RADIATION & LASER SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
The ultimate aim when working with any source of radiation is to minimise the doses that staff receive. This is what is known as the ALARA principle - keeping doses "As Low As Reasonably Achievable". University Radiation Safety Policy and Procedures have been developed to implement this principle. The information below supports the implementation of the University's Radiation Safety Policy and Procedures.
This guidance is designed for Heads of Schools, Disciplines, Units, Chief Investigators and all research staff where ionising radiation is uesd. It is also applicable to all research students.
Heads of Schools, Departments, Disciplines or Units must ensure that legislative requirements are complied with in their area. Each area needs to appoint a local radiation safety officer who can monitor the use of radioactive material in their area.
Radiation Safety Committee
The Radiation Safety Committee [RSC] is responsible for overseeing the safe use of ionizing radiation within the University. The committee consists of a cross section of persons from laboratories, representative of the applications of radiation conducted throughout the University.
The current members of the committee are:
- Chemistry - Prof. Brendan Kennedy [Chairman],
- Medical Radiation Sciences - Prof. Michael Kassiou,
- Veterinary Science - Dr Robin Bell,
- Pathology - Dr Darius Lane,
- Physics - vacant
- Pharmacy - Dr Brett Church,
- Molecular Bioscience - Dr Nick Coleman,
- Radiation Safety Officer - Mr Howard Ackland [Secretary]
Meeting Dates for 2013
- 11 February
- 22 April
- 24 June
- 26 August
- 28 October
- 9 December
Table of Contents
- Radiation Information Sheets
- Policy & Procedures
- Waste disposal
- Warning signs
- Relevant Standards
- Roles & Responsibilities
- Laser - Policy & Procedures
- Laser - Legislation
- Laser Pointers
The following information sheets on radiation safety have been produced by the RSC to assist researchers using sources of radiation:
- Procedures– EPA Licensing & Registration
- The Radiation Safety Committee [RSC]
- Local Radiation Safety Responsibilities
- Risk Assessments for Projects Involving Ionizing Radiation
- New Project - Requirements
- Radiation Laboratories - Exit Procedures
- Legacy Source - Repository Rules
- Equipment Disposal – From Radiation Laboratories
- End of Research Project - Procedures
- Scintillation Counters - Disposal Procedures
- SPring8 - Requirements
- Laser Pointer Usage
- Disposal of Scintillaion Liquid
- Personal Monitoring
- Thyroid Monitoring
The University has a Radiation Safety Policy, and Radiation Safety Procedures
to ensure compliance with our regulatory obligations and provide a basis for a uniform approach to radiation safety throughout the University.
One basic requirement of the University Procedures is that a Risk Assessment for all projects involving ionizing radiation is completed prior to the commencement of any work.
Completion of a risk assessment is a mandatory requirement for all new research grant applications for projects involving the use of ionizing radiation. Risk assessments will be assessed by the Radiation Safety Committee.
The possession and use of radioactive material and irradiating apparatus in NSW is governed by the Radiation Control Act 1990 & Radiation Control Regulation 2003 which are now administered for the Environment Protection Authority [EPA].
This legislation requires persons to have a licence to use or possess radioactive material or irradiating apparatus and requires premises using or storing radioactive material to be registered.
The Radiation Control Act requires users of radioactive material or irradiating apparatus to possess an EPA license to use.
Further information including a licence application form can be obtained from the EPA Radiation licensing web page.
The Act does not require a person to be licensed to use radioactive material if the amount used is below certain levels as prescribed in the Radiation Control Regulations. For example a licence is not required to use activities of H-3 below 40 MBq. For activities of other isotopes refer to Schedule 1 of the Radiation Control Regulation 2003 .
An exemption from licensing also exists for students working with unsealed isotpes if they work under the supervision of a person with a "G1 supervision" condition on their licence.
Exemptions from licensing also exists for the use of irradiating apparatus listed in Schedule 3 part 3 of the Radiation Control Regulation 2003
The Radiation Control Act requires premises where radioactive material is used or kept to be registered. Further information including a registration application form can be obtained from the EPA Registration web page.
Also certain Irradiating Apparatus and all Sealed Source Devices need to be registered.
A typical Registration has conditions attached to it. Compliance with these conditions is mandatory and penalties can be applied by the EPA for any non-compliances.
Compliance with these registration conditions for laboratories using unsealed isotopes can be checked using a checklist.
Where laboratories have multiple users the use of radioacative materials can be tracked by using a material usage log and a laboratory bookings.
The University requires all persons working with radioisotopes to attend a radiation safety training course. The training course is provided free of charge to staff and students. Courses usually commence in the week before the start of each semester. Details can be found under OHS Training. Enrollment is on line via this website.
The course is an accepted by the EPA as a qualifiaction to obtain a radiation licence to use isotopes for research purposes.
Similar courses are available from ANSTO, on a user pay basis.
The Radiation Safety Committee determined that staff should attend a half day refresher course if they have not recieved training in the previous 5 years. These sessions will be run in house on an as required basis. Local radiation safety officers will be advised of the session times.
