Introduction

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been authorized by the State of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Radiation Protection Section, to use radiation sources in operations, education, research and development activities. The UNC-CH Radiation Safety Committee may authorize individual faculty members, as Authorized Users, to use radiation sources after a review of the proposed use, adequacy of facilities, and experience of the applicant. Although this provision allows the University great flexibility in dealing with the multitude of radiation sources and research uses encountered on campus, it places equally great responsibility on investigators and the administration to comply with State regulations so that this flexibility may continue.

This manual summarizes the terms of the University’s authorization and the regulations most applicable to campus utilization of various radiation sources. A copy must be available for each Authorized User’s facility where radiation sources are used. Special precautions, regulations, and other operating procedures specified by the Radiation Safety Committee or Radiation Safety Officer as a condition for approval of radiation source authorization must also be maintained and made available to laboratory personnel and EHS Safety officers.

Everyone involved with the use of radiation sources in any way is required to be familiar with the provisions of this manual. The manual must be readily available to all interested individuals. All radiation exposure must be maintained to levels that are as low as are reasonably achievable (ALARA).

Responsibilities

The Radiation Safety Committee is responsible for establishing policies governing the procurement, use, storage and disposal of radioactive materials and radiation-producing devices. The Committee includes individuals experienced in the use or application of radioactive materials and radiation devices and provides a peer review of these uses among researchers at the University. The Committee meets, at least quarterly, to review reports on the receipt and disposal of radioactive materials/radiation-producing devices, and to act on applications for authorization to use these sources. The Committee, along with its Chairman, is appointed by the Chancellor. It makes an annual report of activities to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.

The Department of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) has the administrative responsibility for the University’s Radiation Safety program. The EHS staff provides a wide range of radiation protection services such as personnel monitoring, waste disposal, laboratory surveys, instrumentation calibrations, maintenance of records required by the State, and consultation on the safe use of radiation sources.

Organizational Chart for the Authorization to Use Radiation Sources

Organizational Chart

The Radiation Safety Officer is responsible for radiation protection on this campus, including general surveillance of overall activities involving radiation sources and all areas where sources are used; determining compliance with rules and regulations, authorization conditions and the conditions of project approval specified by the Radiation Safety Committee; consulting on radiation protection with University staff; determining the need for and evaluation of personnel monitoring; conduction of training programs and otherwise instructing personnel in the proper procedures for the safe use of radiation sources; and immediately terminating any project that is found to be a threat to health or property.

All applications for radiation source use, location, procedures, and possession limit changes are reviewed by the Radiation Safety Officer. The Radiation Safety Officer may grant limited interim approval of those applications satisfying all appropriate requirements. The Radiation Safety Officer recommends final action on applications to the Radiation Safety Committee.

Radiation safety courses are given by the Radiation Safety Office every month for employees who will begin working with radiation sources. A schedule may be obtained from EHS. Other specialized training and consultation can also be arranged by appointment.

An Authorized User (AU) is a faculty member who has been approved to use radiation sources according to the procedures developed by the Radiation Safety Committee. The Authorized User will normally be the principal investigator of a research project involving radiation sources or the faculty member responsible for a course with laboratory or field exercises in which sources are used. Although faculty members may use radiation sources under another faculty member’s authorization, each faculty member is encouraged to obtain his/her own authorization. It is the Authorized User’s responsibility to insure that students and staff using radiation sources under his/her authorization are trained in safe laboratory practices, are familiar with the terms of the authorization and do, in fact, comply with University policies and applicable regulations.

Request for Special Safety Investigation

The North Carolina Radiation Protection Section makes provisions for employees to request an inspection or evaluation of conditions that they believe may constitute a health or safety hazard. University employees are encouraged to report such conditions to EHS and to request a “Special Investigation” into the need for corrective action. University employees who are aware of a health hazard or unsafe condition should notify EHS, 1120 Estes Drive Extension, CB# 1650, or call 919-962-5507. Employees are encouraged to seek resolution of a hazardous condition through EHS. A person requesting an inspection by EHS or the NC Radiation Protection Section may request confidentiality and by law, his/her name will not appear on any record published, released, or made available to the public, to his/her immediate supervisor, or department head.

After EHS has concluded its investigation, the results will be communicated, in writing, to the party requesting the investigation and to other appropriate University personnel with due consideration of requests for anonymity. If it is determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that violation or danger exist, corrective action will be initiated. If corrective action cannot be implemented within a reasonable period EHS may terminate the operations until corrective action is taken.