University of Southern Indiana

Emergency Procedures

APPENDIX C

In emergency or accident situations involving radioactive materials, the following steps should be taken:

RESTRICT ACCESS: Persons in the immediate area not contaminated in the incident should be asked to leave the area. Establish a restricted area boundary, limiting access to the area to authorized personnel only.

MAINTAIN SURVEILLANCE: The restricted area must be kept under constant, direct supervision by an Authorized User (AU) or the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) until area is deemed safe for occupancy.

NOTIFY: The Authorized User directly supervising the use of material involved in the accident should be notified immediately. In the case of spills, assessment of the accident should be made to determine if accident is minor or major and the proper procedures for which should be followed.

Minor Spills of Liquids and Solids

  • Notify persons in the area that a spill has occurred.
  • Prevent the spread of contamination by covering the spill with absorbent paper. (Paper should be dampened if solids are spilled).
  • Clean up the spill, wearing disposable gloves and using absorbent paper.
  • Carefully fold the absorbent paper with the clean side out and place in a plastic bag for transfer to a radioactive waste container. Put contaminated gloves and any other contaminated disposable material in the bag.
  • Survey the area with an appropriate low-range radiation detector survey meter or other appropriate technique. Check the area around the spill for contamination. Also check hands, clothing and shoes for contamination.
  • Report the incident to the RSO promptly.
  • Allow no one to return to work in the area unless approved by the RSO.
  • Cooperate with the RSO and AU (e.g., investigation of root cause, provision of requested bioassay samples).
  • Follow the instructions of the RSO/AU (e.g., decontamination techniques, surveys, provision of bioassay samples, requested documentation).

Major Spills of Liquids and Solids

  • Clear the area. If appropriate, survey all persons not involved in the spill and vacate the room.
  • Prevent the spread of contamination by covering the spill with absorbent paper (paper should be dampened if solids are spilled), but do not attempt to clean it up. To prevent the spread of contamination, limit the movement of all individuals who may be contaminated.
  • Shield the source only if it can be done without further contamination or significant increase in radiation exposure.
  • Close the room and lock or otherwise secure the area to prevent entry. Post the room with a sign to warn anyone trying to enter that a spill of radioactive material has occurred.
  • Notify the RSO immediately.
  • Survey all personnel who could possibly have been contaminated. Decontaminate personnel by removing contaminated clothing and flushing contaminated skin with lukewarm water and then washing with a mild soap.
  • Allow no one to return to work in the area unless approved by the RSO.
  • Cooperate with the RSO and AU (e.g., investigation of root cause, provision of requested bioassay samples).
  • Follow the instructions of the RSO/AU (e.g., decontamination techniques, surveys, provision of bioassay samples, requested documentation). Note: Do not handle unattached or unshielded sources of radioactive material. Decontamination and recovery operations should only be attempted by properly trained individuals, under the direct supervision of the Radiation Safety Officer and using proper handling tools.

Minor Fires

  • Immediately attempt to put out the fire by approved methods(i.e., fire extinguishers) if other fire hazards or radiation hazards are not present.
  • Notify all persons present to vacate the area and have one individual immediately call the RSO and fire department (as instructed by the RSO).
  • Once the fire is out, isolate the area to prevent the spread of possible contamination.
  • Survey all persons involved in combating the fire for possible contamination.
  • Decontaminate personnel by removing contaminated clothing and flushing contaminated skin with lukewarm water, then washing with a mild soap.
  • In consultation with the RSO, determine a plan of decontamination and the types of protective devices and survey equipment that will be necessary to decontaminate the area.
  • Allow no one to return to work in the area unless approved by the RSO.
  • Cooperate with RSO/RSO staff (e.g., investigation of root cause, provision of requested bioassay samples).
  • Follow the instructions of the RSO/RSO staff (e.g., decontamination techniques, surveys, provision of bioassay samples, requested documentation.).

Fires, Explosions, or Major Emergencies

  • Notify all persons in the area to leave immediately.
  • Notify the fire department.
  • Notify the RSO and other facility safety personnel
  • Upon arrival of firefighters, inform them where radioactive materials are stored or where radioisotopes were being used; inform them of the present location of the licensed material and the best possible entrance route to the radiation area, as well as any precautions to avoid exposure or risk of creating radioactive contamination by use of high pressure water, etc.
  • Cooperate with RSO/RSO staff (e.g., investigation of root cause, provision of requested bioassay samples).
  • Allow no one to return to work in the area unless approved by the RSO.
  • Follow the instructions of the RSO/RSO staff (e.g., decontamination techniques, surveys, provision of bioassay samples, requested documentation.).

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