Radiation Spill

Notes and Precautions

Spreading of radiation beyond the spill area can easily occur by the movement of personnel involved in the spill or cleanup effort. Prevent spread by confining movement of personnel until they have been monitored and found free of contamination. A minor radiation spill is one that the laboratory staff is capable of handling safely without the assistance of safety and emergency personnel. All other radiation spills are considered major. Call Laboratory Research & Safety Services (626-6850) to ensure proper procedures are being taken to clean up the spill.

Always Remember to "S.W.I.M."

  • Stop the spill.
  • Warn other personnel.
  • Isolate the area.
  • Minimize the exposure to radiation and contamination.

Minor Radiation Spill

  • Confine the spill immediately.
  • Alert people in immediate area of spill and keep non-essential personnel out of the area.
  • Notify Laboratory Manager or Radiation Safety Office (626-6850).
  • Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, disposable gloves, shoe covers, and long-sleeve lab coat.
  • Place absorbent paper towels over liquid spill. Place towels dampened with water over spills of solid materials.
  • Using forceps, place towels in plastic bag. Dispose in radiation waste container.
  • Monitor area, hands, and shoes for contamination with an appropriate survey meter or method. Repeat cleanup until contamination is no longer detected.

Major Radiation Spill

  • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure.
  • Alert people in the laboratory to leave the immediate area.
  • Have potentially contaminated personnel stay in one area until they have been monitored and shown to be free of contamination.
  • Notify Laboratory Manager or Radiation Safety Office (626-6850).
  • Close doors and prevent entrance into affected area.
  • Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.