"EMERGENCY PROCEDURES FOR RADIOLOGICAL ACCIDENTS"
Enclosure 4 EMERGENCY PROCEDURES FOR RADIOLOGICAL ACCIDENTS GENERAL Radiological emergencies at JCU could involve sealed radioactive sources, or unsealed radioactive sources. The following information is based upon Australian Standard AS2243.4 – 1998 Safety in Laboratories. Part 4: Ionizing Radiations, the NH&MRC National Standard for limiting occupational exposure to ionizing radiation (NOHSC: 1013 - 1995), the Radiation Safety Act 1999, and Radiation Safety Regulation 1999. With sealed sources, radiation is not generated electronically and there is no possibility of electrical instrument malfunction. Credible incidents therefore relate to either deliberate misuse or loss of instruments or sources, or damage to the room and instrument in which the source is housed following a severe cyclone or fire. With unsealed sources it is extremely unlikely that there would be a major spillage, as the volume and radioactivity of nuclides currently used at JCU is not high. Every radiological accident is to be reported immediately to the area RSO in the first instance. All operational areas which use sealed and unsealed sources must have undertaken a radiological risk assessment, and controls must be in place to minimize exposure of radiation workers and the public to radiation. A radiation safety and protection plan, which must include emergency procedures, must also be prepared and displayed in areas where radioactive substances are used and stored. It is these site specific emergency procedures which must be followed in the event of an incident. Information follows on: • Radiation Safety Officer Duties, • Notifiable Dangerous Events • Emergency Equipment • Emergency Contact Phone Numbers • Fires and Explosions • Immediate control procedures for accidental external irradiation • General emergency procedures for sealed sources, • Immediate control procedures for radioactive spillages, and • Decontamination procedures for personnel Page 1 Emergency Control Plan May 2000 Enclosure 4 RADIATION SAFETY OFFICER DUTIES In the event of radiation exposure resulting from an incident, accident, or unplanned occurrence, the area Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), or in the absence of the area RSO, the University Radiation Safety Officer (URSO) shall: • assess the nature and scope of any radiation hazard; • implement any further action required to bring the incident under control; • immediately report the incident to the University Safety Officer / University Radiation Safety Officer, and the License Holder; • if the incident is a dangerous event (see definition following) immediately report the incident to the Queensland Radiation Health Unit; • investigate the circumstances of the incident and undertake assessments, measurements and calculations in order to determine the optimum corrective action plan and to estimate the dose-equivalents of' the radiation workers and members of' the public involved in the incident; • assemble the necessary resources and implement the required corrective action taking into account instructions from the License Holder, URSO and Queensland Radiation Health Unit; • prepare a detailed report of the incident as soon as possible after the incident and submit this report within seven days of' the incident to the University Radiation Safety Committee through the License Holder, and if the incident was a dangerous event, through the License Holder to the Queensland Radiation Health Unit; and • advise on changes required to prevent the recurrence of the incident. Notification of dangerous events (Radiation Safety Act 1999 S45 (1-5) If any of the following events happen: (i) the source is, or appears to have been, lost or stolen; (ii) there is a radiation incident in relation to the source, for which there are no remediation procedures stated in the licensee’s approved radiation safety and protection plan for the practice being carried out with the source at the time; (iii) equipment which uses, measures or controls radiation emitted from the source malfunctions with the result, or likely result, that there is, or will be, and unintended emission of the radiation or a person is, or will be unintentionally exposed to the radiation, the licensee must immediately notify QRH orally or in writing, stating particulars adequate to identify the source and its location; if the notice is given orally, then a written notice confirming the oral report must be made within 7 days after the dangerous event happens. EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT An emergency kit for radiological accidents, calibrated radiation dose and contamination monitoring equipment , spill control material, and a portable first aid kit, are held in Central Services, Rooms 1 and 4, Demountable B by the University Radiation Safety Officer Each area RSO shall ensure that an emergency