Only low activity radioactive material can be disposed of through the University's Hazardous Waste disposal service. To meet this "low level" requirement the Specific Activity of the material must be below 100 Bq/gm.
A Request for Hazardous Waste Disposal with a <100Bq/gm Clearance form must be completed and forwarded to the WHSS office for processing.
Radioactive waste that does not meet the above requirement must be stored. Storage times can range from a few months [until the waste decays to below the 100 Bq/gm level] to indefinitely.
Isotopes such as P-32, S-35 & I-125 may need storage for up to one year to decay to an acceptable level. Longer half life isotopes such as H-3 & C-14 will require long term storage.
In either situation it is the research group's responsibility to arrange for the secure storage of this waste.
The amount of radioactive waste generated from new research projects should be identified in the Risk Assessment. If there is no disposal path for the radioactive waste generated, the project should be re-assessed with the aim of minimising the amount of waste generated.
Area hazard signs including the radiation warning symbol must be displayed at or near the entrance to radiation laboratories.
- AS2243.4-1998: Safety in Laboratories - Part 4 - Ionizing Radiations
- AS 2982.1 1997: Laboratory design & construction - General requirements
Australian Standard AS 2243.4 provides details about general safety requirements for laboratories where sources of radiation are used or kept.
Australain Standard AS 2982.1 provides details of the design criteria for radioisotope laboratories.
These and other Standards can be accessed on library on line web site.
The Radiation Safety Committee Information Sheet Number 3 details the Local Radiation Safety Responsibilities. The assignment of these roles is left to the discretion of individual Heads of Departments.
The University does not currently have a central policy on the use of lasers.
A comprehensive Policy & Procedures document for the safe use of lasers has been developed by the Optical Fibre Technology Centre [OFTC].
The Radiation Safety Committee supports the adoption of this document by other users who do not have laser safety policy and procedures currently in place.
Detailed safety requirements for both design and use of laser equipment are contained in the AS/NZS AS 2211 series of Standards, on Safety of laser products as listed below.
All laser research users should comply with the the requirements of AS/NZS 2211.1:2004 and other applicable Standards.
- AS/NZS 2211.1:2004. Safety of laser products - Equipment classification, requirements and user’s guide
- AS/NZS 2211.2:2006. Safety of laser products - Safety of optical fibre communication systems (OFCS)
- AS/NZS 2211.3:2002. Safety of laser products - Guidance for laser displays and shows
- AS/NZS 2211.4:2002. Safety of laser products - Laser guards
- AS/NZS 2211.5:2006. Safety of laser products - Manufacturer’s checklist for AS/NZS 2211.1
- AS/NZS 2211.6:2002. Safety of laser products - Safety of products with optical sources, exclusively used for visible information transmission to the human eye
- AS/NZS 2211.7:2002. Safety of laser products - Safety of products emitting infrared optical radiation, exclusively used for wireless 'free air' data transmission and surveillance
- AS/NZS 2211.9:2002. Safety of laser products - Compilation of maximum permissible exposure to incoherent optical radiation
- AS/NZS 2211.10:2004. Safety of laser products - Application guidelines and explanatory notes to AS/NZS 2211.1
- AS/NZS 2211.12:2006. Safety of laser products - Safety of free space optical communication systems used for transmission of information
These Standards can be accessed through the library Standards on line web page.
Laser equipment is not regulated under provisions of the Radiation Control Act. Lasers therefore do not need to be registered or operators licenced, as is the case with X-ray equipment and sealed source devices.
However safety requirements in the above Standards are enforcable under the general provisions of OH&S legislation.
NSW legislation requires that users of laser pointers whose power output is greater than 1 milli-watt [mW] will need to obtain a “permit to use” from the Police Department. This requirement was effective from December 2008.
While the Radiation Safety Committee recommends that only laser pointers not exceeding 1mW should be used in the University, they acknowledge that many lecturers have pointers that exceed this level. As a guide, all “green light” pointers would exceed 1 mW as well as some of the "red light" pointers.
Pointers can be identified by their cassification which should be on the warning label. The preferred laser pointers that do not require a permit are "Class 2" [<1mW] laser products.
Pointers requiring a permit are labelled "Class 3A".
If the class of the laser is unknown the pointer should not be used until this can be determined.
The University Radiation Safety Officer further advises that any laser pointer with a power output exceeding 5mW MUST NOT be used. “Green light” laser pointers are available in powers well above the 5 mW level and the safety requirements for this class of laser, as detailed in the Laser Safety Standard AS 2211, can NOT be complied with in a lecture theatre situation.
It is therefore advised that staff should check the power output of their laser pointers. If the pointer exceeds:
1mW - a Class 3A product - a permit to use must be applied for
5mW - a Class 3B or 3R it should no longer be used.
Further information on how to apply for a permit can be obtained from the University Radiation Safety Officer [ext 17722 or email@example.com] or from the Police information sheet on Laser Pointer Permits