5.5 General Rules of Good Practice

All work with radioactive material should be conducted in a manner designed to keep radiation exposure “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA).

  • Be familiar with the materials you are working with (e.g., chemical, biological, radioactive).  Refer to written laboratory protocols and review the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for chemicals. Consider the toxicity of the materials and the health and safety hazards of each procedure (e.g., generation of aerosols).  Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of laboratory personnel and the safety equipment that is available.
  • Do not work alone in the laboratory. When hazardous operations are conducted, arrangements should be made to have another person present in the lab.
  • Conduct practice runs (without radioactive material) of operations that will use radioactive materials to investigate which activities have the potential to produce contamination, volatile material and/or aerosols.
  • Know and have available in the posted area, emergency information concerning each methodology used involving radioactive materials. Consider all hazards involved in the work such as mechanical, electrical, chemical, biological and fire.
  • Work over absorbent, plastic-backed bench paper or spill trays to prevent contamination of lab surfaces.  Monitor and replace as needed on a regular basis.
  • Remove funnels and keep all radioactive waste containers covered or capped when not in use.
  • After working with radioactive materials, personnel should wash their hands and check hands and shoes for contamination.
  • Monitor work surfaces and equipment for contamination.