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Procedure: Radiation safety


To assist the University in achieving and maintaining best practice and compliance with radiation legislation and the University's ARPANSA license conditions.


The Radiation safety procedure contains the following definitions:

ACTEWAGL: ACT's electrical, natural gas, water and sewage services provider

ALARP: As Low As Reasonable Practical

ARPANSA: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

ASNO: Australian Safeguards and Non Proliferation Office

Authorized Person: An authorized person is a person who is authorized to deal with radioactive sources or radiation apparatus by the management of the area.

Budget Unit: A University unit listed on the Academic units (1) and Administrative units' (2) pages. In general it refers to a college, school, division, department, cost centre or unit designated by the Vice- Chancellor as responsible for an activity of the university.

Controlled Apparatus: An apparatus that produces ionizing radiation when energised or that, if assembled or repaired, would be capable of producing ionizing radiation; or produces ionizing radiations because it contains radioactive material; or equipment prescribed by the regulations that produces harmful non-ionizing radiation when energised.

Controlled Material: Any natural or artificial material which emits ionising radiations spontaneously

DWG: Designated Work Group.

Dose: A generic term which can mean absorbed dose, equivalent dose or effective dose, depending on context. It is an amount related to an individual's exposure.

Emergency Procedures: Basic plans, established in advance, stating what action to take in the event of an emergency. These are used in order to minimise the consequences of an incident, such as injuries, or damage to property or the environment.

Exposure: The circumstances of being exposed to radiation.

Hazard: A source or a situation with a potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill-health, damage to property, damage to environment, or a combination of these.

Ionizing radiation: Radiation which is capable of causing ionization, either directly (for example, from radiation in the form of gamma rays or charged particles) or indirectly (for example, from radiation in the form of neutrons).

Licence: Means a source licence or a facility licence.

LSO: Laser Safety Officer

Non- Ionizing Radiations: Any electromagnetic radiation of wavelength greater than 100 nm in air or vacuum, (for example, infrared, ultraviolet, visible light, microwaves, radiofrequency waves).

Occupational exposure: Exposure of a person which occurs in the course of the person's work and which is not excluded exposure.

OHS: Occupational Health and Safety

Packaging: The assembly of components necessary to enclose the radioactive contents completely.

Precautionary Principle. The WHO defines the Precautionary Principle as a risk management concept that provides a flexible approach to identifying and managing possible adverse consequences to human health even when it has not been established that the activity or exposure constitutes harm to health.

‘Radiation' includes ionizing radiation (alpha, beta, gamma, x-rays, and neutrons) and non-ionizing radiation (infrared, visible, ultraviolet light, microwaves, radiofrequency waves, and static magnetic fields).

Radioactive Substances: A substance which spontaneously emits ionizing radiations as a consequence of radioactive decay.

Radioactive Contamination: The presence of a radioactive substance(s) in or a material or in a place where it is undesirable or could be harmful.

Radiological Incident: As an unexpected deviation from normal conditions leading to an actual, or potential, abnormal situation which may cause excessive exposure, irradiation or contamination of persons or contamination of the working environment.

Radiation Monitor: a device that measures radiation in terms of an exposure assessment (e.g. micro Sievert per hour).

Radiation detector: a device that detects radiation e.g. displays counts per second.

Risk: In relation to any potential injury or harm, the likelihood and consequence of injury or harm occurring.

Risk Management: Coordinated activities to direct and control an organization with regard to risk.

RSO: Radiation Safety Officer.

Sealed Sources: Means controlled material permanently contained in a capsule, or closely bound in a solid form, which is strong enough to be leak tight for the intended use of the controlled material and any foreseeable abnormal events likely to affect the controlled material.

Sievert (Sv): The special name of the SI unit for both equivalent dose and effective dose. Terms used in this Procedure include millisievert (mSv) and microsievert (µSv).

TLD: Thermo-Luminescent Dosimeters

Unsealed Sources: A source which is not a sealed source and which under normal conditions of use can produce contamination.

UV: that part of the Ultra Violet spectrum



  1. The ANU has developed this procedure to help carry out the University's Radiation Policy and principles. This includes complying with legislation, licence conditions and relevant standards, thus reducing exposure and risks to health, safety and the environment. It applies to both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. All users of non-ionizing radiation must be aware of the hazards and risks associated with the particular radiation they are using or to which they are likely to be exposed. The University's safety courses provide information on managing these hazards.

Legislative requirements

  1. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has issued The ANU a Source Licence (S0027) and three Facilities Licences to hold ionizing and non- Ionizing radiation apparatus and / or material and conduct various dealings, e.g. research and teaching.

See: Radiation Safety Policy (ANUP_001232) for additional information on complying with the law.

