Module 4 - Government Regulations

Regulations

University of Washington is licensed by the Washington State Department of Health, Division of Radiation Protection to possess and use many different radionuclides. The use of most radionuclides at the University is regulated by the DOH including accelerator-produced and naturally-occurring radioactive materials.

The Washington State Department of Health, Division of Radiation Protection Regulations are contained in Title 246 of the Washington Administrative Codes (WAC)   Copies of the relevant regulations are available from the Washington State Web site

A "Notice to Employees" is posted in common places where employees frequently pass.  The Notice provides information about how to contact the Washington State Department of Health, Division of Radiation Protection and describes workers' rights and responsibilities.
DOH Form RHF-3

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University Licenses

The University currently holds the following licenses to possess and use radioactive materials:

  • Washington State Department of Health Type A License of broad scope covering the use of radionuclides on campus including naturally-occurring and accelerator-produced radionuclides.
  • Washington State Department of Health Type A License covering the use of Cobalt-60 for radiation therapy (Gamma Knife) located at Harborview Medical Center.

These licenses are issued by the Washington State Department of Health, Division of Radiation Protection and specify the quantities, locations, and conditions under which radionuclides may be used at the University of Washington.  They require the University to establish policies and procedures to ensure the accountability and safe use of radioactive materials.

Copies of these licenses are available for viewing at the Radiation Safety Office located on the second floor of Hall Health Center. Copies will not be provided to Authorized Investigators or Researchers unless first approved by the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC).

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Inspections and Audits

Regulatory Agency Inspections

The Washington State Department of Health, Division of Radiation Protection conducts periodic inspections of the use of radioactive materials at the University of Washington.   If violations of the regulations or radiation safety program deficiencies are discovered, Notices of Violations may be issued against the University, and fines and other sanctions can be imposed.

Internal Audits

The University of Washington Radiation Safety Committee conducts an annual audit of the radiation safety program. This audit may be conducted by a committee member or a qualified individual appointed by the committee.

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UW Radiation Safety Program

To meet the requirements of the Washington State Department of Health, Division of Radiation Protection and to provide a safe working environment, the University of Washington has established a radiation safety program with four key components:

  • The Radiation Safety Committee
  • The Radiation Safety Office
  • The Authorized User
  • The Radiation Worker

The roles and responsibilities of each are described in the following sections.

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The Radiation Safety Committee

The Radiation Safety Committee, which consists of faculty members, the Radiation Safety Officer, medical representatives from UWMC and Harborview Medical Center, and management representatives, meets several times a year.  The Committee:

  • oversees the radiation safety program
  • authorizes the use of radioactive materials
  • reviews incidents involving radioactive materials
  • sets policies for the use of sources of radiation
  • gives general supervision to the implementation of those policies.
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The Radiation Safety Office

The day-to-day operation of the radiation safety program is managed within the Radiation Safety Office (RSO) by the Universityís Radiation Safety Officer (RSO).  The Radiation Safety Officer can be reached at 206.543.0463.  The RSO and the Radiation Safety staff advise Authorized Users and radiation workers on radiation safety and regulatory compliance issues and provide the following services:

  • radiation safety training
  • personal monitoring and dosimetry services
  • bioassay
  • radiation safety assessment for pregnant radiation workers
  • laboratory radiation and contamination surveys
  • radioactive material use authorizations
  • human use protocol evaluation and approval
  • approval of the ordering and receipt of all radioactive materials
  • incident, spill and contamination management
  • radioactive waste disposal management

Go to the Radiation Safety Web site

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The Authorized User

Authorized Users are faculty or, in rare instances, senior staff members who have been approved by the Radiation Safety Committee to use radioactive materials under specific conditions.  An Authorized User is granted approval to possess and use specific isotopes only for the uses described in the authorization application and is issued a possession limit for each of those isotopes.

Any person using radioactive materials at University of Washington is either an Authorized User or is a radiation worker using radioactive materials under an Authorized Userís supervision.

Each Authorized User is responsible for:

  • the health and safety of anyone using or affected by the use of radioactive materials under his or her direction or supervision
  • personally attending the 8-hour Radiation Safety Class and ensuring that his/her employees, staff and visitors receive appropriate training
  • ensuring that his/her employees, staff and visitors comply with relevant regulations, policies and procedures.
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The Radiation Worker

A radiation worker is anyone who uses radioactive materials or radiation-producing machines. The radiation workerís thorough training, compliance with regulations and procedures, careful work habits and respect for the health and safety of fellow workers are an integral part of the radiation safety program.

A radiation worker who uses sealed sources has the following responsibilities:

  • Complete radiation safety training provided by Radiation Safety when necessary.
  • Be familiar with the isotopes in use; know their radiological properties, methods of detection, the types of hazards presented by each one, and the specific precautions and handling requirements for each isotope and sealed source.
  • Be familiar with all the relevant procedures of the radiation safety program, including radionuclide purchasing and waste disposal procedures.
  • Know how to properly use the appropriate radiation survey meter.
  • Know the University of Washington requirements for dosimeters and if required to wear radiation monitoring dosimeters and exchange them promptly at the end of the monthly or quarterly wear period.
  • Maintain appropriate inventory, disposal and survey records.
  • Secure sealed sources by making sure that the sources are locked away or are under immediate supervision within the laboratory.
  • Inform coworkers and visitors to the work area about the presence of radioactive materials and of any precautions they should take.
  • Know who to call in any incident involving sources of radiation and how to handle spills, personal contamination, and loss or theft.
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Acquiring Radioactive Material

The University of Washington's license requires that the University maintain very tight control over the acquisition of radioactive materials, whether sources are purchased from a vendor or obtained as a transfer or loan within the UW or from another institution.  Using the Online Radioactive Material Ordering System is required for all Radioactive Materials processed at the University of Washington. The RSO forwards the information from the online system to the Purchasing Office.  Orders must be received in the RSO no later than 11:30 AM the working day prior to the day you would like to receive the material. The RSO can not guarantee that material will be delivered within 24 hours. Delivery complaints should be directed to the Purchasing Office. All orders for radioactive materials must be placed through the University's Purchasing Office.  Researchers are not permitted to contact a vendor directly to place an order for radionuclides.

Loans or transfers of radioactive materials from other institutions must be approved by the RSO before arrangements are made to ship the materials.  By regulation, the Radiation Safety Office must provide the other institution with a copy of the University's license before the material can be shipped.

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You've completed the Government Regulations Module, which is the fourth of the seven Sealed Source Radiation Basics training modules.  The next module is the Dose Limits Module.

Dose Limits (Module 5)

Go back to the Sealed Source Training Introduction Page