Periodic Surveys of Radioactive Materials Labs
Radiation area surveys are another way that EHS Radiation Safety confirms a safe working environment. All radioactive materials labs that use open (liquid, vapor, powder, etc.) sources are required to perform, document, and submit surveys to EHS monthly. These surveys include surveys with a survey meter to detect gamma and high-energy beta radiation. They also include wipe testing to detect the presence of low-energy beta and alpha contamination of surfaces and objects. These surveys are intended to find any unknown areas of contamination or unexpected high radiation. All radioactive material use and storage areas must be surveyed. EHS works closely with someone in each lab to perform these surveys/ If you have any questions, contact Radiation Safety.
Radiation Safety also performs quarterly surveys of these same labs, to provide an additional check and confirmation of lab-provided data. We also perform monthly surveys of our lab area, waste storage area, and RAM transportation vehicles.
Most x-ray labs are not required to perform periodic surveys for radiation levels. Most commercial x-ray devices are self-shielded, meaning they contain lead shielding in the walls of the device to reduce the radiation emitted to very low levels, usually not detectable above background radiation. Radiation Safety will perform a radiation level survey of new x-ray machines after they are installed. This is to ensure that there are no cracks, gaps, or other defects in the internal shielding of the machine. These machines should be re-surveyed when they are moved, in case the movement shifted the built-in shielding. They should also be re-surveyed after replacement, modification, or repair of the x-ray tube or power supply that may cause a change in the output levels. Contact Radiation Safety if your x-ray machine is moved (even within the same lab room), modified or repaired.
Certain x-ray labs have machines that are not self-shielded, or the shielding is not sufficent to lower radiation levels to near-background levels. Radiation Safety works with these labs on a case-by-case basis to institute a survey program to ensure safety.