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Radiation Safety


 

Radiation Incidents & Emergencies

The following procedures are found in Section 1 of the Princeton University Radiation Safety Manual for Laboratory Users:


Who To Notify (top)

In the event of a fire, explosion, or serious injury:

    1. Call Public Safety at 911 first
    2. During normal working hours, also call EHS at 8-5294
    3. Also contact any Laboratory or Departmental Emergency contacts listed on the bright yellow Emergency Information poster found on or near the entrance to the laboratory.

For any other radiological incident

(An incident can be readily handled with laboratory or other University resources and may include a spill of radioactive materials, an incident of personal contamination or a possible exposure to an x-ray source.)

  1. During normal working hours, call EHS at 8-5294
  2. Outside normal working hours, call Public Safety at 8-3134. Public Safety has a list of home phone numbers and pager numbers for EHS staff and will contact EHS staff.

What To Do (top)splat

Spill or Contamination

The following chart describes how to respond in the event that a spill occurs in the lab or in the event that widespread contamination is found, and how to perform decontamination:

Skin and Body Contamination (top)

    1. Notify EHS immediately whenever any case of skin or body contamination occurs.
    2. Note the original survey meter reading, the location of the contaminated area and the time that the contamination was discovered. EHS will use this information to calculate dose.
    3. Wash skin using mild soap and warm water for 2-3 minutes. Do not abrade skin or use hot water.
    4. Measure and record the count rate after the initial attempt at decontamination. Survey and repeat decontamination until the count rate cannot be reduced any further.
    5. If the skin becomes irritated, discontinue decontamination.
    6. When decontamination efforts are not immediately successful, often a substantial reduction in count rate is achieved during the next 24 hours with periodic washings with soap and water, combined with normal flaking of the skin.

Clothing Contamination (top)

    1. Notify EHS immediately whenever contamination is found on any item of personal clothing (pants, shirts, shoes, socks, etc.).
    2. Note the original survey meter reading, the location of the contaminated area and the time that the contamination was discovered. EHS will use this information to calculate dose.
    3. Remove the contaminated item, bag it, label it as 'Radioactive' and set it aside for EHS.

Serious Injury With Radioactive Contamination (top)

Serious injury and life-or-death situations always take priority over radiological concerns. In all cases of physical injury, even minor injuries, medical attention and hospitalization take precedence over contamination concerns. There are no radiation sources at the University that produce enough contamination and radiation exposure risks large enough to prevent first aid from being given.

  1. Follow the Fire, Explosion, & Serious Injury notification procedure. Public Safety responders are trained to provide first aid.
  2. If possible, have someone meet emergency response personnel and escort them to the accident scene.
  3. Remove contaminated items and clothing from the victim only if these actions will cause no further harm.
  4. If time permits, attempt to provide an uncontaminated pathway for the emergency crew.
  5. Have someone who can provide useful additional information accompany the victim to the emergency room.

Possible Overexposure to Sources of Radiation (top)

The most likely scenario for a serious overexposure to radiation involves exposure to the primary beam of an x-ray diffractometer, to a high activity sealed source or as the result of an extended exposure to contamination on skin or clothing.

  1. In any case, immediately notify EHS at 8-5294 (during normal working hours) or call Public Safety at 8-3134 (outside normal working hours). Public Safety has a list of home phone numbers and pager numbers for EHS staff and will contact EHS staff.
  2. EHS will provide additional instructions, based on the exposure conditions.
       
       
     

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