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This chapter fulfills requirements for implementation of radiation safety standards under the Washington State Physical Hazard Communication Standard for Ionizing and Non-ionizing Radiation (WAC 296-62) and the Hutchinson Center's radioactive materials license. The radiation safety program is designed to control the use, storage, transportation, and disposal of radioactive material at the Center.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Office of Radiation Control authorizes the Center to use radioactive material and radiation-generating machines in the Weintraub, Hutchinson, Arnold and Thomas buildings of the South Lake Union Campus and in other facilities specifically listed on the license.

In general, the Center's license depends on the maintenance of the following administrative bodies and their responsibilities (see Section 2, Radiation Safety Responsibilities, for details):

  1. The Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)
  2. Radiation safety officer (RSO)
  3. Upper management
  4. Authorized users

Radioactive materials recordkeeping is a key element for the radiation safety program at the Center. Careful recordkeeping is required for all authorized users and staff.

The state DOH routinely inspects the Center to ensure that requirements of the license and regulations are fulfilled. Records kept by the radiation safety officer (RSO) and by the researchers play a major role in demonstrating compliance during these inspections. The records must show all approvals, receipts, uses, transfers, monitoring, training, and disposals.

Proper records allow anyone working within a lab or the clinic to know the exact locations, quantities, usage, and disposal of the Center's radioactive materials. This knowledge is essential for safe work environments and practices.

The license to use radioactive materials is not guaranteed. The state may place restrictions on the type and amount of radioactive materials used at the Center or on daily operations due to non-compliance. Permission to use radioactive material is based on how well the Center handles and controls its licensed radioactive materials, and how well it documents compliance with the requirements.

EH&S Is Here to Help, Not to Hinder

If errors are made while using or storing radioactive material, staff could receive unnecessary doses of radiation. An EH&S goal is to minimize unnecessary exposures to radiation hazards by helping workers use and control materials and equipment properly.

EH&S performs contamination surveys and audits in labs and clinical areas to verify that radioactive material use is controlled and that workers and public exposures are within acceptable limits.

EH&S will never prevent someone from using a new radionuclide or increasing use of a radionuclide if use complies with the state license and established safe practices. Instead, EH&S will assist the lab with monitoring and hands-on training of safety practices and give advice on new equipment when necessary.