Chapter 10 - Emergencies

10.0 Emergencies (Top)

10.1 Preventive Measures (Top)

Most accidents involving radioactive materials can be avoided if the recommended procedures for safe handling are followed by all laboratory personnel. New procedures must be approved in advance by the permit holder. If the permit holder determines that the new work does not fall within the scope of work described in the permit, a permit amendment must be obtained before the work may be performed. Trial runs with out radioactive material (non-isotope runs) are encouraged for new procedures where there is the potential for an individual to receive a significant radiation dose.

The use of lab coats, disposable gloves (recommend 2 pairs be used), and eye protection is mandatory whenever unsealed radioactive materials are handled.  Workers must be thoroughly familiar with the emergency procedures and the location of telephones, exits, and all available safety devices.
 
Where danger of spills of radioactive solutions exists, secondary pans and trays must be used. Cover containers whenever possible, and only those amounts of radioactive solutions that are immediately necessary should be drawn from stock. Double containers, tightly gasketed, and with chemically inert absorbers, should be used for transporting radioactive solutions if spillage will create a hazardous condition. When feasible, radioactive solutions should be stored in similar containers. Laboratory benches or hoods where spills may occur should not drain to the sewer.

 

10.1.2 Air Contamination - Dusts, Mists, Fumes, Organic Vapors, and Gases (Top)

Procedures must be reviewed for their potential to generate air contamination. Procedures should be designed to prevent air contamination, if possible. Adequate mechanical ventilation is a necessary precaution when air contamination could result from either routine or accident conditions. Floors of hoods, and glove boxes should be covered with disposable plastic backed absorbent paper to catch dust, spray, or condensate. Radioactive gases and volatile materials, whether in the laboratory or in storage areas, should always be kept in gasketed, gas tight containers. 

 

 
If possible, all radioactive materials in the laboratory not immediately in use should be stored in a manner that will safeguard against possible accidental spread of radioactive contamination in the event of a major disaster. 

 

 
10.2.1.1 Notify all other persons in the room at once.  
 
10.2.1.2 Permit only the minimum number of persons necessary to deal with the spill into the area.  
 
10.2.1.3 Confine the spill immediately.  
 Liquid Spills: 
Don protective gloves. 
Drop absorbent paper on spill.
 
Dry Spills:
Don protective gloves.  
Dampen thoroughly, taking care not to spread contamination.   
 
10.2.1.4 Decontaminate.  
 
10.2.1.5 Monitor all persons involved in the spill and cleanup.  
 
10.2.1.6 Permit no person to resume work in the area until a wipe and instrument survey is performed.  
 
10.2.1.7 Phone the Cornell Police at 911 to report the accident if assistance is desired. (See section 10.2.2.7 of this Chapter)
 
10.2.1.8 Review the cause of the accident to learn of preventative measures.

 

 

 

10.2.2 Major Spills Involving Radiation Hazard to Personnel   (Top)

 

10.2.2.1   Notify all persons not involved in the spill to vacate the room at once.  

10.2.2.2   If the spill is liquid and the hands are protected, right the container.  

10.2.2.3   If the spill is on the skin, flush thoroughly. 

10.2.2.4   If the spill is on clothing, discard outer or protective clothing at once.  

10.2.2.5   Switch off all fans.   

10.2.2.6   Vacate the room. 

10.2.2.7   Phone the Cornell Police at 911 to report the accident.  The HazMat team will respond and assess the need for implementation of the Incident Command System (ICS).  The Incident commander will consult with the radiation safety team to determine the appropriate action(s) to take.  

10.2.2.8   Take immediate steps to decontaminate personnel involved, as necessary.  

10.2.2.9   Decontaminate the area. (Personnel involved in decontamination must be adequately protected).  

10.2.2.10 Monitor all persons involved in the spill and cleaning to determine adequacy of decontamination.

10.2.2.11 Permit no person to resume work in the area until a survey is made.  

10.2.2.12 Prepare a complete history of the accident and subsequent activity related thereto for the necessary records. 

 

10.2.3 Accidents Involving Radioactive Dusts, Mists, Fumes, Organic Vapors and Gases (Top)

10.2.3.1   Notify all other persons to vacate the room immediately.

10.2.3.2   Hold breath and close escape valves, switch off air circulating devices, etc., if time permits.

10.2.3.3   Vacate the room.

10.2.3.4   Notify the Cornell Police at 911 at once to report the accident. (See section 10.2.2.7 of this Chapter)

10.2.3.5   Ascertain that all doors giving access to the room are closed.  Post conspicuous warning or guards to prevent accidental opening of doors. 

