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Chapter 2 - Radiation Responsibilities

2. Radiation Safety Responsibilities (Top)

The RSC shall have overall responsibility for determining radiation safety policy.  Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

2.1.1      Review applications for the use of radiation sources within the University from the standpoint of radiological health and safety.  This may be accomplished by a RSC sub-committee or a member representative of the committee and approval issued. 

2.1.2       Prescribe special conditions that may be necessary, such as physical examinations, additional training, designation of limited area or location of use, waste disposal methods, etc.

2.1.3       Review records and receive reports from the RSO or individuals responsible for health and safety practices.

2.1.4       Enforce remedial action when a person fails to observe safety rules and recommendations. 

2.1.5       Keep records of quarterly and emergency meetings and of actions taken. 

The RSO shall have the following responsibilities: 

2.2.1        Authorization of radioactive materials  and RPE procurement and the receipt and distribution of all radioactive materials and RPE entering the University. 

2.2.2       Enforcement of operational procedures regarding the safe handling and administration of radioactive materials and RPE.

2.2.3       Maintenance of an inventory record system to account for all radioactive materials entering and RPE entering and leaving the University. 

2.2.4       Administration of personnel and environmental monitoring programs, including the maintenance of all necessary records. 

2.2.5       Maintenance of a central storage facility for radioactive materials not currently in use. 

2.2.6       Systematic inspection and survey of all radiation use areas within the University to determine the extent to which safety requirements are being met. 

2.2.7       Shipment of radioactive materials, including the disposal of radioactive waste. 

2.2.8       Submission of written reports to the RSC at such times as may be necessary on its activities and findings revealed by inspections. 

2.2.9       Assistance to the RSC in the development of such safety programs as it may deem desirable. 

2.2.10     Take immediate charge in the case of all accidents involving radioactive materials and RPE take such measures as may be required to return the area to a safe operating condition.

2.2.11     Report for the RSC as may be required by the Federal, State, and City agencies concerned with community radiation control.  

Responsibility for compliance with radiation safety requirements within the various University departments, or similar administrative units, lies with the heads of these units.  In general, the department head shall encourage the use of proper radiation safety practices within the lab to:  
In general, the department head shall encourage the use of proper radiation safety practices within the lab:  

2.3.1       Assure basic requirements are being met. 

2.3.2       Be alert to and inform the RSO of any possible observed violations, unsafe practices or conditions, or unusual incidents or activities. 

2.3.3       Ensure violations are corrected and action plans prevent reoccurrences.  EHS can provide summary metrics when requested. 

2.3.4       Support the RSC violation policy.

2.3.5       Make timely provisions for lab cleanout and permit termination in the event a permit holder separates from Cornell or is otherwise unable to fulfill the obligations of their permit.

Permit Holders are responsible for an understanding of applicable parts of this manual, ensuring that individuals under their control discharge their responsibilities, and the following:

2.4.1    Adequate planning.  Refer to procedural outlines in the permit application.  Rehearse procedures before   performing them with radiation to preclude unexpected circumstances.  In any situation where there is appreciable radiation hazard, the RSO shall participate in the initial proceedings. 

2.4.2     Ensuring that all individuals not authorized to work with radioactive materials are aware the following:  That radioactive materials are being used and where.  Radioactive material storage and waste locations.  Precautions to take around use areas.  How to respond to emergencies.  What to do when radioactive material packages are delivered to the lab.

2.4.3     Ensuring that all individuals authorized to work with radioactive materials are instructed in the following:  Procedures and precautions to minimize exposure and contamination. Purposes and functions of protective devices. Reporting requirements.  See Chapter 11. Responses to emergencies or malfunctions.  See Chapter 10. Health protection problems associated with radiation exposure.   

2.4.4    Providing the RSO with written information concerning any changes in personnel, technique, facilities, etc. to effect a permit amendment. 

2.4.5    Complying with the regulations governing the use of radioactive materials and RPE as established by the RSC for:  Procuring of radioactive materials and RPE by purchase using the established procedure.  Take    steps to prevent the transfer of radioactive materials to unauthorized individuals (see Chapters 4, 6, 7, 9 and Special Procedure #6, Requirements for Inventory Records).  Posting areas where radioisotopes are kept and used, or where radiation fields may exist.  Maintaining inventory records indicating the receipt, dispensation, disposition, transfer and disposal of radioactive materials and performing a physical inventory four times a year.  Assuring that all radioactive waste is disposed of in accordance with this Manual.  Securing radioactive materials and RPE against their unauthorized usage or removal from their place of storage. Performing and recording lab surveys to assure contamination and radiation levels are kept to a minimum.  Making available the appropriate apparel, shielding and monitoring equipment to assure minimal exposure and contamination.  Allowing inspectors access to all laboratory and other spaces at all times.  Ensuring that instrumentation used to perform surveys is not overdue for calibration.

2.4.6    Keeping stocks of stored radioactive materials to a minimum within laboratory areas. 

2.4.7    Notifying the RSO in writing when time away from Cornell is expected to be six (6) weeks or more.  A substitute permit holder shall be named and agree in writing to accept the responsibility for the permit for the duration of the leave.  Approval of the arrangement will be made by the RSO.  A permit amendment is issued to reflect the change.  The substitute permit holder must hold a currently active permit. 

