Radioactivity - safety

Basic Radiation Protection

There are three basic ways in which people can minimise their exposures to radiation. These are:

    minimise the time of exposure,

    keep as big a distance between you and the source as possible, and

    use shielding whenever possible.

Proper safeguards and precautions must be followed at all times to minimise the dangers from radiation when handling sources.

Always check that there is no one in the room that may be pregnant before you use radioactive sources with a class.  

Label all radioactive specimens as radioactive. In school only approved sealed sources should be used.

Store all radioactive specimens in a clearly marked, locked cupboard. Locate the cupboard in a room that is not usually inhabited.

Keep a record of when the sources are removed from their designated place and who is responsible for them until they are returned 

Handle sources as little as possible. If they are touched, wash hands with soap and water - tiny particles from them could be on your hands.

Handle sources with tongs, holding them as far away from the body as possible.

Always point the source away from yourself and never towards anyone else.

Never eat, drink, or smoke near a radioactive mineral - tiny particles from the radioactive material could be on your hands.

Never drop a radioactive source. It may cause it to fragment. Tiny dust fragments would be most dangerous, as they could be inhaled or easily ingested.

LOJ (February 2001) - revised February 2003 and January 2016