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All individuals who in the course of a year's employment are likely to receive an occupational dose in excess of 100 mrem (1 mSv) are considered radiation workers. Employees as well as non-employees who handle radioactive materials in the course of work within a Fred Hutch lab or on behalf of a Fred Hutch-funded grant must be trained in radiation safety, and must be supervised while performing such work until their training is complete. Workers who use radiation-producing machines may be radiation workers, and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Before a worker begins to work with radioactive material or a radiation producing machine, an RSO determines whether the individual requires training or supervision, according to his or her training, experience, and potential for annual radiation exposure. The criteria for these factors are explained in Section 1.3.

1.1 What a New Radiation Lab Worker Should Do

  1. Read the applicable portions of this chapter and its appendices.
  2. Complete a Dosimeter & Radiation Worker Application and submit it to EH&S. These forms are available on the EH&S website.
  3. Read the Radioactive Material Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement (RMUA) that authorizes radiation work in the lab.
  4. Have the lab supervisor show where to find the lab's radiation detectors, how to use them to monitor the worker and his or her work area for contamination, and discuss in-lab safety procedures and isotopes.
  5. Review the radioactive materials exposure and spill procedure in the Fred Hutch Emergency Guide in the lab.
  6. Read about radioactive waste disposal in Chapter VI, Hazardous Waste Directory.

1.2 Radiation Safety Training

Radiation workers may work with radioactive materials at the Hutch for up to four months before attending the appropriate training class, as long as they are supervised and have been trained in the lab by the lab manager or principal investigator (PI) and their training is documented in the lab's radiation notebook. Workers who have not completed the required training after four months will be restricted from radioactive material use.

The basic radiation safety training is for individuals who have never had radiation safety training before or who wish to have a full refresher course. EH&S offers basic radiation safety training at regular intervals; the schedule is available on the EH&S website.The basic radiation safety course covers radiation physics, biological effects of ionizing radiation, principles of radiation protection, radiation detection instrumentation, radiation surveys, rules and regulations, and emergency procedures. The course is open to all interested workers. An exam (written or oral) must be successfully completed at the end of the course for workers required to take the class.

The radiation safety orientation is for those people who have completed radiation safety training at another facility or university. Workers taking the orientation will need to provide EH&S with a copy of a training certificate or a self declaration statement to document prior radiation training. The radiation safety orientation is held at regular intervals; the schedule is available on the EH&S website. The orientation is Fred Hutch-specific and contains information on policies and procedures. All forms can be found at the EH&S website.

Irradiator training is held on an as-needed basis, coordinated through the RSO and ARSO. X-ray training is held on an as-needed basis, coordinated with the RSO.

Workers who operate the linear accelerator (LinAc) must attend radiation safety training specific to the accelerator in addition to being trained on the operation of the accelerator. Upon completing this training, the RSO will issue access to operate the LinAc.

1.3 Who Needs Basic Radiation Safety Training?

Basic radiation safety training is required for Fred Hutch radiation workers who have not met the following criteria:

  1. Experience working with similar types and activities of radioactive material used in the lab; and
  2. Completion of a radiation safety class as documented by a certificate of training or statement of prior training.

Radiation workers who meet the above training and experience criteria are not required to attend the complete basic radiation safety training, but they must attend radiation safety orientation. This orientation is normally held monthly.

Radiation workers working directly with radioactive materials must obtain the applicable training within four months of starting work with radioactive materials at the Hutch. They must also be instructed in lab-specific safety by the PI/lab manager and must be supervised directly when working with radioactive material until the required training has been completed.

Each supervisor must instruct all individuals under his or her supervision who work with radioactive materials on specific radiation safety requirements for the laboratories in which they will be working. Instruction must take place before the individual begins work with radioactive material. The supervisor or lab coordinator must maintain a record of this training in the Radiation Safety Records notebook.

Ancillary workers in Shared Resources (Glassware, Animal Health Resources, Flow Cytometry, Image Analysis, Electron Microscopy), Shipping & Receiving, and Engineering/Maintenance are not required to take the basic radiation safety course. These workers receive radiation safety awareness training relevant to their work from their supervisors or EH&S.

All staff who work in labs in which radionuclides are used (including postdoctoral fellows, temporaries, graduate students and visiting scientists) must have radioactive materials experience, formal radiation safety training as outlined above, or go through orientation regarding hazards by their supervisors or EH&S. This is required for all staff in the lab, even those not working directly with radioactive materials. EH&S covers radiation hazard awareness in the Lab Safety Training course.