  1. The University's Nuclear material handling guidelines address dealings associated with the Nuclear Safeguards and Non-Proliferation legislative requirements.

Managing risk

  1. The University uses a risk-based approach to minimise risks when working with, storing, handling, transporting and disposing of radioactive materials and apparatus associated with the University's research and teaching.
  2. Managing radiation risk involves conducting a risk assessment to:
  • Establish the context associated with radiation use;
  • Identify the hazards;
  • Assess the risks associated with those hazards;
  • Control the risks; and
  • Review the process.
  1. Use WHS Risk Assessment Guidelines, ANU Safety Courses (an ARPANSA licence requirement), and Risk control protocol for ionizing radiation procedure to assess the risk.
  2. Stage



    Establish the Context. Consider the scope and nature of work within the laboratory area when working with radioactive substances or apparatus.


    Identify the Hazards. Hazard identification is covered in detail in the ANU Safety courses.


    Assess the risks associated with the hazards. Assess both real and potential exposures.


    Control the risks.1 Provide suitable measures to reduce identified risks to ALARP. The plan for controlling workplace radiation exposure in the workplace is based on a hierarchy of controls, including:

    · avoidance or elimination of exposure;

    · isolation of radiation sources through shielding, containment and remote handling techniques;

    · engineering controls to reduce radiation levels and intakes of radioactive materials in the workplace;

    · administrative controls, including safe work practices, work methods that make use of time, distance and shielding to reduce exposure, training, safety signage; and

    · Approved personal protective equipment, where other means of controlling exposure are not practicable or enough.

    Note. Risk control is usually implemented through a combination of controls, rather than just one by itself.


    Review the process. Regular reviews are a requirement of the Regulations. Also, consider whether new processes and techniques are available. If an incident (or near miss) occurs, incorporate recommendations and improvements into the protocols.

    Because of the dangers of radiation exposure, all workers must apply the Precautionary Principle (see: Appendix 1). Also consider the Principle of Optimisation of Protection. The University's aim always is to minimise exposure and to be well within legal dose limits or dose constraints.

Responsibilities in managing risk

  1. Radiation Safety Policy and Nuclear material handling guidelines contain the responsibilities for people involved in radiation dealings. Extra responsibilities are listed below.

Supervisor and research leaders

  1. Supervisors and research leaders also have the following responsibilities:
  • Document all proposed work and research;
  • Conduct only justified research and dealings, i.e. there must be a net benefit to the researcher or the community, considering social, economic and other relevant factors;
  • Comply with the ANU ‘new work' approval process (see section below);
  • Conduct a risk assessment. Where there are high or extreme risks, try to reduce them to ALARP;

See: Risk assessment

  • Keep individual exposures below relevant exposure limits and to the lowest level achievable, consistent with best practice;
  • Ensure that all necessary training and supervision is provided to staff and students working with radiation;
  • Provide proper resources (e.g. work area, safety devices and personal protective equipment);
  • Communicate with and involve local Radiation and Laser Safety Officers; and
  • Be aware of HR issues (see section below).

Pregnant staff Members

  1. Female workers should tell their supervisor (or the RSO or Work Environment Group – Human Resources Division) as soon as they suspect they are pregnant. Once they confirm the pregnancy, the supervisor must actively seek to further control exposure and give information to the worker on the risks to the embryo or foetus of working with radiation. Where a worker is no longer able to continue working with the radiation, the supervisor (in consultation with local management) should provide suitable alternative employment.
  2. Where a pregnant worker continues to work with ionizing radiation a more stringent dose limit must be applied to the embryo or foetus. ARPANSA recommends the same level of protection as for the public, i.e. a dose of 1 mSv a year, which equals a limit of 0.75 mSv to the abdomen during pregnancy.
  3. These conditions also apply to breastfeeding workers.

Workers with a medical condition and/or implants

  1. Workers with a medical condition, or a medical implant that may be affected by exposure to radiation (e.g. a heart pacemaker in a magnetic field), should discuss this with their supervisor, the RSO or Work Environment Group. Supervisors and managers of the Budget Unit should provide suitable alternative employment where the worker is no longer able to work with radiation for health reasons.

ANU staff visiting external organisations

  1. ANU staff working with radiation at external organisations should document the type of radiation with which they are working and have their ANU supervisor and relevant RSO approve the work.

Note. Use the External contractor form.

  1. Where the external organisation provides the radiation monitoring, consider how to combine their results with the University dose results.

Note. Many external organisations (e.g. ANSTO) issue visitors a radiation badge during their stay.

