Laboratory Rules for Safe Use of Radioactive Material
The following requirements apply to all users of radioactive material.
- Radioactive materials may only be possessed or used in accordance with authorizations issued by the University Isotopes Committee unless specifically exempted by the UIC.
- Persons working in laboratories in which radioactive material is used must be familiar with the regulations and radiation safety procedures. New personnel must contact EHS to arrange for required safety instruction before starting work with radioactive materials.
- Orders for shipment of radioactive materials to and from the University and transfers between Supervisors within the University must be processed through EHS.
- Inventory forms for radioactive materials must be kept current. Completed inventory forms must be returned to EHS when the material has been used up or has decayed to an insignificant activity level.
- Persons using radioactive materials are responsible for conducting routine surveys to detect contamination or excessive radiation levels each time unsealed radioactive materials are used.
- Persons using radioactive materials are responsible for the immediate decontamination of facilities which become contaminated.
- Pipetting by mouth is prohibited in laboratories.
- Persons working with dispersable radioactive material, not in a closed container, must wear laboratory coats, or other protective clothing and appropriate protective gloves.
- Eating, drinking, and the storage of food or beverages is prohibited in areas where unsealed radioactive materials are used or stored. EHS staff have been directed by the University Isotopes Committee to immediately stop all work with radioactive materials under any Authorization which covers the areas where food or drinks were found. Use of radioactive materials must not resume until the laboratory supervisor has taken action to correct the problem and has received written approval to start work from the University Isotopes Committee.
- Radioactive materials must only be discarded into appropriately labeled radioactive waste containers. EHS staff have been directed to immediately stop the use of radioactive materials in any laboratory in which radioactive material is found in normal trash, biohazard waste, or recycling containers. The use of radioactive material may not resume until the laboratory supervisor has taken action to correct the problem and has received written approval to start work from the University Isotopes Committee.
- All unattended containers holding more than 1 µCi of radioactive material must be labeled with the radiation trefoil, "CAUTION, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL" the radionuclide present, the date, the activity, and the name of the person responsible for the material. Items that may become contaminated or normally contain radioactive material must be labeled with the radiation trefoil and "CAUTION, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL".
Stricter labeling requirements apply to Sr-90, Cd-113m, Gd-148, Hf-178m, Hf-182, Pb-210, Bi-210m, Po-210, and most materials with atomic number greater than 87 other than natural uranium or thorium; contact EHS for details.
- Licensed radioactive material in storage must be secure from unauthorized removal or access. Radioactive material not in storage must be controlled and under constant surveillance.
Locking the room which contains radioactive material or storing the materials in a locked cabinet, refrigerator, shield, or storage box meets this requirement. If a room containing radioactive materials is occupied, the radioactive materials must be under the constant surveillance of the occupants, or the room must be locked. Radioactive material that is an integral part of a non-portable piece of equipment (e.g. liquid scintillation counter internal standard) is considered secure. Laboratories left unattended are in compliance with this requirement if the laboratory door is locked or all radioactive materials, including waste, are in locked storage areas.
- The loss or theft of radioactive material must be immediately reported to EHS.
Approved by Penn State’s University Isotopes Committee April, 2001