Environmental Health & Safety

University of Colorado Boulder


Radiation Safety Handbook Appendix C – Recommendations for the Safe Use of Radioactive Materials

This Environmental Health & Safety guideline documentation is intended for researchers working with radiation.

Revised as of October 1, 2010

  1. Wear laboratory coats or other protective clothing at all times when working with radioactive materials. Long pants and closed-toed shoes are strongly recommended while short pants and sandals are discouraged.
  2. Wear at least one pair of disposable gloves at all times while handling radioactive materials.
  3. After each procedure, monitor your hands and feet for contamination using an appropriate portable radiation survey meter in a low-background area.
  4. Do NOT eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics in any area where radioactive or materials or chemicals are used or stored. Each laboratory should designate an area(s) for eating and drinking.
  5. Do NOT store food, drink, or personal effects in areas where radioactive materials or chemicals are used or stored.
  6. Wear appropriate dosimeter(s) at all times while working with or near radioactive materials. When not being worn to monitor personnel exposures, dosimeters should be stored in a low-background area.
  7. Dispose of radioactive waste only in designated, labeled, and properly shielded containers. Waste containers should be closed when not in use. Appropriate containers may be obtained from Health Physics. Liquid containers should be in secondary containment tubs which are also available from Health Physics. An entry should be made on the Container Contents Sheet each time waste is placed in the container.
  8. Never pipette by mouth.
  9. Survey the work area, floor, handles, equipment, etc. for contamination using wipe smears. These surveys should be conducted weekly when radioactive materials are used.
  10. Perform an area survey periodically before, during, and after an experiment using an appropriate portable radiation survey meter to monitor for levels of increased radiation.
  11. Record all survey results and keep the printouts from the Liquid Scintillation Counter in the Radiation Safety Survey Log.