Explosion, or Serious Injury
2. Spills of Liquids and Solids
3. Minor Spills
4. Major Spills
5. Skin and Body
the event of a fire, explosion or serious injury:
- Notify Public Safety and emergency personnel that the fire, explosion
or injury is in a radionuclide work area.
- Contact the Radiation Safety Officer as soon as possible.
(X8925) After hours, contact Public Safety. (X7000).
- Contact laboratory or departmental emergency contacts
listed on the door.
of Liquids and Solids
The decision to implement a major spill procedure
instead of a minor spill procedure depends on many incident specific variables,
such as, the number of individuals affected, other hazards present, likelihood
of the spread of contamination, types of surfaces contaminated, as well as
the radiotoxicity of the spilled material.
[To decide if it is a minor spill, ask yourself:
Can I handle this incident without help and without undue risk to myself and
others? Do I have the resources I need? However, any time you are not sure how to proceed, contact EHRS for assistance.]
- Get supplies ready before cleanup. Use disposable gloves, lab coats, shoecovers and tongs (if appropriate).
- Prevent the spread until it can be cleaned (i.e., cover with absorbent paper, and limit the movement of contaminated personnel). Do not let anyone walk near the spill.
- Use a survey meter to carefully define the extent of the contaminated area.
- Mark the contaminated area with tape or other marking.
- Start the cleanup at the edge of the contaminated area and
work inward. Normal cleaning agents should be adequate.
- Clean wet spills or contamination using absorbent paper towels.
- Solid spills should first be dampened with an appropriate
dampening agent, taking care not to spread contamination or create an airborne
- Change paper towels frequently to avoid smearing contamination
- Place clean up materials (contaminated gloves and any other
contaminated disposable material) into yellow radioactive waste bags.
- Change gloves frequently and watch out for rips and tears.
- Survey all personnel involved in the clean up effort. Survey
shoes as well as hands and laboratory coats.
- Perform wipe tests to determine if there is any removable
- Decontaminate until there is less than 200 dpm/100cm2
of removable contamination.
- Report the incident to the Radiation Safety Officer (X8925).
- Document results and corrective actions on a Laboratory
Incident Report and forward to the Radiation Safety Officer within 24
hours following clean up. (Box #85)
[To decide if it is a major spill, ask yourself:
Is the contamination widespread? Do I need help defining the contaminated
area and cleaning it up?]
- Notify all personnel within the laboratory and in the vicinity
of the laboratory, as appropriate. Persons not involved in the spill should
clear the area. Notify your supervisor.
- Notify the Radiation Safety Office immediately. (X8925) After
hours, contact Public Safety (X7000).
- Prevent the spread of contamination by covering the spill
with absorbent paper and limit the movement of all personnel who may be contaminated.
- Shield the source if possible. This should be done only if
it can be done without further contamination or a significant increase in
- Close the room and lock or otherwise secure the area to prevent
- Do not track contamination beyond the area. Remove shoes or put protective
covers over shoes before leaving the contaminated area.
- Survey anything and everyone leaving the contaminated area.
A spill must be cleaned up in a timely manner to prevent
it from becoming a reportable event to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP).
Skin and Body Contamination
- Notify the EHRS Department
immediately whenever any case of skin or body contamination occurs.
- Note the original survey meter reading, the location of the
contaminated area and the time the contamination was discovered.
- Remove contaminated clothing and flush contaminated skin with luke warm water and then wash with mild soap for 2 - 3 minutes. Do not abrade skin or use hot water.
When possible, place contaminated clothing in a plastic bag to hold for decay or later decontamination or disposal.
- 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.
- If the skin becomes irritated, discontinue decontamination.
- When decontamination efforts are not immediately successful,
induce perspiration by covering the area with plastic (e.g., saran wrap). Then wash the affected area again to remove any contamination that was released by the perspiration.
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.
- For eye splashes, hold the eyes open and irrigate with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention promptly. Call 911 and contact Public Safety (215-596-7000).
(Click here for information
on Chemical Spills)
(Click here for information
on Biohazard Spills)