  1. ANU staff must comply with the external organisation's induction/ training requirement.

Contract researchers, visiting Fellows, summer students and other short-term workers

  1. All workers are to work to an ANU supervisor while they are working on ANU projects or on ANU grounds or in ANU buildings. Before any work starts, the supervisor must approve the work and work conditions.
  2. Workers will meet (or exceed) all the set ANU radiation standards. They need to be aware of:
  • Their work roles and responsibilities and how they may influence safety;
  • ANU and local Budget Unit standards for working with radiation; and
  • Issues surrounding age, pregnancy and medical implants.
  1. They should also meet the local RSO and discuss their tasks with them.
  2. Anyone working in a radiation area must undergo the following radiation safety induction:

When the stay is ...

Then attend ...

< 10 Days

A workplace radiation induction.

>10 Days

A full local area induction.

>4 Months

Staff Training as ANU staff.

  1. Contract researchers may enter a formal safety agreement with their employing group.

See: External Contractor form

Trade contractors, workshop and maintenance staff

  1. When seeking access to hazardous and restricted locations trade contractors, workshop and maintenance staff (including equipment technicians) must:
  • Obey the ANU policy on control of access;
  • At least one day before wanting access, seek approval from the laboratory or area supervisor, or in their absence, the RSO; and
  • In an emergency consult with staff in the laboratory or research group and gain approval for access if they need urgent access.
  1. This also applies to after-hours access.

Facilities & Services supervisors of trade contractors

  1. Facilities & Services supervisors must ensure that prior approval and access has been granted by the laboratory (or area supervisor) and RSO, before allowing access to trade contractors.

New work approval

  1. Approval for new work may occur through:
  • In-House Assessment;
  • Radiation Safety Committee Assessment;
  • ARPANSA approval; and/or
  • ASNO notification.
  1. RSO, LSO and Work Environment Group, can help in deciding which approval level is correct for any new work.

In-house assessment

  1. In-house assessment is suitable where a new experiment is conducted using a radioactive isotope or apparatus currently in use within the same Budget Unit.

Note. The material must exist in the School's inventory.

  1. The following applies.




Conduct a risk assessment using the Risk Assessment Guidelines.

Note. For ionizing radiation also use the Risk Control Protocol for Ionizing Radiation. For non-ionizing radiation also use the Laser Application Form and the Non Ionizing Radiation Equipment Application Form.


Develop safe work practices, ensuring licence compliance, based on:

· The results of the risk assessment;

· ARPANSA documents Radiation Protection Series and Radiation Health Series; and

· Australian Standards.


Send the completed risk assessment and safe work practices through the group supervisor to the local RSO for approval before beginning the procedure.

Note. The RSO may provide the local OHS Committee details of the new experiment.

Radiation Safety Committee assessment

  1. Radiation Safety Committee assessment is suitable where there is:
  • A new experiment that includes having and using material and or an apparatus;
  • A new radiation-producing apparatus;
  • A new sealed source;
  • A new unsealed source not currently listed in the School's inventory;
  • An unsealed source of a radioisotope that exceeds the cumulative activity for that radioisotope shown on the inventory;
  • An unsealed source of a radioisotope of different physical form (i.e. solid, liquid, gas) than shown on the inventory for that radioisotope;
  • An unsealed source of a radioisotope to be used differently than shown on the inventory for that radioisotope (i.e. the risks are significantly different);
  • Transfer of radioactive material into long-term storage;
  • Disposal of radiation apparatus (ARPANSA approval); and
  • Some other situations as determined by Work Environment Group or RSOs.
  1. The following applies:





Researcher or Group Leader

Completes the correct application form:

· New work Radiation Application cover page; and one of the following

· Ionizing radiation Apparatus Application Form;

· Ionizing radiation Isotope Application Form;

· Laser Application Form; or

· Non Ionizing Radiation Equipment Application Form; and sends the completed forms to the Local RSO.


Local RSO

Checks the forms for completeness and sends the completed forms to the coordinating RSO for comments.


Coordinating RSO

The Coordinating RSO adds any comments and sends the completed forms to Work Environment Group.


Work Environment Group

Checks the forms, adds any further comments required and sends the forms to the Radiation Safety Committee.


Radiation Safety Committee

Approves the application and returns the forms to Work Environment Group for distribution.


Work Environment Group

Records the approval and returns the approved application to the Researcher or Group Leader and the Local RSO.

ARPANSA approval

  1. ARPANSA assessment is correct for:
  • A new radiation dealing, which involves radiation apparatus or materials not currently, listed on the ANU inventory (ARPANSA Workbook);
  • Changes that significantly influence safety of a radiation area or process;
  • Disposal or transfer of radiation apparatus; and
  • Disposal or transfer of significant radiation sources.





