Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Radioactive materials

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Each school that uses radioactive materials has a locally appointed school radiation safety officer .

Advice concerning safety should in the first instance be obtained from your school radiation safety officer.

  1. Protocols
  2. Ordering radioactive material
  3. Personal radiation monitoring
  4. Biological monitoring – urinalysis and thyroid monitoring
  5. Wipe testing
  6. Radioactive waste disposal
  7. Training
  8. Services provided by Safety and Health

Protocols

All procedures involving radioactive materials require the user to have completed a protocol application before starting the work.

Occasionally a collaborating or host organisation will have its own protocol form or equivalent. In these circumstances the University will accept their form in lieu of a UWA protocol form, provided the details supplied from the collaborating organisation are at least equivalent to those required by UWA. Also see Managing student activities in external organisations and Management of shared PCBU responsibilities.

Where work is conducted under the auspices of UWA, a UWA protocol form must be completed and signed by both the applicant and the School Radiation Safety Officer (thus ensuring that the appropriate school personnel are aware of the proposed work) before being sent to Safety and Health for a final assessment. The application is reviewed by Safety and Health, and if approved it is signed and issued with a protocol number. Copies of the approved protocol are sent to the School Radiation Safety Officer and the applicant. Any changes to an agreed protocol must be approved by the School Radiation Safety Officer and UWA Safety and Health. Such changes may include alterations to the procedure as submitted, using larger activities or different radionuclides, or performing the work in different radioisotope laboratories (which would also need to be registered). Download a blank protocol form:

 

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Ordering radioactive material

All orders for radionuclides at UWA must be emailed to the Radiation Safety Adviser and copied to safety@uwa.edu.au, or posted to UWA Safety and Health. All orders must clearly state:

  • UWA order number
  • supplier's name and correct address details
  • radionuclide's chemical name and product code
  • activity (Becquerels, Curies)
  • current protocol number
  • delivery address.

The orders are checked to ensure that the protocol is current and that the activity and location of use are within the UWA registration limits. Orders are normally faxed to the supplier on the same day that the order is received by Safety and Health or when the order form is received. All orders must be placed with Safety and Health.

In a small number of cases the supplier will require a permit to import certain prohibited radioisotopes. The application form is normally completed by Safety and Health, signed by the user and is then sent to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for approval.

ARPANSA charges a fee of $90 for each permit ($150 if urgent) to allow the importation through Australian Customs of non-medical radioisotopes.

Records and receipts

In order to prevent radioactive materials from being mislaid or just forgotten and left, records following the movement of radioactive substances must be kept and regularly updated.

Records must detail activities, physical form of radioisotopes, supplier, arrival date, use details, disposal method and disposal date. Comments could also be included on the form of packaging and perhaps the quality of the packaging. Signed receipts should be obtained where possible.

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Personal radiation monitoring

Personal radiation monitors are required to be worn by all people who handle radioisotopes. These can be arranged through your SRSO and then through Safety and Health.

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Biological monitoring – urinalysis and thyroid monitoring

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Wipe testing

Schools using unsealed radioisotopes are required to conduct monthly wipe tests of all radioisotope laboratories. The results of the wipe test are required to be forwarded to Safety and Health within 10 working days of the start of the month. A summary form should be attached to the results.

Download a Summary of Monthly Wipe Tests form:

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Radioactive waste disposal

All solid radioactive waste must be correctly packaged and labelled for disposal. These wastes will need to be delivered to the Radioactive Waste Store, which is located in YY Block at the QEII Medical Centre.

The store is only open to receive waste every Thursday from 10:30am – 11:00am. For schools at QEII, the waste may be delivered to the Mortuary ramp in the basement level of G Block between 10:10am and 10:25 am each Thursday.

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Training

All radioisotope users at the University are required to have attended and passed the Unsealed Radioisotope Handling Course within the first year of using radioisotopes, and preferably prior to starting such work.

These three day courses consists of 16 lectures and information sessions over two consecutive days. Immediately following the lectures, students must attend on a third day to complete a practical session and sit the course examination.

The practical sessions provide students with experience with radioisotope manipulations and radiation monitoring methods and equipment.

Lecture topics covered are:

  • Basic radiation physics
  • Properties of ionising radiation
  • External and internal radiation hazards
  • Radiation detection and measurement
  • Safe working techniques
  • Decontamination and emergency procedures
  • Radioactive waste management
  • General lab safety
  • Radioisotope laboratory design
  • Biological effects of ionising radiation
  • Radiation in perspective
  • Legal aspects of radiation usage
  • Radiation safety procedures at UWA
  • Radiation calculations.

For further information contact Safety and Health on (+61) 8 6488 3938 or email safety@uwa.edu.au.

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Services provided by Safety and Health

  • assistance with Radiation Safety Act requirements
  • planning of new, and improvement of existing, premises
  • regular inspections of premises
  • training of radiation users
  • advice to radiation users – working procedures, working rules
  • assessment and approval of protocol applications
  • central ordering of radioactive materials
  • personal monitors – (thermoluminescent dosimeters, TLDs)
  • radiation monitoring including the issue of wipe testing, thyroid monitoring, urinalysis and following up results
  • investigation and reporting on radiation incidents
  • radioactive waste disposal.
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