 10.2.3.6  Report at once all known or suspected  inhalations of radioactive materials to Cornell Police at 911.  (See section 10.2.7 of this Chapter). 

10.2.3.7   Evaluate the hazard and the necessary safety devices for safe reentry.

10.2.3.8   Determine the cause of contamination and rectify the condition.

10.2.3.9   Decontaminate the area.

10.2.3.10 Perform air survey of the area before permitting work to be resumed.

10.2.3.11 Monitor all persons suspected of contamination.

10.2.3.12 Prepare a complete history of the accident and subsequent activity related thereto for the necessary records. 

 

10.2.4 Injuries to personnel Involving Radiation Hazard (Top)

10.2.4.1 Wash minor wounds immediately, under running water, while spreading the edges of the gush.

10.2.4.2 Report all radiation accident to personnel (wounds, over-exposure, ingestion, inhalation) to Cornell Police at 911 as soon as possible.  (See section 10.2.2.7 of this Chapter).

10.2.4.3 A physician will be contacted if necessary).  The RSO will decide if special treatment is required.

10.2.4.4 Permit no person involved in a radiation injury to return to work without the approval of the attendant physician.

10.2.4.5 Prepare a complete history of the accident and subsequent activity related thereto for the necessary records.

 

    10.2.5.1  Alert all personnel in immediate danger.  
 

    10.2.5.2  Report the fire immediately regardless of size to the Cornell Police at 911. Tell the dispatcher the building involved, the floor, the kind of fire, the lab is used for radioactive materials, your name and extension number.  (See section 10.2.2.7 of this Chapter)

    10.2.5.3  Try to put out manageable fires. If fire not manageable, leave the area immediately, close the door, wait for arrival of firefighters.  

    10.2.5.4  The HazMat team will respond and assess the need for implementation of the Incident Command System (ICS).  The incident commander will consult with the radiation safety team to determine the appropriate action(s) to take.   

10.2.5.5     Following the emergency, monitor the area to determine whether or not decontamination is required. If decontamination is necessary, determine the protective devices necessary for safe decontamination.  

10.2.5.6     Decontaminate.  

10.2.5.7     Permit no person to resume work until a radiation survey has been completed and the area shown to be safe.  

10.2.5.8     Monitor all persons involved in responding to the emergency. 

10.2.5.9   Prepare a complete history of the emergency and subsequent activity related thereto for the necessary records.

10.2.6 Decontaminating Personnel (Top)

10.2.6.1 Treat life threatening and/or major injuries first.

10.2.6.2 If clothing is contaminated, remove any contaminated items.  This reduces the exposure to the skin and minimizes the spread of contamination.

10.2.6.3 Survey the contaminated area quickly to assess the initial general level of contamination.

10.2.6.4 Begin washing the affected area(s) gently using only mild soap and water.  Wash in a sink, if available, or over a bucket to collect wash water.  DO NOT scrub with a brush or any abrasive.  For small areas (e.g. finger tips or small spots of contamination), try using wet paper towels to gently wipe the area first and then move to washing in a sink if needed.

10.2.6.5 After about a minute, stop and re-survey to check for the reduction in contamination levels.

10.2.6.6 Repeat steps 10.2.6.4 and 10.2.6.5 as long as contamination levels are being reduced or the skin starts to become irritated.  Cleaning should stop at this point to prevent any remaning contamination from penetrating deeper into skin pores.

10.2.6.7 The radiation safety team will assess the level of remaining contamination and, in consultation with the contaminated person, will decide if further decontamination at Gannett Health Center should be done or if decontamination should stop and a dose be assigned to the individual.

 

  
 
 
 
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