Researcher or Group Leader

If: it is a new radiation dealing;

Then: completes the process as for the Radiation Safety Committee.

If: it is a transfer of a controlled source or apparatus between Commonwealth agencies;

Then: completes the ARPANSA transfer request form.

If: it is a movement to a State organisation;

Then: completes an ARPANSA disposal request form.

If: it is a disposal of a controlled source or apparatus (i.e. the material is leaving the Commonwealth's control);

Then: completes the ARPANSA disposal request form.

Sends the completed forms to the Local RSO.


Local RSO

Checks the form for completeness and sends the completed forms to the coordinating RSO for comments.


Coordinating RSO

Adds comments, if required, and sends the completed forms to Work Environment Group


Work Environment Group

Checks the forms and helps the Coordinating RSO complete the appropriate ARPANSA application/forms and sends them to the local Director for approval.


Local Director

Approves the application and sends it to ARPANSA for their approval.



Approves the application and returns it to the Director for action.

ASNO Notification

  1. ASNO notification is required when:
  1. Discuss any proposed dealing with University's ASNO liaison officer (contact: Work Environment Group).

New radiation laboratory designs

  1. Any new (wet chemistry) radiation laboratories should comply with AS/NZS 2982:2010 Laboratory design and construction. If new laboratories don't fully comply, they must have an equivalent level of safety.
  2. Radiation measured outside laboratories housing radiation apparatus must be below set public exposure limits.

Note. Contact Work Environment Group for advice.

Existing laboratory compliance

  1. Use the check lists for Ionizing radiations, Non-ionizing radiations, Lasers and Laser system or equipment to assess compliance with the current Australian Standards on laboratory safety.
  2. Discuss any deficiencies with the RSO and local management. If there is a dispute, contact Work Environment Group.

Handling radioactive materials at the University

  1. This part covers:
  • Ionizing radiation store requirements;
  • Storage of radioactive substances;
  • Labelling of storage containers and ionizing apparatus; and
  • Transporting radioactive material.

Ionizing radiation store requirements

  1. Radioactive substances stores should comply with the following:
  • Ensure the store is secure and restrict it to authorised personnel only;
  • Store only radioactive substances there;
  • Keep a register (for waste stores) or Chemical Inventory System (for radiation stores) that is readily accessible to authorised staff;
  • Appoint a person to be responsible for the store housekeeping;
  • Display a Radiation warning sign at the entrance to the store;
  • Place containers of radioactive substances on spillage trays;
  • Ensure the store has enough light to read the labels, good natural or mechanical ventilation;
  • Display emergency contact details;
  • Store packages to:
  • prevent physical damage,
  • reduce the effects of the chemical properties,
  • contain spills or leaks, and
  • separate them from incompatible materials (packages will not need to be opened once placed in store); and
  1. The RSO will assess and record the average and maximum radiation dose rates.

Note. Radiation levels should be measured centrally within the store, outside the entrance and on any major path or public area next to the store.

  1. Contact the RSO for information on storing long-lived radioactive material no longer needed.

Storage of radioactive substances

  1. Store all radioactive substances in suitable containers in a location with proper conditions for the substances and their containers. Radioactive substances should be stored separately from non- radioactive substances. The storage containers should be:
  • Strong;
  • Durable;
  • Made of compatible material;
  • Kept closed; and
  • Labelled clearly and correctly.
  1. Unsealed radioactive residues at tracer level may be stored in glass vessels with correct polyethylene or rubber stoppers.
  2. Ionizing radiations can induce decomposition of water; so vented containers may be needed to store aqueous radioactive solutions.
  3. Thermally unstable radioactive substances need particular care. Store in vented containers.
  4. Storage containers for beta-emitting isotopes should reduce bremsstrahlung radiation.

Labelling of storage containers and ionizing apparatus

  1. All storage containers should have a label that correctly identifies the radioactive substance. The label should contain the following information:
  • Name of Radio nuclides;
  • Activity details;
  • Description of contents;
  • Physical form;
  • Chemical form;
  • Encapsulating material; and
  • Chemical Inventory System barcode.

See: Appropriate label for storage container

  1. Long-lived radioactive material no longer wanted needs special storage containers and labelling. Contact your RSO for further information.
  2. All radiation apparatus listed on the inventory must be labelled.

See: Appropriate label for ionizing apparatus

Transporting radioactive material

  1. This section covers transporting radioactive material:
  • Within buildings;
  • Between buildings
  • By rail, road and waterways; and
  • By Air.
  1. Within buildings: Transporting radioactive material within buildings includes:
  • Between radiation store to laboratory;
  • Laboratory to laboratory;
  • Laboratory to radiation store; and/ or
  • Laboratory to waste store.
  1. The following conditions must be met before transporting radioactive material within buildings. The radioactive substance must be:
  • Contained properly (i.e. primary and secondary containment);
  • Labelled with a radiation trefoil and substance/ material identification; and
  • Shielded to reduce exposure to an acceptable level (< 10 µSv/hr or <500 counts/s).

