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Radioactive Spill Clean-up Procedures

Note: Follow this procedure for "Major Spills". Major spills are those that:

  • involve more than 100 microcuries of radioactivity
  • more than a liter of volume
  • any amount that resulted in personnel contamination.

Certified radiation handlers can take care of minor spills (less than 100 uCi or no personnel contamination and less than 1 liter volume) by containing the material, conducting a wipe test, and sending a report of the incident to the Radiation Safety Office(RSO).

1. CONTAIN the spill by absorbing as much as possible with an absorbent material such as paper towels or chemical spill kit.

2. NOTIFY all people to leave the area of the spill and SECURE the area by locking the door and posting a sign to “KEEP OUT”, or post a guard outside of the area where the spill occurred.

3. LEAVE any contaminated shoes and clothing in the room where the spill occurred.

4. DECONTAMINATE any areas of contact to personnel; immediately wash with soap and/or commercial detergents and recheck for contamination; consider clipping fingernails. If skin is cut, irrigate with water.

5. CONTACT the supervisor of the room where the spill occurred.

6. CONTACT the Radiation Safety Office at 656-2570. Office hours are from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm (Closed from Noon to 1:00 pm) Monday through Friday. At all other times dial 911 to notify Campus Police. They will contact RSO personnel and proceed to the scene to assist laboratory personnel in securing the area.

7. Send a First Report of Injury Form to Risk Management (250 Colchester Avenue) and send a report to the Radiation Safety Office using the standard Contamination Survey Report Form.

(*Adapted from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety.)

Last Updated: October 12, 2006