2.4.8    Notifying the RSO 30 days in advance and complying with proper procedures for termination of employment, termination of the permit, or termination of any experiment using radioactive materials.  Under the terms and conditions of the permit, the permit holder must transfer or dispose of all radioactive materials assigned under the permit.  Particular care should also be exercised to see that personnel monitoring devices (e.g., personnel badges) are returned to the RSO.  The permit holder shall request a final termination survey (see Special Procedure #8, Release Criteria for Facilities and Equipment Involved with the Use of Radioactive Materials).

2.4.9    Ensure that all users know how to access and have reasonable ability, within the main lab or space where radioactive materials or radiation sources are used, to access the online Radiation Safety Manual.  The online version is available at the following website:

            The online version of the Radiation Safety Manual is the preferred method of accessing the manual in the lab.

            Alternatively, Permit Holders who choose to maintain a hard copy manual or local electronic copies will be responsible for ensuring the manual in their lab is current.

            The Permit Holder must maintain the most current printed copies of the Permit and Permit Application in the main lab for users to view.

2.4.10   Notifying the RSO of incidents as listed in Chapter 11.

Each individual who, at any time, has control over a source of ionizing radiation is responsible for obtaining an understanding of the contents of this manual, and for: 

2.5.1     Maintaining compliance with the dose limits and CU ALARA Guidelines as described in Chapter 8 of this manual.

2.5.2     Wearing the prescribed monitoring equipment, such as badges and rings, as described in Chapter 8  of this manual.

2.5.3     Utilizing all appropriate protective measures, such as:  Wearing a lab coat and disposable gloves at a minimum whenever contamination is possible, and not  wearing such articles outside of the laboratory area.  Other personnel protective equipment, if necessary, is specified in the permit.  Protective eyewear is required.  Using protective barriers and other shields whenever possible.  Using mechanical devices whenever their aid will assist in reducing exposure.  Using pipette filling devices.  Never pipette radioactive solutions by mouth.   Performing radioactive work within confines of an approved hood or glove box whenever an airborne  hazard exists.  Using calibrated survey meters during and after use of radioactive materials to identify and address any contamination. 

2.5.4    Abstaining from eating, drinking, using tobacco products, and applying cosmetics in isotope laboratories. Refrigerators shall not be used jointly for foods and radioactive materials.

2.5.5    Maintaining good personal hygiene. 

   Keep fingernails short and clean.

    Do not work with radioactive materials if there is a break in skin below the wrist.

    Wash hands and arms thoroughly before handling any object that goes to the mouth, nose, or eyes. ​

2.5.6    Performing contamination and dose surveys with a portable survey meter in the immediate areas, such as hoods, benches, floor, etc., during and after each use of unsealed radioactive materials.  Frequently monitor gloves for contamination during use, and monitor yourself, including lab coat and shoes, after using unsealed radioactive material.  Any contamination observed shall be immediately cleaned and re-checked.  See Chapter 5  for permissible contamination levels, dose rate limits and guidance in surveying of radiation areas and laboratories. 

2.5.7     Keeping the laboratory neat and clean.  The work area should be free from equipment and materials not required for the immediate procedure.  Keep or transport materials in such a manner as to prevent breakage or spillage (secondary containment), and to ensure adequate shielding.  Whenever practical, keep work surfaces covered with absorbent material with plastic backing, preferably in a stainless steel tray or pan, to limit and collect spillage in case of accident. 

2.5.8     Labeling and isolating radioactive waste and equipment, such as glassware, used in laboratories for radioactive materials.  Once used for radioactive substances, equipment shall not be used for other work, sent from the area to central cleaning facilities or repair shops until demonstrated to be free of contamination.

2.5.9     Requesting RSO supervision of any emergency repair of contaminated equipment in the laboratory by personnel from outside the lab or repair/service vendors.  At no time shall servicing personnel be permitted to work on equipment in radiation areas without the presence of a member of the laboratory staff to provide specific information. See Special Procedure #8.

2.5.10   Reporting accidental skin contamination, inhalation, ingestion, or injury involving radioactive materials or radiation sources to Cornell Police at 911.  Cornell Police will notify the EHS HazMat team.  (See Chapter 10, section  All affected individuals shall carry out the recommendations of the emergency response personnel and/or RSO, as well as cooperate in any and all attempts to evaluate exposures. 

2.5.11   Carrying out decontamination procedures when necessary and taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of contamination to other areas. 

2.5.12   Complying with requests from the RSO for internal exposure measurements and the submission of samples for radio-bioassay.  Requests for these tests will be made in the case of workers using significant quantities of unsealed radioactive materials or in case of potential accidental inhalation or ingestion. 

2.5.13   Promptly reporting any condition that may cause a violation of regulations or unnecessary exposure to radiation or to radioactive materials.  (See Chapter 11). 

2.5.14   Performing only authorized protocols using the authorized isotopes and limits, authorized rooms and abiding with all conditions listed in the permit.  Confer with the permit holder about an amendment to the permit if a change is necessary to accommodate needs (see Special Procedure #14, Permit Amendment and Process).