kit, comprising items relevant to the emergency needs of each laboratory, is assembled and kept in an appropriate location within each laboratory. This may include items such as: (a) respiratory protection devices; (b) protective clothing; (b) items for decontamination of persons and areas; Page 2 Emergency Control Plan May 2000 (d) personal dosemeters; (e) radiation and contamination monitors; and (f) first aid kit. • The contents of the emergency kit shall be checked regularly and replaced as necessary. • The monitoring instruments provided for this purpose should be rotated through normal laboratory usage. • Other equipment provided for emergency use shall not be used for any other purpose unless authorised by the RSO. EMERGENCY CONTACT PHONE NUMBERS Emergency Contact Phone Numbers Gatehouse 5555 Mr. Leigh Winsor, University Safety Officer 5418 (Work); (USO) & University Radiation Safety Officer 4773 3482(Home) (URSO) 041 902 4974 (Mobile) Queensland Radiation Health Unit (07) 3406 8000 (Phone) (07) 3406 8030 (Fax) University Health Centre, 9am -5pm 4152 Townsville General Hospital (Emergencies) 4781 9753 Mater Hospital 4727 4444 Advanced Analytical Centre 4781 5188 Area Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), via A/H mobile Biological Sciences Group 4860 Area RSO Ms Savita FRANCIS Earth Sciences 5008 Dr Jerry DICKENS Molecular Sciences: Biomedical & Tropical 4163 Veterinary Sciences Area RSO Dr Lee FITZPATRICK Molecular Sciences: Chemistry – 4463 Biochemistry Area RSO Dr David YELLOWLEES Physics 4187 / 4556 Area RSO Dr Graeme HICKS Any serious injury to a person is to be treated immediately, taking care to minimise the spread of contamination. Emergency treatment for serious or life-threatening injury is to take priority over treatment for contamination. Control of a radiological accident shall proceed in accordance with the area Emergency Procedures for dealing with such events. If an abnormal situation occurs which does not give rise to actual irradiation or contamination, but which has the potential to do so, it is to be reported to the laboratory supervisor and the area RSO to enable steps to be taken to prevent recurrence. Loss of radiation containment incidents can engender considerable anxiety and emotive responses in affected individuals and the public. Counselling advisors may be required, and control over release of information to the public and press is strongly recommended. FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS • Fires and explosions are likely to spread radioactive contamination. • Firefighting shall take precedence over contamination control, but all reasonable efforts shall be made to minimise the spread of contamination, particularly at the clearing up stage. • After extinguishing a fire, fire fighters shall remain at the site until monitored for absence of radioactive contamination. • Senior officers of the local fire brigade shall be informed, in advance, of radioactive and radiation hazards, and be warned to take particular care in areas where radiation hazard warning symbols are displayed. IMMEDIATE CONTROL PROCEDURES FOR ACCIDENTAL EXTERNAL IRRADIATION • Persons suspected of having received an accidental external radiation dose are to be removed immediately from the area containing the source of radiation. Appropriate control procedures are to be instituted to make the source safe and return conditions to normal. • All possible attempts are to be made immediately to estimate the radiation dose received and to provide guidance for any necessary subsequent medical treatment. • The irradiated person should be counselled and, as appropriate, be referred for medical observation and management. • The radiological accident is to be reported to the RSO and, as necessary, to the Queensland Radiation Health Unit. Enclosure 4 EMERGENCY PROCEDURES SEALED RADIOACTIVE SOURCES All incidents must be reported to the area RSO / URSO immediately INCIDENT ACTION If this happens …… …….do this. Unable to close source shutter. Contact License Holder or RSO Accidental exposure to radiation • Contact the Emergency Departments at either the Townsville General Hospital or Mater Hospital (refer to Emergency Contact Numbers) or University Health Centre (4152). Advise the doctor of the nature of the exposure, and • Advise RSO / URSO immediately Loss of source Immediately report loss to: • License Holder • URSO / USO • RSO Fire • Sound alarm • Clear laboratory of personnel • Close and lock source. • Close laboratory doors. • Call Fire Brigade 000 or Gatehouse 5555 Building Evacuation - • Clear laboratory of personnel. (fire, chemical spill, bomb threat, natural disaster etc) • Close and lock source. Continuous ringing of alarms, or on instruction from • Close and lock laboratory. area warden or emergency personnel • Proceed to Emergency Assembly Area Cyclone - • Close and lock source. on declaration