Note. Read this Part with the ANU Hazardous Waste Disposal Procedures.

  1. Between Buildings: Radioactive material and/ or radiation producing apparatus can only be transported around the University campus with the approval of the two relevant building RSOs. All material must be appropriately packaged, labelled and secured.
  2. By rail, road and waterways: Transporting radiation material by rail, road and waterways must comply with Radiation Protection Series 2- Code of practice for the safe transport of Radioactive material (2008).
  3. By Air: Transportation by air must comply with the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and IATA requirements. An IATA certified person must package and provide the documentation for material transported (off campus or) by air. Packaging requirements for radioactive materials are available from the Work Environment Group.

Transfer of radioactive material or apparatus

  1. This part covers transfer:
  • Within the University; or
  • To another Commonwealth Agency; or
  • To a Non-Commonwealth Agency

Transfer within the University

  1. Transfer within The ANU may only occur between areas covered by the ARPANSA licence and only with the approval of the RSOs in both the areas involved. RSOs are responsible for:
  • Notifying ARPANSA of the transfer on the next ARPANSA quarterly report; and
  • Updating the Chemical Inventory System with the new location of the radioactive materials.
  1. For information on transferring nuclear material within the University or externally, contact the Work Environment Group.

Transfer to another Commonwealth Agency

  1. Transfer of controlled material or controlled apparatus may occur between The ANU and another licensed Commonwealth Agency. The RSO from the area transferring the material must complete a Transfer Notice and send it to ARPANSA, with a copy to Work Environment Group, within seven days of the transfer.
  2. For further information contact Work Environment Group.

Transfer to a Non-Commonwealth Agency

  1. Transfer of controlled apparatus or controlled material to a non-commonwealth agency is defined as "Disposal". The following process applies.
  2. Licence holders must ensure that disposal of controlled material or apparatus follows:
  1. Radioactive laboratory wastes released under the relevant Radiation Disposal Permit issued by the ACT Radiation Safety Section does not need written approval.

Disposal of radiation waste or sources or apparatus

  1. Disposing of radioactive material usually involves one of the following:
  • Returning it to the manufacturer or supplier for processing; or
  • Concentrating and Containing it; or
  • Storing the material and allowing it to Decay; or
  • Diluting the material and spreading it into the natural background levels.
  1. Every effort is to be made to minimise the generation of hazardous and radioactive waste under the ANU Hazardous Waste Disposal Procedures. If an experiment is to produce radioactive waste, then the experiment designer must consider how to dispose of any residue, contaminated equipment, and waste at the design stage. A protocol or waste disposal route must be available (and approved) before the work can commence. The local RSO is able to assist.
  2. Details for disposing of radioactive waste are in the ANU Hazardous waste disposal procedures, Part 4. For more information contact your local RSO.
  3. For disposing of unwanted sealed sources contact your RSO.
  4. For disposing of nuclear material consult the Nuclear Material Guideline and send it to Work Environment Group for approval.

HR issues

  1. This Part covers:
  • Age limits associated with working with radiation;
  • Training, qualifications and experience;
  • Acceptable alternate training; and
  • Retraining.


  1. No one under the age of 16 is to work with ionizing radiation or be directly exposed to radiation.
  2. No one under the age of 18 is to work in a hazardous or restricted area (radiation controlled area) unless supervised, and then only for the purpose of training.

See: ANU procedures for control of access to hazardous and restricted locations.

Training, qualifications and experience

  1. Activities with safety implications are only conducted under the control of qualified, experienced and authorised personnel, and under approved written protocols. The following Table lists minimum training, qualifications, and experience.


Education, Qualifications or Training

Related Experience


Undergraduate Student

Year 12, Training/ Studying

None, Requires supervision

Radiation worker, (Class 3 and 4) Laser user, PhD and honours students

Budget Unit Induction course, ANU safety course, on the job training in techniques and processes

Minimal experience, but needs supervision (should understand theory, and for isotope work conduct a dry run of the experiment)


Equipment maintenance officer/ technician

Relevant technical qualifications, ANU safety course (highly recommended)

Relevant technical expertise and understanding of the hazards associated with the equipment

supervisor, RSO/LSO


Budget Unit Induction course, Academic qualifications, ANU safety course, ANU OHS for Managers and supervisors course

1 year +

Dean / Director

Deputy Radiation Safety Officer, deputy Laser Safety Officer

Budget Unit Induction course, ANU safety course

1 yr +, with practical experience. The deputy RSO may occupy the role of RSO for up to 6 months to cover absences of the incumbent RSO.

