Radiation Safety

Ionizing radiation sources and radioactive materials are among the most versatile and useful tools of modern medicine and biomedical research. Like many other modalities of medicine and research, ionizing radiation is potentially hazardous unless used with strict adherence to safety rules and procedures.

The risks of exposure to low level radiation include carcinogenesis, damage to the embryo/fetus of a pregnant individual and genetic damage associated with exposure of germ cells. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has mandated limits of exposure to workers and members of the general public. The rules and procedures outlined in this manual are designed to limit exposure to levels far below these maximum permissible doses (MPD).

The rules and procedures set forth in this Radiation Safety Manual have the purpose of protecting NSUH patients, employees and visitors against any unnecessary radiation exposures.

Four levels of group and individual responsibilities are specified in the radiation safety program:

Radiation Safety Committee: This committee is composed of physicians, scientists, administrators and patient care representatives appointed by the NSUH Medical Board and Administration to establish policies and regulations governing the use of ionizing radiation in the institution.

Radiation Safety Office: A group of specially trained health physicists and technologists who are responsible for compliance with these policies and regulations; it also provides a variety of technical services necessary for achieving such compliance. The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) is directly responsible to Administration.

Authorized Users: Physicians and scientists whose training and experience are such that they have been authorized by the Radiation Safety Committee to use ionizing radiation in clinical care, clinical research, and laboratory research activities.

Individual Users: Physicians, scientists, other professionals and workers engaged in patient care, clinical and laboratory research and research support activities which involve actual use and handling of materials and devices producing ionizing radiation. These personnel work under the supervision of Authorized Users.