Prior to working with or near radioisotopes–which is limited to a few laboratories in Allwine Hall–individuals should:
- contact the Radiation Safety Officer at 402.554.3921 for a series of three educational videos,
- watch the videos,
- successfully complete quizzes that correspond to the videos,
- and receive laboratory specific orientation from the Authorized User (of radioactive material) in that laboratory.
Training services are offered by EHS and are elective. It is the responsibility of individual units to provide the necessary training, whether through EHS or a program developed by the unit itself. Learn more.
Ionizing radiation is a versatile tool in biological research. Since ionizing radiation is potentially hazardous, strict safety rules have been developed and implemented. The UNO radiation safety As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) Program is meant to protect UNO employees, students, and the public from unnecessary and potentially harmful radiation exposure.
Our Radiation Safety Manual serves as a reference guide for users of radioisotope at UNO.
Radiation Safety Rules for Labs
Each authorized user has a yellow poster in the laboratory listing the safety rules to be observed in the lab. These are reproduced below:
- Do not eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics in the laboratory.
- Wear gloves and protective clothing (e.g. lab coat) when working with radioactive material in any form other than a sealed source.
- Never pipette radioactive solutions by mouth.
- Do not expose open wounds to the possibility of radioactive contamination.
- Do not store food or drink in the same storage location (e.g. refrigerator) as radioactive material.
- Clearly label containers holding radioactive materials with the words "Caution: Radioactive Material" and the radiation symbol.
- Work with radioactive materials over absorbent paper and/or trays to contain contamination.
- Work with radioactive materials that could become airborne in a ventilated enclosure such as a fume hood.
- Use appropriate shielding to keep the dose rate as low as reasonably achievable.
- Wear film badge or other specified personnel monitor (except for 3H, 14C, 33P and 35S).
- Monitor during and after procedure to ensure that exposure rates are kept low and that work area has not become contaminated. Decontaminate any contaminated area.
- Monitor entire person after performing a radioactive procedure and before leaving the laboratory. Notify Radiation Safety at 402.554.3921 or 402.660.1598 if any contamination is not easily removable.
- Monitor equipment or other materials before removing from a restricted area. Decontaminate as necessary.
- Dispose of radioactive waste in accordance with the methods approved by the Radiation Safety Manual.
- Notify the Radiation Safety Officer at 402.554.3921 or 402.660.1598 immediately if radioactive material has been or is suspected to have been inhaled or ingested into a person.
- Never leave radioactive material unattended unless it has been secured against unauthorized removal.
- Record details of contamination events for the Radiation Safety Officer’s review.
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