Business/ Laboratory Manager, RSO

Radiation Safety Officer, Laser Safety Officer

Budget Unit Induction course, ANU safety course, or Radiation Safety Training (optional) and encouraged to attend an external radiation safety course.

3 yrs+, with practical experience

Dean / Director

Coordinating Radiation Safety

Budget Unit Induction course and ANU safety courses (ionizing and lasers and Radiation safety Training). A coordinating RSO may also be a RSO or a user of radiation.

Basic radiation safety and awareness is necessary to ensure an understanding of the issues and materials. A coordinating RSO should be able to network with the other area RSOs and attend the University's Radiation Safety Committee. They are responsible to the Dean/Director to maintain the area's ARPANSA inventory.


See: ANU safety Courses

Acceptable alternate training

  1. External courses or other institutional courses may be recognised as a substitute for the University safety courses by agreement with the local Budget Unit RSO, Work Environment Group or ANU Radiation Safety Committee.


  1. Personnel relying solely on the University safety courses should consider retraining every five years. All radiation-trained personnel should revisit the University radiation web sites regularly, or upon notification of changes or additions to information on the web sites.


  1. This Part covers:
  • Personal ionizing radiation monitoring;
  • Area, zone and equipment ionizing radiation monitoring;
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Testing sealed sources; and
  • Laser Eye Testing.

Personal Ionizing Radiation Monitoring

  1. Staff must:
  • Wear the radiation monitoring badges/dosimeters during their radiation work;
  • Regularly check the monitoring badges/dosimeter for contamination; and
  • Maintain the monitoring badges/dosimeters and keep them clean under the manufacturer's guidelines.

See: Personal monitoring for details about dose limits.

  1. The following applies:

When a staff member ...

Then …

Begins work with The ANU in a radiation department, or performs work involving radiation exposure

An RSO, supervisor or monitoring agency may request cumulative radiation dose reports or incident reports.

Ends their employment with The ANU

They are entitled to request a copy of their cumulative dose report and their incident report.

  1. ARPANSA recommends the annual dose received by radiation workers should not exceed 20 mSv, averaged over five years, with no more than 50 mSv in any one year. The following protocols apply.

Where a worker's dose results ...

Then …

>80 µSv per month or >250 µSv in a reporting quarter, or >1000 µSv per year

Report the dose results using the University's notification system.

Approach recommended dose limits

Strictly monitor and review the radiation work to ensure the dose remains within set limits.

Area, zone and equipment monitoring

  1. The University conducts area monitoring to identify where a large dose rate exists, or where changes have occurred. Documented (ionizing and non-ionizing) radiation monitoring results provides information that assists in creating actions that reduce the dose to personnel. This also includes regularly monitoring equipment for leaks or contamination that could lead to personal exposure. The University also monitors external radiation, and surface and airborne contaminations.

Environmental Monitoring

  1. The release of radioactive material into the environment is strictly regulated and controlled. Consult the ANU Procedure for the Disposal of Hazardous Waste for further information.
  2. Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that originates from rock and concrete, permeates into buildings. When the ventilation is poor, radon levels may increase. The Work Environment Group conducts radon monitoring of buildings. The radon concentrations to date are within dose limits for most buildings and areas on campus. Environment monitoring details are available. Consult your RSO or Work Environment Group for further information.

Testing sealed sources

  1. Leakage testing is to be performed regularly (at least every 10 years) under ISO 9978:1992 Radiation protection - sealed radioactive sources - Leakage testing methods or whenever leakage is suspected. Consult your RSO or Work Environment Group for further information.

Laser Eye Testing

  1. Staff involved with class 3B or 4 lasers should undergo an ophthalmic screening to assess the baseline condition of their eyes.

See: Health Surveillance Procedure for further information on the testing requirement.

Record Keeping

  1. This part gives details of documents that should be held by:
  1. It also gives details of what documents should be on a staff member's Personal File.

Budget Units

  1. Budget Units should hold:
  • RSO contact details;
  • Radioactive waste disposal records;
  • ACT Radiation Council - Waste Disposal Permits; and
  • Local OHS committee minutes/ agenda that discuss radiation issues.


