Environmental Health and Safety

Safety Programs > Radiation Safety Policy


Radiation Safety Policy   

The SUNY – New Paltz Radiation Safety Manual contains the current official radiation safety procedures for SUNY – New Paltz and serves as the guidance document for the institution's radiation protection program.  The purpose of this manual is to provide information and establish general procedures on the proper use and handling of [radioactive materials] radiation sources.  It has been written with a view to afford the user as much freedom in his/her work as is safe and legal. 

The Radiation Safety Officer should be consulted for explanations or additional information.  All personnel who work, or are planning to work, with [radioactive materials] radiation sources are responsible for knowing and adhering to the sections of the manual that are applicable to their  work.  It is the users' responsibility to be aware of the hazards associated with the use of radiation and to obey all SUNY – New Paltz, State, and Federal Regulations concerning radiation doses received by occupationally exposed personnel and the general public.  This Manual (based on regulations published by the NYS Health Department, Bureau of Environmental  Radiation Protection) is a description of practices and regulations regarding the safe handling and use of [radioactivity] radiation sources; all requirements and regulations stated in the Manual must be obeyed.  Failure to do so is a citable violation and could result in loss of the privilege to use ionizing radiation for the user.  Repeated violations or departures from the approved procedures jeopardize any use of ionizing radiation at SUNY – New Paltz.

All Radiation Users must yearly read and sign the DOU attached in appendix C of the Manual.


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Web Based Policy – ( Not a substitute for Radiation Safety Manual)



Radiation Handlers

Persons who are certified to handle radioactive materials are responsible to read the Radiation Manual , follow all of the restrictions, and sign the DOU 


Procuring Radioactive Materials

  • Submit all purchase requisitions for radioactive materials to the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) for approval.
  • The investigator making the radionuclide purchase and the license itself must be authorized to procure that particular radionuclide.
  • All radiation sources must be delivered to the RSO.


Receiving Radioactive Materials

Make a record on the RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS LOG AND INVENTORY Form each time a sample is withdrawn from the original vial of radioactivity. This form is included with each new purchase.

Radioactive materials will remain on an investigator's inventory with the RSO until the LOG INVENTORY form is returned to the RSO with the waste.
Perform a wipe test on incoming packages if you are so instructed by the RSO. Send the results of the wipe test to the RSO within 24 hours.


Human Uses Of Radioactive Materials

Radioactive materials must not be administered to humans.


Transfer Of Radioactive Materials

Do not transfer radioactive materials to another person, on or off campus, without approval of the RSO.

The RSO must ensure that the receiver of the radioactive materials is authorized by the RSO and the DOH to do so.


Storage Of Radioactive Materials

Food or beverages must not be placed in refrigerators, cold rooms, or freezers in laboratories, which are used to handle radioactive materials.

The Lab manager will place a sign on all refrigerators, cold rooms, or freezers used to handle or store radioactive materials indicating that no food or drink is to be stored within.
If you store radioactive materials in glass containers, do so in a double container in locations with a low possibility of breakage or spills.



  • The door to a radiation-handling laboratory must be looked if the lab is left unattended.
  • Store radiation sources in an RSO-approved lab which is always under control and which is locked at the end of the workday.
  • Do not store radioactive sources or waste in common rooms, i.e. counting rooms, cold rooms, and centrifuge rooms.



The first trimester is known to be the most radiosensitive time for a fetus, thus, it is beneficial, but not required, meeting with the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) as soon as possible to review safety practices and monitoring options.

  • It is up to the pregnant radiation worker to decide whether or not she will formally declare her pregnancy to the RSC.
    • She may choose to declare her pregnancy to the RSO. The RSO will meet with the pregnant worker to review radiation safety procedures, the risk to the fetus, and NRC Regulatory Guide 8.13
    • She may choose not to declare her pregnancy to the RSO. In this case, only the radiation limits for adult radiation workers will be in effect, not the limits for the fetus. Undeclared pregnant workers are protected under the regulations for adult radiation workers.
  • All female radiation workers will be given a copy of NRC Regulatory Guide 8.13 as part of the process of becoming a certified radiation handler


Spills – Call 911 from campus phone or 257-2222, also Contact the RSO

Here are specific actions to take for minor and major spills containing radioactivity.


