Radioactive Chemical Spills

Any radioactive contamination of personnel, equipment, facilities or properties of Syracuse University must be reported to the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) or his designee.  The RSO will direct the remediation and decontamination of radioactive material spills.  
  1. Clear the Area:  Notify all persons in the involved area/room to vacate the immediate area of the incident but instruct them to remain in the vicinity of the area until they have been properly monitored for possible radioactive contamination.  If circumstances immediately dangerous to life and/or health exist, involved individuals should exit to a safe area, notify response personnel as to their location, and remain in that area until monitored for possible radioactive contamination.
  2. Prevent the Spread:  Cover the spill with absorbent pads or paper, do not attempt to clean it up.  Confine movements of all personnel potentially contaminated to prevent further contamination.
  3. Shield the Source: If possible and as necessary, the spill should be shielded, but only if it can be done without further contamination or without significantly increasing your radiation exposure.
  4. Close Off Access to the Area:  Restrict access to the area and secure the area to prevent entry.
  5. Notify the Radiation Safety Officer immediately (443-4132) or Public Safety after normal work hours (711 from a University phone, #78 from a cell phone, or 443-2224 from any phone).
  6. Personnel Decontamination: If an appropriate survey meter is available and individuals are able and knowledgeable of the isotope(s) involved, survey clothes and exposed skin.  Contaminated clothing should be removed and stored in plastic bags for evaluation by the Radiation Safety Staff.  If contamination is on the skin, flush the skin thoroughly with lukewarm water, then wash with mild soap and lukewarm water.  Survey again; if contamination remains, repeat the process as long as contamination remains.
  7. The RSO will supervise the cleanup of the spill and complete a report.