  1. RSOs should hold:
  • Access to the ARPANSA Inventory Workbook and Chemical Inventory System;
  • ANU radiation safety course documentation;
  • Applications for new conduct and dealings;
  • Safety assessments, reviews and approvals;
  • Personal radiation dose records;
  • ARPANSA Personal Radiation Monitoring Service records
  • TLD badge whole body
  • Extremities results, or
  • Other exposure monitoring results. e.g. quartz fibre electroscope results or electronic dosimeter results, together with dose calculation methods.
  • Work Environment Group exposure assessment reports
  • Records of ionizing radiation doses that radiation workers have received, including details of monitoring results and dose calculation methods, are to be kept during the working lifetime of the person and afterwards for not less that 30 years after the last dose assessment and at least until the person reaches or would have reached the age of 75 years;
  • Radiation dose report file (Central Records file nomenclature: OHS- RM - ‘area name'- Radiation dose reports);
  • Area, zone and equipment monitoring results;
  • Radiation Store radiation survey results and dose rates;
  • Radiation apparatus and laboratory design specifications for new or refurbished installations; and
  • Sealed Source records comprising:
  • Serial number or other identification of each source;
  • The physical nature of the source, the radionuclide, its date of receipt and its activity upon receipt;
  • All movements of the source in the establishment; and
  • The date and manner of disposal of the source when it leaves establishment.

Radiation User Group

  1. The Radiation User Group should hold:
  • Documentation for new work and dealings;
  • Safe operating procedures and protocols (which are regularly reviewed, at least annually);
  • Waste disposal guidelines, based on ANU Hazardous waste disposal procedures;
  • Calibration certificates;
  • Source certificates;
  • Seal source leakage testing methods and results;
  • Area, zone and equipment monitoring results; and
  • Work Environment Group exposure assessment reports.

Personal File

  1. The following documents should be on the personal file of those working with radiation:
  • Training and qualifications;
  • Relevant radiation experience;
  • Medical records;
  • Eye/Optical examination for persons using class 3B or 4 lasers;
  • Accident, injury, hazard and near miss reports;
  • Accident related medical tests and reports;
  • A copy of the final cumulative radiation dose report upon leaving the University (or wearer register identification); and
  • A copy of relevant radiation incident reports and investigation results.

Work Environment Group

  1. Work Environment Group should hold:
  • The ANU ARPANSA Licence and conditions;
  • Training attendance records (ANU course details only);
  • Minutes of Radiation Safety Committee meetings;
  • (Work Environment Group) exposure assessment reports;
  • Centralised environmental monitoring results (e.g. radon); and
  • Incident and Accident Reports, and resultant Investigation Reports.

Availability of records

  1. An individual's exposure report should be available to them on request. Records are to be made available for inspection to the proper authority. When records can no longer be retained, forward them to ARPANSA.

Security arrangements

  1. The ANU must implement ARPANSA security requirements for sealed radioactive sources according to RPS11- code of practice for the security of radioactive sources (2007) to decrease the likelihood of unauthorised access to, or acquisition of, the source by persons with malicious intent.
  2. Radiation areas are hazardous locations under the ANU procedure for the control of access to hazardous and restricted locations. Except for emergency services personnel in an emergency, only authorised persons may access a radiation area. An authorised person must accompany all visitors or trades persons.
  3. An initial security inspection of a radiation area should be conducted to ensure the area also meets the security requirements of AS 2243.4-1998 Safety in laboratories - Ionizing radiations. Regular area audits should also identify security concerns.

Radioactive sources and apparatus not in use

  1. Secure radioactive sources and apparatus not in use according to AS 2243.4-1998 to ensure there is no unauthorized access or operation.


  1. Protect Class 3B and 4 laser products against unauthorized use by removing the key from the control. Exposure to unauthorised persons may also be prevented by a remote interlock connected to an emergency master disconnect interlock or beam stop. Detailed information is covered in the Laser Safety Course.

Emergency procedures

  1. This Part covers:
  • Spillage;
  • Fire/ explosion;
  • Chemical Incidents;
  • Biological Incidents;
  • First Aid;
  • Personal decontamination; and
  • Floods.

When there is a ...

Then …


Follow the procedures in Laboratory Spill management

Note: Any serious injury to a person should be treated immediately, taking care to reduce the spread of contamination. Emergency treatment for serious or life-threatening injury takes priority over treatment for contamination.

Fire/ Explosion

Follow the procedures in ANU emergency procedures.

Note: If there is a fire or explosion, then inform the senior officer of the attending fire brigade of radioactive hazards.

Warning: Fire and explosion are likely to spread radioactive contamination.

Chemical Incident

Follow the procedures in ANU risk management for chemicals and Laboratory Spill management

Biological Incident

Follow the procedures in The ANU Biological Safety Folder.

Need for First Aid

Follow the procedures in ANU First Aid, Provision for services, which describes in detail early First Aid treatment in an emergency.

Note: Every Budget Unit needs at least one First Aid Attendant.

