Radiation Safety Training
The Risk Management and Safety (RMS) Radiation Safety Program provides a radiation protection program in accordance with the rules, regulations, licenses, and permits issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the safe use of radioactive materials and radiation-producing equipment at Auburn University. Radiation safety training is required for all personnel using radioactive materials or radiation-producing equipment at the university. Training for radiation workers includes instruction in the basic principles of radiation protection and the applicable policies, procedures, and regulatory requirements. Even if you have attended radiation safety training at other institutions, you are required to complete Auburn University training. If you are not sure what training you should complete, contact the RSO. Training is conducted in two parts and must be done consecutively. The first part of training is conducted by the RSO and can be scheduled on an individual or group basis. You will be expected to take a radiation safety training take-home quiz. The completed quiz may be emailed to the Radiation Safety Office. The second part of training is referred to as 'on-the-job' or 'hands-on' training where you and your PI will complete a certificate of training emphasizing lab-specific protocols and safety, the security of radioactive materials, and emergency procedures.
Radiation monitoring badges (whole body and ring) are used to measure how much radiation we receive. The badges that are issued are designed to detect external radiation. If you are working in a radiation area or with radioactive materials, you may need to have an individual radiation monitoring badge. The State of Alabama requires that a person should be monitored for radiation exposure if it is expected that the adult worker is likely to receive an exposure of 500 mrem or more annually. Please consult with your Principal Investigator (PI) since badges are issued commensurate with the type of ionizing radiation to which a worker is exposed. Workers may work with radioactive material or sources of ionizing radiation and not be issued a monitoring badge. Radiation Safety will help facilitate the acquisition of a monitoring badge and will be based on:
- An analysis of the individual's potential radiation exposure
- The type of radiation source
- The nature and duration of exposure, and
- The quantity of radioactive material that will be handled at any one time
Each monitoring badge shall be assigned to and worn by only one individual. Badges may be exchanged quarterly or semi-annually depending upon monitoring device wear location and expected radiation exposure. Delivery, exchange and pickup of badges is the responsibility of the Radiation Safety office. You must look after your badge. In the event that a badge is damaged, lost, or accidentally exposed, it is the responsibility of the individual to notify our staff immediately for monitor replacement or processing. This is necessary in order to ensure completeness in the radiation worker's occupational dose history record. Permanent records of monitor readings are maintained by Radiation Safety. If you are interested in knowing your quarterly or semi-annual exposure please contact the RSO or Safety Technician. To obtain an official copy of your occupational radiation dosimetry report from our office a signed release request must be submitted. We must have the signature of the individual who was monitored in order to release that person's radiation exposure history record.
Using & Wearing Radiation Monitoring Badges
We recommend that you wear your whole-body badge on the part of the body between your neck and waist that is closest to the source of radiation. The whole-body badge contains a series of filters designed so that energy and type of radiation can be determined. In order for the radiation type and energy to be determined, the dosimeter must be worn so that the front of the badge faces towards the source of radiation. With respect to the ring badge, be sure the label is facing out from the side of the hand most likely to receive a radiation exposure. If you plan to wear gloves, wear the ring inside your glove so the ring does not become contaminated. Be careful not to leave the badge inside the glove when you pull the glove off.
- Please do not share your badge and do not wear another person's badge. If your badge is missing or damaged please notify our Radiation Safety Technician immediately.
- Do not intentionally expose badges to radiation. Intentional tampering with badges is a very serious legal matter
- No matter how curious you are, do not wear your badges when you receive a medical x-ray or other medical radiation treatment. Your badges are intended to document your occupational dose, not your medical dose
- Please ensure that your badges are exchanged promptly. If you no longer participate in our dosimetry program, please inform our staff
After we collect your monitoring badges at the end of the monitoring period, the badges are sent to Landauer for processing. The RSO receives and reviews the dose reports several weeks after the end of a monitoring period. Our office has established investigational levels and if a dose is reported that exceeds this level, we will contact you to determine whether the reported dose is accurate. We will investigate the causes of the dose and work with you in an effort to minimize dose in the future. The RSO always reviews the quarterly dose reports and will follow up with you if the RSO notes any dose of concern. In your dose report we are given deep and shallow doses. In the case of body badges, doses are reported as deep or shallow or as doses to the lens of the eyes. Deep dose is due to penetrating radiation such as gamma rays or higher energy x-rays. Deep doses are applied against the skin dose limit. Dose to the lens of the eyes is due to an intermediate range of radiations and energies is applied against the lends of the eye dose limit. In the case of ring badges, dose is only reported as shallow dose and is applied against the extremities dose limit. Doses are reported in millirems (mrem). The minimum reported dose for x-rays for body badges is 10 mrem for x-rays, and for ring badges is 20 mrem. If no dose is reported, the total dose received was less than the minimum reported dose (identified by M).
If you are pregnant and work with radioactive materials or near areas where radioactive materials are used, there may be concern regarding the amount of radiation exposure the baby might receive. You are encouraged to contact the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) for a consultation to assess whether radiation exposure presents a prenatal hazard. The RSO will handle inquiries confidentially and if requested can:
- Provide information about the risks of prenatal radiation exposure
- Assess your potential for radiation exposure
- Provide an opportunity to submit a Declaration of Pregnancy
- Provide radiation monitoring badges to measure fetal dose during your pregnancy (if you have submitted a Declaration of Pregnancy)
Declared Pregnant Worker
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has established regulations that limit fetal radiation dose under certain conditions. The fetal dose regulations apply only if you have voluntarily informed Auburn University, in writing, of your pregnancy and the estimated date of conception. This notice is called a Declaration of Pregnancy and if you submit a notice, you are known as a Declared Pregnant Worker. You are not required to submit a Declaration of Pregnancy, and you may withdraw your Declaration at any time. ADPH has specified that the embryo/fetus does not receive more than 500 mrem exposure over the entire pregnancy and that substantial variation in the monthly exposure (>50 mrem) does not occur. If you perform work that has a high potential for the fetal dose to exceed 500 mrem, it might be necessary to modify your duties. Auburn University is fortunate for the type of radiation work performed and very rare is it necessary to recommend reassignment or changes to job duties.