of a RED ALERT • Where appropriate place sources in safe. • Secure equipment and facilities against foreseeable wind and water damage. • Close and lock laboratory. • Report state of readiness to RSO Damage to MSCL laboratory or source storage safe by Prohibit entry to the area until the foregoing, or other agent authorization for access is given by [*If the License Holder is unavailable delegation of emergency personnel at the scene, the authority is as follows: License Holder → Director, License Holder (or nominee *) or the Advanced Analytical Centre / Head, School of University Radiation Safety Officer. Mathematics & Physics → University Radiation Safety Officer.] Page 5 Emergency Control Plan May 2000 IMMEDIATE CONTROL PROCEDURES FOR RADIOACTIVE SPILLAGES The operator shall deal with spillages of radioactive substances, which present minimal radiological hazard to persons in the following manner: (a) For small spillages (less than 20 Annual Limit of Intake (ALI) - inhalation) the procedure shall be the following: (i) Wear rubber or plastic gloves. (ii) Clean up liquid spillages with absorbent material. (iii) Carefully wipe up spillages of dry material with moistened absorbent tissues. (iv) Monitor the affected area when no visible spilled material remains, to check the progress of the decontamination. (v) Continue decontamination as necessary to reduce contamination to the minimum level, preferably less than one Derived Working Limit (Refer AS2243.4 Appendix C, paragraph C6). (vi) Treat all materials used in the decontamination process as radioactive waste. (vii) Monitor all persons involved in the spillage or decontamination operation. (viii) Remove contaminated clothing, place in plastic bags and seal. (c) For larger spillages of radioactive substances (greater than 20 ALI inhalation) the procedure shall be the following: (i) Evacuate the area if there is a significant radiological hazard to persons. (ii) Immediately summon expert assistance (for example, the area RSO). (iii) Take care to minimise the spread of contamination from the spillage. (iv) Do not allow re-entry to the area until a properly planned re-entry and decontamination procedure has been formulated. (v) Ensure that persons who enter the area to carry out decontamination are properly equipped. (vi) Decontaminate the spill area. (vii) Monitor the area to ensure that remaining contamination is reduced to the minimum level, preferably less than one DWL. (viii) Treat all materials used in the decontamination process as radioactive waste. (ix) Monitor all persons involved in the spillage or decontamination operation. (x) Remove contaminated clothing, place in plastic bags and seal. (c) Persons who might have had an accidental intake of radioactive material are to be referred to the RSO as soon as possible for consideration for bioassay monitoring. Where necessary, they should also be referred to a medically qualified person with knowledge of appropriate procedures to reduce the effect of, or assist elimination of, internal radioactive contamination. DECONTAMINATION OF PERSONNEL Depending upon the area of the body contaminated, carry out decontamination as follows: (i) Wash hands with soap and water, scrubbing lightly with a soft nail brush. If this does not remove the contamination, repeat using a detergent. If necessary use other decontaminants specified in local rules, or immerse hands in a saturated solution of potassium permanganate (approx. 70 gm / litre cold water), allow to dry and remove the resultant stain with 5 percent sodium metabisulfite (50gm / litre cold water) or 2% oxalic acid (20gm oxalic acid / litre solution). (ii) If the above treatment does not remove contamination from the hands have the person wear cotton gloves, covered by tight fitting rubber gloves, for several hours to promote perspiration of the hands and assist removal of the contamination. (iii) Rub skin, other than that on hands, with a cotton wool pad soaked in a complexing agent. NOTE: Cetavlon has been found to be a suitable complexing agent. (iv) Wash out the mouth several times with hydrogen peroxide solution (one tablespoon of 10 volume solution in a tumbler (approximately 300 ml) of water). (v) Irrigate eyes with saline solution (sterile saline is provided in first aid kits, or use 1 percent common salt solution). (vi) Wash contaminated wounds under running water and encourage bleeding. If the wound is on the face take care not to contaminate the eyes, nostrils or mouth. Continue personal decontamination until monitoring shows that contamination has been reduced to an acceptable level. WARNING: DO NOT CONTINUE IF THERE IS A RISK OF CONTAMINATION ENTERING THE BLOODSTREAM THROUGH ABRASIONS OR BREAKS IN THE SKIN. Note: the necessary chemicals and suitable containers to prepare solutions should be readily available within each operational area where unsealed sources are used.