Office of Research

III. Radiation Safety Program

 

Individuals involved in the radiation safety program at Clemson University include: Members of the Radiation Safety Committee (R.S.C.), the Radiation Safety Officer (R.S.O.) and staff, Authorized Investigators, Radiation Workers.

 

Prospective Authorized Investigators apply to the R.S.C. for authorization to use specific radioactive isotopes and / or radiation producing machines.  By applying for and accepting authorization the Authorized Investigator accepts responsibility for how the isotopes or radiation producing machines are used in the research laboratory or in other authorized places of use under their supervision.  The Authorized Investigator must establish a sound and current radiation safety program for all users under his/her direction.  The R.S.C. requires that such a program be outlined in the application for authorization to possess and use radioactive source material or radiation producing machines.  Once approved, the tenants of the application become local conditions of use.  The program should include certain elements that are described in the following sections.

 

A.        Responsibilities of the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)

 

The Committee has the authority to define the policies, procedures, and standards governing the use of sources of radiation at all University facilities, to include approval of all Authorized Investigators.  The RSC is the final authority in all matters relating to the safe possession and use of radioactive materials and radiation producing equipment.

 

The RSC may terminate the authorization to possess and use radioactive materials and/or other sources of radiation in a research study, and/or place restrictions on the use of radiation by an Authorized Investigator.

 

B.        Authorized Investigators Duties And Responsibilities

 

1.         Who is an Authorized Investigator?

The Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) and the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) issue "authorizations" to qualified personnel permitting them to possess and use sources of radiation in University facilities. These personnel are called Authorized Investigators (AI).  The AI, usually a faculty member, shares the legal responsibility for the safe handling of radioactive material or radiation producing devices under their jurisdiction.   All university personnel and students directly involved in the use of sources of radiation conduct their operations under the supervision of an AI.

2.         Initial Authorization to use radioactive materials and radiation producing devices

Initial approval is obtained by submitting an application for authorization to the Committee on forms available through the Radiation Safety Office.  The application will describe such items as:

the facility or areas where the radioisotopes/radiation will be used,

the radioisotope(s) or other sources of radiation which will be used, and

procedures and work practices which will be followed.

 

3.         Condition of Authorizations to Use Radioactive Material

 

An authorization defines for the Investigator:

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      • radionuclides or radiation producing equipment that may be used;
      • allowable possession limit of each radionuclide;
      • how the radionuclides may be used;
      • which laboratories or areas that are authorized for used;
      • the survey schedule of each lab;
      • the required record keeping in the lab;
      • any special conditions of authorization;
      • which lab personnel, called "radiation workers," may use radionuclides or operate radiation producing equipment.

 

4.         Responsibility of Authorized Investigator (AI)

The Authorized Investigator shares the legal responsibility for the safe use of radioactive materials and/or radiation producing devices.  The Authorized Investigator:

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      • Administers and enforces safety rules and regulations established by the RSC and stated in the University’s Radiation Protection and Waste Management Manual which are necessary to the radiation safety program in the areas within the scope of their authority.
      • Ensures that personnel under their supervision are familiar with standard operating procedures specific to the authorized use area and for the radioisotopes in use and provide supervision adequate to ensure that these procedures are followed
      • Performs or cause to be performed radiation / contamination surveys sufficient to demonstrate control of radioactive materials or radiation producing devices possessed and used under their authorization.
      • Ensures that all employees working with, or in the vicinity of radioisotopes or radiation producing devices are properly trained, informed, and monitored.
      • Informs the Radiation Safety Office of additions or deletions of personnel working with radioisotopes or radiation producing devices.
      • Reports promptly to the RSO any condition that may lead to or cause a violation of radiation safety regulations, which could cause unnecessary personnel exposure to radiation and/or could cause the unplanned release of radioactive materials into the environment.
      • Maintains an inventory of all radioisotopes in the AI’s possession
      • Properly label and secure all radioactive materials or radiation producing devices from unauthorized access or removal.
      • Provides a survey meter and/or other detection equipment suitable for detection of the radiation emitted from the isotopes or equipment being used and which is calibrated at least annually.
      • Assures designation of a responsible individual to oversee radioisotope work during short absences, and a “stand-in” AI during periods of extended absences (greater than 60 days).

 

5.         How to Amend an Authorization

The AI may request amendments to an authorization such as increasing activity or isotopes possessed or adding additional  laboratory space.  Contact Radiation Safety Office at  656-7165.

 

C.        Radiation Worker Duties and Responsibilities

  All University personnel who handle radioactive material or who are occupationally exposed to radiation during their employment or study are “Radiation Workers”.  Radiation workers may be Authorized Investigators, graduate students, undergraduate students, technicians, post-doctorates, visitors, or any other individual who handles radioactive material or is exposed to radiation.

Individuals who use radioactive materials must assume that certain responsibilities are inherent in their work. The individual worker is the "first line of defense" in protection of people and the environment from the possible harmful effects of exposure to radiation. Since the workers, themselves, are the direct handlers of the radioactive material, the final responsibility lies with them for safety and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, it is critical that they be aware of the risks, safe practices and requirements for use of radioactive materials.

