Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Local working rules for radioisotope laboratories

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.

Further information

As these laboratories can pose many hazards, please observe the following rules whenever you are working in one.

  1. Personal conduct. Eating, drinking, smoking and application of cosmetics in the lab are forbidden. No mouth operations are permitted. Avoid personal habits such as pen sucking or touching bare skin with potentially contaminated gloves. Always work carefully and tidily. When leaving the laboratory, monitor yourself, remove gloves, wash hands and monitor again.
  2. Laboratory preparation. No unnecessary materials such as bags, brief cases and text books should be in the lab. Keep active and inactive areas separated and well labeled. Label all containers with the radionuclide, compound, activity, date and your name. All work with unsealed liquid radionuclides shall be carried out in a double container or over trays lined with absorbent paper to restrict the spread of any spilt liquid. The bench of the work area shall be covered with absorbent paper and the work area shall be identified with signs and or radioactive marking tape.
  3. External radiation protection. Arrange work so that the hands and body are kept at the maximum practicable distance from high-specific-activity radionuclides by the use of tongs or other handling devices. Use suitable shielding materials (such as perspex for beta radiations) wherever possible.
  4. Laboratory procedures. Practice runs with non-radioactive materials are necessary for all new procedures. Contaminated items must be well labelled.
  5. Airborne hazards. Operations that have the potential to produce vapour, dust, spray or radioactive gas shall be carried out in a fume cupboard or a glove box.
  6. Monitoring. A contamination monitor with suitable detection characteristics for the radiations from the radionuclides in use shall be available at each work station. Personal monitors (film badges) are not sensitive to radiations from H3, C14 and S35. When worn, monitors should be located at waist level, remain at work, be changed regularly (every two months) and submitted for assessment if known or suspected exposures or contamination has occurred.
  7. Solid wastes. Solid radioactive wastes must be well packaged and labelled.
  8. Emergency procedures. In the event of a spill verbally warn others, restrict unnecessary movement into and through the area, report the spill to the School Radiation Safety Officer, treat contaminated personnel first and decontaminate laboratory and equipment.
  9. Personal protective equipment. Laboratory coats, gloves and enclosed footwear must be worn at all times in the lab. Safety glasses should also be worn.