The Responsibilities and Duties of Principal Investigators in by liwenting

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									The Responsibilities and Duties of Principal Investigators in
the Management of Radiation Safety
Background
In accordance with the general policy for Management of Health and Safety within the
University, Principal Investigators have a duty, delegated to them from the Head of School,
to provide "such supervision as is necessary" to ensure the safety of all postgraduate and
undergraduate students working with sources of ionising radiation.

Principal Investigators must ensure, as part of their role and management function, that
those working under their supervision receive sufficient information, instruction and
training to enable them to work in a safe manner and in accordance with the relevant
Local Rules. Principal Investigators themselves should have received adequate training,
and must clearly understand their management role in the School. They must provide
adequate supervision for those working under them until the individuals concerned can
demonstrate that they are capable of working independently and responsibly with sources
of ionising radiation.


Information, Instruction and Training

Introduction: The University is legally required to provide all employees and students who
are engaged in work with ionising radiation with sufficient information, instruction and
training to enable them to conduct their work in a safe and competent manner. They must
not work in an unsupervised capacity until (i) they have attended a Radiation Safety
Awareness course and (ii) the Principal Investigator and Radiation Protection Supervisor
are satisfied, and have stated that they have attained sufficient theoretical knowledge and
practical competence.

Information: The provision of Information on radiation Safety is undertaken centrally, by a
one-day course in Radiation Safety Awareness, organised by the University Radiation
Protection Adviser and staff of the Radiation Safety Unit. The course provides participants
with necessary information on the properties of radioactive materials, the underlying
legislation, methods of detection of ionising radiation, university procedures for obtaining
and disposing of radioactive materials, together with the associated hazards and how they
may be safely overcome. A half-day course in Radiation Safety Awareness, directed
specifically at new postgraduates in Life Sciences, is organised for induction week in
September of each year, and further, university-wide courses are run at intervals
throughout the year. Principal Investigators should notify the Radiation Protection
Supervisor of new students, postgraduates, academic and technical staff who need to
attend one of these courses. Please note that attendance at a Radiation Safety
Awareness Course is not, in itself, sufficient to permit unsupervised work with
radioisotopes.

Instruction and Training: Following attendance at a Radiation Safety Awareness course,
and satisfactory completion of an associated assessment exercise, intending radiation


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workers are required to undergo a period of within-laboratory Instruction and Training,
the responsibility for which rests with the Head of School.

Instruction is a principal function of the School’s Local Rules in Radiation Safety, which all
intending radiation workers must have read before commencing work.

Training involves demonstrating to radiation workers how to carry out the procedures
described in the Local Rules, and is also a School responsibility. The delivery of training is
typically undertaken by the Principal Investigator or a senior member of the Research
Group, in conjunction with the Radiation Protection Supervisor. The nature and duration of
the instruction and training required by an individual Radiation Worker will be dependent
on the amount of relevant previous experience, and the nature of the work to be
undertaken.


Registration of Radiation Workers
All university employees working with sources of ionising radiation - except
undergraduates participating in supervised classes or final year project work ** - must be
registered as Radiation Workers if they wish to work with such materials without direct
supervision.

After receiving appropriate instruction and training, individuals should register as Radiation
Workers by completing the internal form RW1 and submitting it to the university Radiation
Safety Unit. Form RW1 also requires intending Radiation Workers to sign a declaration
confirming that they: have read the appropriate set of Local Rules, and agree to act in
accordance with them.

** it is expected that undergraduate students will be closely supervised by a registered
radiation worker throughout the course of their projects – lone working is NOT permitted.


Registration of Projects
All projects involving the use of radioactive materials must be registered with the University
of Manchester Radiation Safety Unit using form PRO-1, PRS-1 or PRX-1, as appropriate.
The information supplied is used to demonstrate (i.e. to HSE or The Environment Agency,
potentially) that the work is being undertaken in accordance with the Ionising Radiations
Regulations 1999, and the University's Registration and Authorisation under the
Radioactive Substances Act 1993. Project Registrations may be generic, covering a
number of technically-related procedures. They should normally be undertaken by the
Principal Investigator, and countersigned by the Radiation Protection Supervisor. Projects
must be registered before any work is undertaken.


Risk Assessments and Reviews
An assessment must be made of all procedures which have radiation safety implications
for staff or students. For all new procedures, Principal Investigators should seek advice
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from their Radiation Protection Supervisor regarding the preparation of the Risk
Assessment, which must be carried out in accordance with the specific requirements of
The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999. Risk Assessments must be recorded in writing,
and should be (i) carried out by the Principal Investigator in consultation with relevant
Radiation Workers (i.e. postgraduates, postdocs and technical staff) and (ii) regularly
reviewed, and revised if necessary.


“Out of hours” and Lone Working
In an academic research environment, there may well be occasions when radioisotopes
need to handled outside of “normal working hours”. Since it is unlikely that the Radiation
Protection Supervisor or staff from the university Radiation Safety Unit will be available at
such times to handle any emergency situation that may arise (such as an isotope stock
spillage), the following procedures MUST be followed:

      A prior Risk Assessment must have been undertaken to clearly identify potential
       hazards and accident scenarios, together with an appropriate Contingency Plan,
       applicable to “out-of-hours” working.

      Quantities of radioisotopes in excess of 37MBq (1mCi) must NOT be manipulated
       outside of normal working hours.

      The Principal Investigator must be informed in advance of any intended “out-of-
       hours” activities involving radionuclides, and must have given approval for such
       activities.

      Lone working by non-registered radiation workers is NOT PERMITTED at any time.
       For registered radiation workers (i.e. those having submitted a completed RW1
       form) every opportunity should be taken to arrange for an additional individual to be
       within verbal communication distance in the laboratory, during “out-of-hours”
       working.


In summary, Principal Investigators are required to:

      Notify the Radiation Protection Supervisor of all new staff and students that are
       required to attend a course in Radiation Safety Awareness;

      Arrange for intending radiation workers to receive instruction and training
       appropriate to their intended work with radioactive materials;

      Arrange for the above individuals to become registered Radiation Workers,
       following satisfactory completion of training;

      Ensure that all procedures involving radioactive materials are covered by an
       appropriate Project Registration, which may be generic in nature;



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      Together with lab staff and students, undertake the preparation of Risk
       Assessments, and ensure that these are regularly reviewed, and revised if
       necessary.


Steve Bidey
University Radiation Protection Advisor

August 2005




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