Need to decontaminate people

Follow the procedures in Laboratory Spill management, which explains how to decontaminate.

Note: Anyone who may have had an accidental intake of radioactive material must be referred to the RSO as soon as possible to determine if there is a need for medical monitoring. Help on this matter is available through the local RSO, Work Environment Group, ACT Radiation Health Section and Canberra Hospital.


Ensure radioactive substances are stored so water damage cannot occur.

Reporting incidents involving radioactive materials

  1. Reporting incidents, significant exposures and dangerous occurrences helps the University avoid repeating incidents. The following applies to reporting any incident involving radioactive materials or apparatus.




Report the incident to the area supervisor and local RSO.


Complete the University's Incident Notification Form


(Work Environment Group) Report the incident to ARPANSA within 24 hours if it is:

a spill of more than 20 ALI (Annual Limit of Intake) or

radioactive contamination on a person or clothing exceeding 50 Derived Work limits (DWL) or

above the INES scale of an incident.

  1. The local RSO and the area supervisor will provide initial assistance. Additional assistance in dealing with the emergency may be needed from:
  • The RSO;
  • Work Environment Group;
  • ANU Security;
  • University Maintenance staff;
  • Emergency Services personnel; or
  • ACTEWAGL staff.

Radiation detectors and monitors

  1. This Part covers:
  • Testing, calibration and efficiency checks; and
  • Radiation monitors and special radiation detectors.

Testing, calibration and efficiency checks

  1. Radiation detectors must have their efficiency checked every year and be calibrated at least every five years. Radiation Detectors and Monitors give details of the ARPANSA calibration and efficiency requirements. RSOs should conduct the efficiency checks as outline in Radiation detector efficiency check.

Radiation Monitors and Special Radiation Detectors

  1. Radiation monitors that provide a dose rate must be calibrated annually. The special radiation detectors, for low energy x-ray detection or neutrons, should also be checked or tested annually. Conduct simple operational checks regularly for all types of radiation monitor or detector.

Non-Ionizing Radiations

  1. This Part covers:
  • Lasers;
  • Ultra Violet radiation;
  • Infra Red radiation;
  • Radiofrequency;
  • Visible light; and
  • Other non-ionizing radiation.


  1. This includes lasers of class 3 and 4, producing ultraviolet, visible or infrared radiation. An LSO must be able to monitor the use of these hazardous lasers and be able to provide advice. All users of Class 3 and 4 lasers (and laser systems) must attend the ANU Laser Safety course. Contact your LSO or Work Environment Group for further information.

See: ARPANSA Laser radiation basics and AS/NZS 2211.1:2004 Safety of laser products - Equipment classification, requirements and user's guide.

Ultra Violet

  1. Ultra Violet radiations (wavelengths from 200 to 400 nm) may be produced by low pressure gas discharge lamps for germicidal control in biological safety cabinets, or UV curing, reaction vessels and in Transilluminators. The UV document outlines the precautions required while working with UV sources. Please contact the Work Environment Group for further information and assessment.

See: ARPANSA UV radiation Basics and AS 2243.5:2004 Safety in laboratories -Non-ionizing radiations - Electromagnetic, sound and ultrasound.

Infra Red

  1. Infra Red (IR) radiations (wavelengths between 760 nm and 1 mm) may be produced by IR lamps or associated hot materials (e.g. furnaces). Please contact the Work Environment Group for further information and assessment.

See: AS 2243.5:2004.


  1. Radio frequency (RF) is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with frequencies between 3 KHz and 300 KHz. The sources of RF are microwave ovens, induction heaters, plasma sources, radio transmitters, etc. Please contact the Work Environment Group for further information and assessment.

See: ARPANSA RF radiation basics and AS 2243.5:2004.

Visible light

  1. Visible light spectrum exists between 400nm to about 760 nm. The maximum sensitivity of human eye occurs at 555nm. Sunlight is the main source of visible light and eyes are at high risk. Please contact the Work Environment Group for further information and assessment.

See: Outdoor work and AS 2243.5:2004.

Other non-ionizing radiations

  1. For concerns about any non-ionizing radiation please contact the Work Environment Group for further information and assessment.

See: ARPANSA and Electromagnetic spectrum.

Note: Non-ionizing radiation apparatus producing potentially hazardous exposures are also managed within the University's radiation licence.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Radiation safety
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_000682
Version 11
Purpose To assist the University in achieving and maintaining best practice and compliance with radiation legislation and the University's ARPANSA license conditions.
Audience Staff
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Staff - Health & Working Safely
Effective Date 31 May 2011
Review Date 31 May 2014
Responsible Officer Director, Human Resources
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Human Resources Division
Authority Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (License Charges) Regulations 2000