 

1.         Responsibilities of Radiation Workers

The following practices and procedures are to be followed by all radiation workers:

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    • Each worker must meet the radiation safety training requirements. Workers are prohibited from handling radioactive materials without line of sight supervision until this requirement has been met.
    • Radiation workers are responsible for following the rules, regulations, and Radioactive materials license conditions outlined in this manual. 
    • Radiation workers must wear their assigned radiation monitoring equipment during the use of radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment.
    • Radiation workers must keep their radiation exposure ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable).
    • The user must monitor radiation work areas after each use of unsealed radioactive material – at least daily after use.  It is the responsibility of the worker to clean any spills or contamination that is found in their work area. 
    • No changes in experimental standard operating procedures are to occur without the approval of the Authorized Investigator.
    • Any abnormal occurrence must be reported immediately to the authorized investigator, such as spills, significant contamination, theft or loss of radioactive material, suspected internal uptakes, equipment failure, loss of personnel dosimeter, or unplanned release of radioactive materials. If the AI cannot be reached, contact the Radiation Safety Office
    • Radiation workers are responsible for returning their personnel dosimeter on time and reporting any loss or contamination of the dosimeter to the Radiation Safety Office
    • Each new radiation worker is responsible for informing the RSO of any occupational exposures to ionizing radiation that have occurred as a result of previous employment
    • He/she is responsible for checking hands, feet, body and clothing for radioactive contamination after each use of unsealed source material, or upon exit from areas with concentrations of loose surface contamination greater than or equal to 200 dpm/100 cm2 β/γ or greater than or equal to 20 dpm/100 cm2 α.
    • Ensuring that items are checked for contamination before removal from an approved radioactive materials use area.

 

2.         Classifications of Radiation Workers under the supervision of the AI

a.         Senior Radiation Worker

A Senior Radiation Worker is a radiation worker who by virtue of training and significant experience in the use of radioactive material and radiation protection practices is permitted to supervise the work of others. 

  A Senior Radiation Worker may undertake to train previously inexperienced individuals in the use of radioisotopes.

A Senior Radiation Worker assists in the day-to-day management of the work that is conducted under an authorization and may be formally designated by the AI as an alternate or area supervisor.

 

b.         Radiation Worker

Radiation Workers have received radiation safety training and have sufficient on the job experience to work under indirect supervision of the AI or Senior Radiation Worker.  The radiation worker may work more or less independently in that the AI or Senior Rad Worker does not have to be physically present, but must be accessible within an acceptably short period of time for instance by telephone.

 

c.         Radiation Worker Trainees

A trainee is any individual that works under the direct supervision of the AI or Senior Rad Worker.  Trainees are not considered to have sufficient training and experience to work independently of line of sight supervision.

 

3.         How to Add a New Radiation Worker

Notify the RSO of the addition of a new radiation worker by submitting a “Rad Worker Registration/Dosimetry Request Form” to the Radiation Safety Office via fax or mail, or e-mail the required information to price3@clemson.edu

 

4.         Training of Radiation Workers

One of the most important conditions of the University's radioactive license is that all radiation workers at University facilities must have radiation safety training. If an individual does not comply with this requirement, the Authorized Investigator is asked to restrict that person to line of sight supervision until training is satisfied.

  a. Bypass Exam

Individuals who have sufficient previous experience will be offered a more abbreviated form of training. This training will consist of a lecture on radiation protection emphasizing procedures specific to Clemson University and will include a written exam.  A minimum acceptable exam score of 75% is required to demonstrate minimum competence.

b.         Classroom training

Classroom training will normally be scheduled at the beginning of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.  Additional classroom sessions may be added if there are personnel who need training between regularly scheduled classes.

c.         Alternate training

Alternate training methods are available to accommodate personnel who require training when no classroom is scheduled, such as between semesters.

 

D.        Responsibilities of the Radiation Safety Officer

1. Administration of the day-to-day activities of the Radiation Safety Office.

2. Serving as a permanent member of the RSC, reviewing for approval / disapproval all applications for the use of radioactive materials and / or equipment capable of producing ionizing or non-ionizing radiation. 

3. Development and maintenance of the University’s Radiation Safety Program, and ensuring that the program meets all applicable regulatory and license commitments. 

4. Provision of liaison with appropriate University administrative offices, project investigators, other institutional committees or boards, and various regulatory and funding agencies.

5. Supervision of all aspects of the radiation detection and measurement and protective activities and related record-keeping activities to include: personnel monitoring, lab audits, radiation / contamination surveys, radiological waste disposal, and instrument calibration.

6. Supervision of acquisition and inventory control of all radioactive materials and / or machines capable of producing radiation.

7. Training and consultation with users or potential users of radioactive materials and/or radiation producing machines concerning proper practices and procedures to insure safe use.