Radiological Spills

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Immediate Steps To Be Taken

Evaluate situation as to whether the emergency is a:

  • Major Spill-Involving radiation hazard to personnel
  • Minor Spill-Involving No radiation hazard to personnel

Call the following numbers in order as required. Give your name, location, and any other pertinent assessment of the emergency.

  • If Fire Department assistance is required: 911 or 618-457-4131
  • If Medical assistance is required (Ambulance): 911 or 618-684-5678
  • If Department of Public Safety (Police): 911 or 618-453-2381
  • Radiological Control response call:

Matt Barnstable
Radiation Safety Officer
Telephone (618) 453-3841

Emergency Procedures For A Major/Minor Spill

Major Spill (Involving radiation hazard to personnel)

  1. Notify all persons not involved in the accident to vacate the room at once.
  2. Notify the RST and the RLS. The Radiation Safety Technician will notify the RSO and respond to the spill.
  3. Make no immediate attempt to clean up spill; if a radiation-producing device is involved, shut off power to the equipment.
  4. Switch off all fans, if possible, when airborne dust or gaseous contamination is possible or suspected.
  5. If spills on the skin are involved, follow the rules for personal decontamination. If spills are on clothing, discard outer clothing at once, leaving the contaminated clothing in the contaminated area.
  6. Vacate the room and prohibit entrance to the contaminated area.
  7. Hold departing personnel in a nearby safe area until their body surfaces and clothing can be checked for contamination.
  8. If time and safety considerations permit, the use of absorbent materials to slow or prevent the flow of radioactive liquids into cracks, crevices or drains may be employed.
  9. Every attempt should be made to shut down ventilation systems and fume hoods if the contamination is airborne. Other areas of the building which may be contaminated shall also be vacated.
  10. In shutting down ventilation systems and closing of windows, doors and vents, persons securing the above.
  11. Under no circumstances shall untrained persons attempt to examine or clean up the radioactive materials without the explicit direction of the RSO.
  12. If a fire is involved, notify the fire department and the police department, and evacuate all persons in the building as soon as possible.

Minor Spill (Involving No radiation hazard to personnel)

  1. Notify all other persons in the room and the RLS at once.
  2. Restrict access to the area to only the minimum number of persons necessary to deal with the accident.
  3. Limit contamination to as small an area as possible with absorbent materials or coverings.
  4. Notify the RST as soon as possible. The Radiation Safety Technician will notify the RSO and respond to the spill. Don protective gloves and remove contamination with appropriate materials.
  5. Permit no one to resume work in the area until approval of the RSO is secured.
  6. If the accident involves radiation from radiation-producing devices, follow the above procedures and turn off the power.