Environmental Health & Safety

University of Colorado Boulder


Radiation Safety Handbook Appendix N – Liquid Spill Procedures

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

Revised as of October 1, 2010

  1. Use appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment, including gloves, lab coat, etc. For some radionuclides, a survey instrument may be helpful in narrowing down areas of contamination.
  2. Dike around the spill with absorbent material such as paper towels to prevent the spread of the contaminated area. Try to block access to any drains or hazardous materials.
  3. Use a decontamination solution (such as RadiacWash or IsoClean) or a strong detergent to clean up the spill with paper towels.
  4. When wiping the area with the paper towels, be sure to wipe from the outside to inside in order to prevent spreading the contamination.
  5. Dispose of all diking and clean-up materials in an appropriate radioactive waste container.
  6. Take a wipe smear survey of the area to be sure it is clean. If it is twice background, repeat cleaning process.
  7. Record all wipe smear results in the laboratory’s Radiation Survey Logbook. Refer to the Radiation Survey Chapter for further information.