Minor Spill

A minor spill is defined as a spill involving:

  • Less than 100 microCuries (0.1 milliCuries, 3.7 MegaBecquerels), and
  • Less than a liter, and
  • No personnel contamination.


Actions to Take:

  • CONTAIN the spill and soak up with absorbent material.
  • Conduct a wipe test to ensure that the spill has been cleaned up.
  • Send a report to the RSO.


Major Spill

A major spill is defined as a spill involving:

  • More than 100 microcuries, or
  • Of any amount of activity which results in personnel contamination, or
  • More than a liter.

Actions to Take:

  • Contain the spill by absorbing as mush as possible with absorbent material such as paper towels
  • Notify all persons to leave the area of the spill.
  • Leave contaminated shoes and clothing in the room where the spill occurred.
  • Secure the area by locking the door and posting a sign to "KEEP OUT", or post a guard outside the area where the spill occurred.
  • Decontaminate any contamination to personnel; immediately wash with soap and/or commercial detergents and recheck; consider clipping fingernails. If skin is cut, irrigate with running water.
  • Contact the supervisor of the room where the spill occurred.
  • Contact the RSO


Signs And Labels

  • The RSO will place a "CAUTION-RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS" sign on the door to each room where unsealed radioactive materials are stored or manipulated.
  • Label all vessels containing radioactive materials with standard yellow and magenta tape to identify the radionuclide, the amount of microcuries, and the date the amount was determined. Do not attach the labels to anything, which is not radioactive.
  • Label all radioactive waste containers with a "Radioactive Waste - Do Not Empty" label. These are available from the RSO.


Personal Protection

  • Wear a full-length laboratory coat whenever you are handling unsealed radiation sources. The coat should be buttoned and the sleeves extended to cover the arms. Remove the laboratory coat when leaving the radiation handling laboratory. Do not place near "street" clothing.
  • Wear at least one pair of disposable gloves when handling unsealed radioactive materials.
  • Remove gloves before leaving the work area and dispose in radioactive waste container if the gloves are contaminated or are suspected to be contaminated.
  • Wear plastic eye glasses.



  • Apply Lead shielding to all gamma ray emitting radiation sources to minimize radiation levels to as low as reasonably achievable, but not to exceed 2.5 milliroentgens/hour at the surface of the shielding.
  • Use 0.5 inch thick plexiglass shielding when handling 32P. Contact the RSO for information on purchasing plexiglass shields.
  • A Use 0.5 inch thick plexiglass shielding when handling 32P. Contact the RSO for information on purchasing plexiglass shields.


Waste Disposal

  • Sort the waste by appropriate categories defined by the RSO.
  • Bring all radioactive waste to the attention of the RSO for appropriate disposal.
  • Radioactive waste must not be disposed in the sink  
  • Radioactive waste must not be disposed in the normal trash. Check the trashcans when you are checking other areas of the laboratory for contamination.
  • Liquid radioactive waste must be brought from laboratories to the RSO by persons who have been certified as radiation handlers. Do not ask uncertified radiation handlers to do this task.
  • Do not evaporate radioactive wastes in fume hoods.
  • Bring waste to the RSO with a manifest which identifies the type and quantity of radionuclide as well as the chemical form.
  • For dry waste, only use special dry waste containers (yellow with covers) provided by the RSO. When bringing waste to the RSO, bring the entire container, not just the bag with the contents.


Contact Information

Jennifer Waldo, Radiation Safety Officer RSO
Office: CSB 226        Phone 257- 3698, 3770
Laurence Rowe, Assistant Radiation Safety Officer  RSO
Office:  WSB 130      Phone: 257-3747, 3760