4-OP-G-6 Radiation Safety

Responsible Executive:‚Äč Finance and Administration

Approving Official: Vice President Finance and Administration

Effective Date: December 1, 2013

Last Revision Date: Unrevised at this time.



  • The primary objectives related to protection from these hazards are divided into two general categories: those intended to protect personnel from immediately observable deleterious effects after an exposure and those intended to prevent latent injuries or conditions that may occur from much lower levels or repeated exposures. Addressing the latter objective usually invokes the most conservative approach while affording a greater margin of protection than would be necessary to meet the former objective. The considerations for protection of the environment are also covered by programmatic approaches aimed at limiting potential long-term exposures to personnel from any particular hazard.
    1. Ionizing Radiation (e.g. - radioactive material, x-ray devices, accelerators)
      1. The protection objectives related to this type of hazard are aptly stated in the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Report No. 116, Limitation of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation. The report states that "The specific objectives of radiation protection are:
        1. To prevent the occurrence of clinically significant radiation induced deterministic (non-stochastic) effects by adhering to dose limits that are below the apparent threshold levels.
        2. To limit the risk of stochastic (probabilistic) effects, cancer and genetic effects, to a reasonable level in relation to societal needs, values, benefits gained and economic factors."
    2. Non-Ionizing Radiation
      1. Laser Radiation: The primary focus is to prevent thermal injury to the eyes or skin of personnel due to direct or scattered laser beams. Protection from associated non-beam hazards such as fire, electrical, compressed gas, and generated aerosols due to the use of laser devices must also be considered. Potential long-term effects may occur if eyes of exposed individuals are not adequately protected from certain wavelengths of laser beams.
      2. UV Radiation: Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C) is generally controlled to prevent thermal injury to the eyes and skin. Potential long-term damage that can lead to cancers or cataracts can also be controlled through engineering controls or the use of personal protective equipment.
      3. Magnetic Field, Microwave, and other Electromagnetic Radiations: The potential for harm from these hazards is believed to be limited to those that may occur acutely from the deposition of heat within a person's body. Current standards and regulations are focused entirely on preventing injury from short-term exposures associated with these hazards. Research on long-term effects of these kinds of exposures remains inconclusive. However, precaution is warranted against receiving any unnecessary or substantial exposures.
  • The guiding principle for ionizing radiation protection, that all exposures and doses should be kept "as low as reasonably achievable" or "ALARA", can easily be applied to all hazards. The subjective part of this principle is obviously what is "reasonable". Some of this is governed by law, some by common sense. Those instances where what constitutes "reasonable" action is not as obvious must be determined in coordination with EH&S personnel and other knowledgeable experts.


  • The control of ionizing radiation hazards for FSU has been the responsibility of the Radiation Control and Policy Committee (RCPC) since 1958. An RCPC is required by both federal and state licensing authorities in order to be granted sufficient latitude and authority to control radiation hazards at the local level thereby precluding long delays for initiation or modification of research protocols. The RCPC is comprised of four FSU faculty members representing various disciplines, the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), and a senior member from Administration. The RCPC oversees and advises on all radiation protection program areas including the receipt, possession, use, disposal, and transfer of radioactive materials to, from, and on campus, and the hazards associated with ionizing radiation and radiation producing machines. The RCPC formally establishes policies and evaluates all procedures, proposals, and records related to ionizing radiation protection. Implementation of these policies and routine operations are performed by the EH&S Radiation Safety section under the direction of the RSO.
  • Non-ionizing radiation protection is an area that has been only recently regulated for a few applications with many parts currently unregulated and under debate. The application of safety standards or laws are applicable where they exist, such as for laser applications. These are reflected in current FSU programs. Sound scientific principles must be applied to all other areas. The RCPC can advise on these areas but the control of these hazards is neither within the RCPC's purpose nor necessarily within the committee members' areas of expertise. Nevertheless, the Radiation Safety section remains responsible for controlling these hazards. They must rely much more on the knowledge of the individuals using the devices, consultation with other known experts, and the advice of ad-hoc committees that they may form, as each individual case warrants.
      1. The Radiation Safety section within EH&S is responsible for the protection of personnel and the environment from the potential hazards associated with ionizing and non-ionizing radiation used in FSU operations or at any of our facilities. Individuals, and those supervising personnel, that may be producing these hazards are also responsible for affording due protection from and control of any potential exposures or releases that may result from their actions.
      2. Required protective measures and regulatory compliance issues related to radiation safety can seem quite complex or technical in nature. Radiation Safety section staff should therefore be given advanced notice and consulted prior to any operations involving these hazards.
      1. Radiation Safety
      2. Laser Safety