waste steams are maintained, to identify which bag is for which waste
type. The bags themselves should not be marked as radioactive. When a bag
is full, the Radiation Service must be informed, and arrangements made to
collect the bag with minimum delay. When it is collected, the bag will be
marked with a radiation symbol, which can be removed when it is finally
container of scintillation and other counted radionuclide samples must
bear a radioactive warning sign and a legend identifying it as radioactive
waste. It must have associated with it a schedule listing each disposal,
with the activity disposed of, and a running total of activity in the
container. When the container is full and passed to the Radiation Service
for disposal, this schedule (or an exact copy thereof) must accompany the
container at all times. On the container being taken into the waste store,
the schedule will be assigned the same identifying code as the container
to which it relates.
waste disposal routes as follows:
waste – pipette tips, swabs, gloves etc – are collected in bags,
recorded, checked for radioactive emission and placed in dustbins at a
isotope waste (Phosphorus-32 and 33, Cr-51, I-125) will be separated from
other isotope waste and stored for decay to minimise environmental
impact. When it has decayed for a suitable period (such that the activity
is demonstrably below the statutory limits) it will be disposed of to
waste will be disposed of regularly to our licensed disposer, Shanks Waste
Solutions at Fawley.
laid down in the relevant guidance notes at the documents page of the
Health and Safety office website, as follows:
- The limit on effective dose for any employee over 18
years of age shall be 20 mSv in a calendar year (but note there are
further levels for equivalent doses for the lens of the eye and for the
skin, and effective dose hands, forearms, feet and ankles)
- The limit on effective dose for any trainee under 18
years of age shall be 6 mSv in a calendar year (again with further (and
different levels for the categories as noted above)
- In addition to both the above, the limit on equivalent
dose for the abdomen of a woman of reproductive capacity shall be 13 mSv
in any consecutive period of three months.
- The limit on effective dose for any person not an
employee or trainee shall be 1 mSv in any calendar year.
The action levels on dose returns are specified as below for
- Zero dose return - no action.
- 0 - 0.5 mSv - await next dose return. If a second
measurable dose is recorded, alert SRPO.
- 0.5 - 1 mSv - alert SRPO, request investigation and
review of handling techniques.
- Above 1 mSv - initiate full investigation without
listed within the relevant guidance notes at the documents page of the
Health and Safety office website.