Pro-Reporting a Radioactive Spill

procedure reporting radioactive spill modified Tue Jul 28 2020 15:44:27 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

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University of Louisville

OFFICIAL
UNIVERSITY
ADMINISTRATIVE
PROCEDURE

PROCEDURE NAME

Reporting a Radioactive Spill

EFFECTIVE DATE

PROCEDURE APPLICABILITY

This procedure applies to the University Community (administrators, faculty, staff, and students).

PROCEDURE STATEMENT

To report a radioactive spill, contact the Radiation Safety Office at 502-852-5231. If the Radiation Safety Office is closed or cannot be reached, please contact the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 502-852-6111. Be prepared to provide the following information: 

  • Location of the spill 
  • Nuclide that was spilled 
  • Approximate amount of spilled material 
  • On what type of surface did the spill occur 
  • Your name and the name of the authorized user 
  • Number you are calling from 

Incidents must be reported to the Radiation Safety Office as soon as possible. Call the Radiation Safety Office immediately for the following types of spills: 

  • Any major spill of radioactive material 
  • Contamination of personnel with radioactive material 
  • Suspected human intake of radioactive material 
  • Potential exposure of individuals to excessive amounts of radiation 
  • Theft or loss of radioactive material 
  • Accidental releases of radioactive material into the air or water 

Some radiation accidents may be reportable to the Kentucky Radiation Control Board and/or other regulatory agencies. The Radiation Safety Office will determine the reporting responsibilities.

Immediate actions you should take: 

Minor Spills

Hazard: Low
Immediate actions: 

  • Notify all persons in the room
  • Confine spill immediately
  • Decontaminate (see procedures in Radioactive Material Users Guide)
  • Follow-up: Survey personnel, equipment and area


Major Spill (Usually involving millicurie amounts) 

Hazard: Radiation and contamination hazard may be high
Immediate Actions:  

  • Notify all persons in the room 
  • Confine spill immediately
  • Barricade area of contamination
  • Notify Radiation Safety Office at 502-852-5231 (off hours: Notify DPS at 502-852-6111)
  • Decontaminate (see procedures in Radioactive Material Users Guide, Radiation Safety Officer may supervise)
  • Follow-up: Further decontamination may be necessary as determined


Spills Involving External Contamination

Hazard: Potential hazard greatest with wounds
Immediate Actions:  

  • Flush wounds and eyes, wash skin with soap and water
  • Prompt action is necessary to minimize radiation dose and uptake
  • Notify Radiation Safety Office at 502-852-5231 (off hours: Notify DPS at 502-852-6111)
  • Follow-up: For additional decontamination information, see the Radioactive Material Users Guide.


Accidental intake of radioactivity (swallowing, inhaling) 

Hazard: Hazards varies with uptake and toxicity of isotope
Immediate Actions:

  • Contact Radiation Safety Office immediately at 502-852-5231. (off hours: Notify DPS at 502-852-6111)
  • Actions vary depending on radioisotope and chemical form


Fires involving radioactivity 

Hazard: Internal hazard from airborne activity. Contamination may be spread by firefighting efforts
Immediate Actions:  

  • Notify all persons in the area
  • Activate nearest fire alarm
  • Notify DPS at 502-852-6111
  • Notify Radiation Safety Office at 502-852-5231
  • Follow-up: After fire is extinguished, decontaminate under the supervision of the Radiation Safety Office.


Spills involving airborne radioactivity 

Hazard: Uptake of radioactive material is possible, contamination easily spread
Immediate Actions:  

  • Shut off source of contamination if possible 
  • Notify others to vacate the area
  • Shut windows and doors
  • Call the Radiation Safety Office at 502-852-5231 (off hours: Notify DPS at 502-852-6111)
  • Notify Physical Plant at 502-852-5696 to shut off HVAC system
  • Follow-up: Do not re-enter area. Further decontamination may be necessary


Radioactive Spill Clean-up 

  • Maximum permissible contamination levels are: 2000dpm/100cm2. All areas must be cleaned and wipe tested until removable contamination is below this limit. For all nuclides except iodine which is 200 dpm/100cm2. 
  • The authorized user is responsible for providing personnel to clean up any contamination which results from work conducted under his/her authorization. 
  • All spills must be cleaned up immediately. 
  • All spills must be reported to the Radiation Safety Office at 502-852-5231. 
  • Custodial personnel shall not be used for clean-up of contamination.
  • The Radiation Safety Office will monitor and supervise the clean-up of all major spills and accidents.
RELATED INFORMATION

Preplanning to Prevent or Minimize Radioactive Spills 

Preplanning is the best way to prevent spills or control them when they do happen. DEHS will assist you in conducting emergency planning for your area. Contact the Environmental Operation & Hazardous Materials Manager for assistance. Assistance in pre-planning for radioactive emergencies in your laboratory can be obtained from DEHS by contacting the Radiation Safety Officer. 


Radioactive Spill Response Equipment  

Any area that uses radioactive material on a regular basis should consider having the following items readily available for cleaning up spills: 

  • Absorbent material to control the spread of contamination 
  • Shoe covers and gloves 
  • Decontaminant solutions for skin and/or surfaces 
  • Cleaning supplies: paper towels, soft bristle brush and mild soap or detergent 
  • Plastic bags with labels for waste collected during clean-up 
  • Tape or signs to mark off contaminated areas

Radioactive Material Users Guide

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Radiation Safety Office will determine the reporting responsibilities.

ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations

RESPONSIBLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT/DIVISION

Environmental Health & Safety
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
502-852-6670
dehsubm@louisville.edu 

HISTORY

Revision Date(s):

Reviewed Date(s):

The University Policy and Procedure Library is updated regularly. In order to ensure a printed copy of this document is current, please access it online at http://louisville.edu/policies.