Radiation Safety in the Laboratory

Course Description:

This online lab safety training course addresses the general hazards of ionizing radiation and ways to protect laboratory workers from exposure. At the completion of this module, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify the sources of ionizing radiation such as radioactive materials and equipment.
  • Identify the hazards and risks of exposure to radiation and radioactive materials and recognize the symptoms of exposure.
  • Follow administrative controls, warnings, and other measures to manage and maintain radiation doses “as low as reasonably achievable,” or “ALARA.”
  • Use radiation monitoring and survey devices.
  • Select and use personal protective equipment, or PPE.
  • Respond to emergencies and properly report radiation accidents or exposures.
Course Duration: 26 minutes

Why “Radiation Safety in the Laboratory” Matters:

  • The primary risk from exposure to ionizing radiation for laboratory workers is an increased chance of cancer. The level of risk depends on the amount of radiation dose received, the amount of time you receive a dose, and the body parts that are exposed.
  • Acute health effects can occur shortly after exposure and when the radiation dose is large enough to cause extensive biological damage to body cells. Examples of acute exposure include nausea, skin reddening, vomiting, and even death. Acute exposures are very rare in laboratory workers.
  • Chronic effects can occur over time, sometimes years, such as cancer and birth defects.

Key Points:

  • Chronic exposures are the most common hazard.
  • Skin and eyes are common routes of exposure.
  • Follow ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principles.
  • Follow instructions on signs and labels.
  • Always use monitoring equipment and PPE.
  • Always follow spill response procedures.

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