Q&A Series: 3 Important Radiation Safety Questions Answered by Industry Expert, Tony Gemmellaro

healthcare_waste_min.jpegWhen working with radiation, diminishing exposure should be the top priority. Ionizing radiation can have serious health effects at high doses which can compromise safety. In this webinar radiation safety expert, Tony Gemmellaro, shares best practices for proving your facility is safe, compliant and inspection-ready.

Q: What are the signage requirements and where do they need to be posted?

Signs needs to be posted outside the lab and then also you can post a notice to employees. An NRC posting and masks are also required. You should label your equipment that's in your lab where radioactive materials are being used and all of that should be in a secured area and properly labelled and documented.

Q: How often should a radiation safety program be reviewed? Is annual enough?

Annual is probably a good practice, but, from my experience, I've actually put together a quarterly review with quarterly reports. There's a radioactive waste survey in Massachusetts that you need to submit. If you monitor your records periodically, such as quarterly, I think that’s more of a best practice for a program that ensures you’re keeping track of material. You may want to do it monthly, depending on the size of your program as well.

Q: What does a typical radiation safety audit look like?

The inspector can come in and look at the training records. Make sure you've done your annual training and are meeting the requirements of your application because you are required to put in a detailed description of your training. They may come in and also interview employees so you need to prepare your employees for that. They have a right to ask so they don’t interfere with work, but they can talk with individuals.

The audit too will go through you written program. Make sure that you have an adequate radiation protection written program in place. They'll look at practices in the lab as you go through the lab area to make sure that there's good housekeeping and that there's no evidence of any contamination. They may even bring a survey meter with them. So they'll just check to make sure that everything is in place, meaning your material is secured and locked up the way it should be. That's pretty much what an audit will look like. Inspectors will verify compliance and verify your license requirements.

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