Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Radioactive spill emergency procedure

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.

It is imperative that you act quickly in the event of a spill of radioactive material.

Obtain assistance

  • Verbally warn all other persons in the area.
  • Obtain immediate assistance to contain and control the spill.
  • Restrict unnecessary movement into and through the spill area.
  • Ensure that your School Radiation Safety Officer is advised, and also advise UWA Safety and Health.

Treat injured / contaminated people first

  • Attend to personal injuries first (first aid).
  • Soak up any liquid contamination from skin and clothing with dry tissues.
  • Make way to wash area, avoiding spreading the contamination further.
  • Using a fresh set of gloves, remove any contaminated clothing.
  • Decontaminate contaminated skin and/or eyes.
  • Monitor progress of personal decontamination.

Contain the contamination

While attending to injured / contaminated persons and afterwards, ensure:

  • protective clothing (lab coats, gloves, overshoes, safety glasses) is worn
  • the contaminated area is identified and marked out to assist with the clean-up
  • broken glass and sharps are collected (using tweezers) into a sharps container
  • the spill is covered with absorbent plastic backed pads or paper towels
  • a suitable radiation contamination monitor is used to assess the extent of the spill and to assist with the clean up.

Once situation is under control

  • Complete area and equipment decontamination.
  • Monitor levels of contamination remaining, if any.
  • Package, label and dispose of radioactive contaminated wastes.
  • Discuss with the Radiation Safety Officer any need for biological monitoring.
  • Submit incident / accident report to UWA Safety and Health.

Reporting requirements

Accidental spills of radionuclides where the activity spilt exceeds the values shown in the table below must be reported in writing to the Radiological Council.

Reportable spill quantities of radioactive materials

Radionuclide Quantity (MBq)
3H, 51Cr 400
14C, 35S, 55Fe, 99mTc, 201Tl 40
22Na, 32P, 36Cl, 45Ca, 54Mn, 59Fe, 63Ni, 65Zn, 90Y, 103Ru, 137Cs 4
60Co, 125I, 131I 0.4
90Sr .04
226Ra .004