Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Health and Safety - Radiation Procedures

In accordance with University policy and the regulations concerning the production and control of Ionising Radiation the department has

  1. Defined local rules;
  2. Appointed a Departmental Radiation Protection Supervisor (DRPS);
  3. Identified Group Radiation Protection Areas (GRPA); and
  4. Defined the role of the Group Radiation Protection Supervisor (GRPS) associated with each GRPA.

All systems where ionising radiation may be produced are subject to their own specific set of local rules. The local rules are given in a document posted in the area in which the system is being used. The risk assessment for each system and the list of authorised users are kept with the local rules. All work using the source of ionising radiation must be in accordance with the local rules. If the local rules for a particular system are missing, contact the DRPS and do not use the equipment.

Use of ionising radiation outside of the University

Whilst working or studying at Warwick you may undertake travel to another institution or facility. If this applies to you please fill out the form here in order for us to monitor the training you receive.

Departmental Rules - Ionising Radiation Protection

1. Sources of ionising radiation in the Physics Department
1.1. Switchable Sources, and High Voltage supplies used in conjunction with a vacuum
1.1.1. Definitions
  Switchable sources are normally X-ray sources or UV sources which are intended to produce this type of radiation. High voltages may also produce ionising radiation under vacuum conditions. High voltage is defined to be any voltage in excess of 3kV. High voltage supplies used in conjunction with reduced pressures are classified with switchable sources and referred to by this term hereafter in this document.
1.1.2. Notification and Initial Inspection
  Prior to a switchable source being commissioned, re-commissioned (e.g. re-siting), or modified, it is the duty of the group leader (member of academic staff) to notify the DRPS or an external RPA (Radiation Protection Advisor) and found to be compliant with regulations prior to switching on.
1.1.3. Classification of switchable sources
  There are two classes of radiation source and safety rules differ for each class:-
  “Standard Systems” [usually of commercial design].
  These are, for example, diffractometers which have been designed for this single task and are used on a routine basis. All operations with the equipment, including sample changing and alignment can be carried out safely. The system must not be modified in any way. The safety interlocks must not be over-ridden for any reason. There is no risk of exposure to radiation to anyone such as cleaners, security staff, or members of emergency services. For this type of source, anyone is allowed access once they have become an “authorised user.” This status will be given once the user has received instruction on safe operation of the equipment from the GRPS and the DRPS has been informed.
  “Non-standard Systems”.
  These systems may be used in investigating new phenomena. These systems must be installed in rooms which are interlocked with the source. There should be one key available to the system, any spares are to be lodged with the DRPS. The room which houses such equipment must be designated with a red light which must interlock with power supplies in a fail-safe manner. There is no permitted entry to the room when the red light is on except with the permission of the GRPS. All activities with these sources must be carried out by classified radiation workers, and locally supplied badges must be work at all ti mes during such activities.
1.2. Radioactive sources
  Radioactive sources may either be denoted as either sealed (closed) or unsealed (open). A sealed source has the radioactive material sealed in containment. In unsealed sources, the radioactive material is not protected, and so contamination is possible. The Department does not hold an unsealed source material.
1.2.1. Purchase

New sources of ionising radiation can only be purchased by members of staff. Written approval from the DRPS is required. A document detailing the purchase procedure is available in the department.

1.2.2. Usage
  Before a source is used, the experiment and procedures must be agreed with the DRPS. A risk assessment must be performed, and a system of work and local rules produced. These will detail the isotope and source strengths and whether the source is sealed. Only the approved source may be used. Individuals who will be starting to use sources according to existing systems of work must be trained. The DRPS must be notified and the user has to become an “authorised user.” In the case of using unsealed sources it is particularly important to guard against contamination, and to monitor for any possible contamination whenever the source is used.
1.2.3. Storage and Relocation
  The means and location of storage of sources should be discussed with the DRPS prior to acquisition. If it is intended to move the source to a new location for any length of time then this should also be discussed with the DRPS prior to action being taken. Records of the numbers, types (radionuclide), activities and locations of all sources across the university are kept on a software system called IsoStock (for further details contact the RPO).
1.2.4. Disposal
  Disposal of any radioactive materials must be organised and recorded by the DRPS and the University Radiation Protection Officer (RPO) .
2. Badges for Classified and Supervised Radiation Workers
  Classified radiation workers must wear a whole body radiation badge whilst involved in activities which may result in exposure to ionising radiation. In addition either whole-body or finger dosi meters may be worn by workers who are supervised, but not classified. This activity may be useful for new activities and for individuals who may require reassurance about radiation levels. There are no classified or supervised radiation workers in the Department of Physics (May 2021).
  If members of the University could be exposed to radiation at other sites, then arrangements should be made to use the radiation monitoring provided by that site. A request should be made to the outside site to send a copy of the doses received to the HSO, who will keep a record and send a copy to the DRPS for inspection and analysis.
3. Group Radiation Protection Supervisor (GRPS)
3.1 Group Radiation Protection Areas (GRPA)
  These are areas which contain either radiation sources or radioactive material. Each area is designated as under the control of one GRPS.
  For the Physics Department the following GRPA's and GRPS's have been identified:
  • X-ray laboratories (MAS level 3) : Dr David Walker.
  • EPP laboratories : Dr Steve Boyd.
  • Teaching laboratories: Dr Sue Burrows.
  • Electron microscopy (MAS level 1): Steve York.
  • Surface physics (4th Floor): Robb Johnston.
3.2. Duties and responsibilities of GRPS
  The GRPS must visit the GRPA at least once per day. They report any activity which contravenes radiation protection safety measures or commissioning of equipment which may create ionising radiation or changes to shielding to the DRPS. They must keep a written record of all sources, their location, and their monitoring in their GRPA. They are responsible for providing safety instructions for users of sources in their GRPA. They will receive written instruction from the DRPS concerning specific safety measures to be adopted in their area.
  All GRPS’s must ensure that all persons using equipment in their GRPA have become registered radiation workers. Users are requires to register with the universityLink opens in a new window and to undergo appropriate training which includes passing a test.
3.2.1. Monitoring
  All GRPS are allocated an appropriate radiation monitor for their area. These monitors are intended to provide an indication of possible leaks in shielding, but are not intended for absolute dose measurement. If a leak is identified then the device must not be used and the DRPS must be notified immediately.
4. Personnel
  These people hold the following offices:-
  • Departmental Radiation Protection Supervisor, Jon Duffy, Tel. x22410
  • Safety Committee Chair, Tom Hase, Tel. x73885
  • University Radiation Protection Officer, Joel Garner