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Radiation Worker Training

Reviewed 5/31/16

      Each individual who works with ionizing radiation at SUNY Upstate Medical University must complete a training program prior to commencing work.  Also, all workers must attend an annual refresher program to retain approved radiation worker status.  The training program consists of two stages.

      STAGE ONE (directed by the Radiation Safety Office).  --Training in the following areas:

      1.    Applicable regulations and license conditions.

      2.    Radiation hazards and risks.

      3.    Basic radiation safety procedures, work rules, exposure monitoring, survey instrument use and contamination monitoring.

      4.    Reporting unsafe working conditions.

      5.    Emergency procedures.

      6.    Exposure monitoring and bioassay, workers’ right to be informed of results.

      7.    Meaning of posted warning signs, etc.

      8.    Examination in the above.

Items 1-8 must be obtained and documented. At the completion of this stage, conditional approval to work in radiation areas will be given by the R.S.O.

STAGE TWO (Directed and documented by the authorized user).

Training in the following areas:

      1. Areas where radioactive materials are stored, used and disposed.

      2. Location and use of records for use, inventory and disposal of radioactive materials.

      3. Location and use of personnel radiation safety equipment such as survey meters, lab coats, gloves, etc.

      4. Location and use of radiation safety-related documents, in animals, etc.

      5. Location and use of emergency eye wash, safety shower, and emergency contact list.

      6. Hazards of radioactive materials and related compounds specific to the laboratory and precautions to be taken.

      7. Document direct supervision and instruction by the authorized user in techniques and use of equipment specific to the use of radioactive materials in the laboratory.

Items 1-6 must be completed, documented and returned to the RSO upon starting work.

Item 7 must be completed, documented and returned to the RSO within two months of starting work.

A sign-off form for documentation of the above training is found <here>.

The Individual Worker

Individual User

     Much of the work with radiation, either in research or in clinical situations, is done by individuals other than the authorized user. Therefore, it is his or her responsibility to be familiar with this manual and proper procedures. Their adherence to good practice will facilitate radiation safety, perhaps more than any other single factor. The following regulations and work practices should be conscientiously adhered to:

1. The individual's exposure rate should be kept as low as practicable by utilizing short working times, appropriate shielding and protective devices and judicious use of distance as a protection factor.

2. Wearing radiation monitoring dosimeters when appropriate. The Radiation Safety Office should be consulted about the proper use and storage of the dosimeters. People exclusively using low energy Beta emitters (3H, 14C, 35S, 45Ca) are not issued dosimeters.

3. Using appropriate protective clothing and devices such as:

            a. appropriate protective gloves and gowns when handling

            b. respiratory protective devices when indicated

            c. protective barriers

            d. tongs and other mechanical devices for remote handling

            e. pipette filling devices (NEVER PIPETTE BY MOUTH!).

            f. use of air hoods, exhaust devices, etc. as specified by the Radiation Safety Office

4. Smoking, drinking, eating, applying cosmetics, or storing food or drinks in radiation laboratories are prohibited. In certain cases where the laboratory area is large, areas may be designated where these activities may be permitted. This approval will be at the discretion of the Radiation Safety Officer. Also, each laboratory area designated for eating, etc. will be delineated by appropriate warning signs and/or lines on the floor as found appropriate by the Radiation Safety Officer.

5. Washing hands after use of radionuclides.

6. Proper labeling and storing of radioactive materials.

7. General good housekeeping. Keep work areas and storage areas organized and neat. Unbreakable and non-leaking containers should be used. Absorbent and/or disposable chucks should be used to contain any spillage. Non-porous surfaces such as glass or stainless steel should be used for work surfaces. Fiberglass trays can be substituted for these stainless steel or glass work surfaces.

8. The individual worker shall be thoroughly familiar with the physical, chemical and biological characteristics such as half life, energy, biological pathways, chemical reactions, toxicity, volatility, permeability, etc. He or she should request more information, if necessary, from the authorized user or from Radiation Safety personnel.

9. All individuals working with radioactive materials must have authorization from the Radiation Safety Officer to conduct such work. In particular, no one under 18 shall be regularly employed in an area where their radiation dose may exceed those levels permitted for the general public.

Instruction and Training Of Ancillary Personnel

     Ancillary personnel whose duties may require them to work in the vicinity of radioactive materials or radiation-producing equipment must also be informed of radiation hazards and receive basic instruction in radiation safety (radiation risks, identification of signs and symbols, emergency contacts and action).

     Persons associated with the laboratory, e.g., clerical and certain laboratory staff, will be instructed by the authorized user. All others will receive instruction through the Radiation Safety Office.