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Environmental Health and Safety

Radiation Safety Committee

Purpose Statement

The type of radioactive materials license issued to the University by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) requires that the University form a Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) to oversee and approve all uses of specifically-licensed radioactive material.  

To promote safety per published guidelines and/or regulations, the committee also oversees the use of equipment containing X-ray tubes, Class 3B and 4 lasers, unenclosed hazardous forms of visible, ultraviolet and/or infrared light and devices that generate magnetic fields in occupied spaces above 5 Gauss.

The Radiation Safety Committee Charter includes additional information about the committee’s policies and procedures.

 

The Committee Chair shall be a faculty member who is an approved authorized user of radioactive material at the Associate or Full Professor level. The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) shall be a full member of the Committee (refer to Radiation Safety Officer page). Other members of the Committee shall include necessary faculty and/or staff employees that are selected by the RSO in consultation with the Committee Chair and must be approved by the full Committee. A management representative from university staff at the Bureau Chief level or higher must also be a member per DHEC regulatory requirements. Members serve indefinitely until they inform the Chair of resignation or are no longer a university faculty or staff member.

Member Title and Affiliation
Hans-Conrad zur Loye, Chair Associate Dean, Professor: College of Arts and Sciences
Bryan Bagg  Radiation Safety Officer: Environmental Health and Safety
Andrew Greytak Associate Professor: Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Mark Berg  Professor: Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Travis Knight  Director and Professor: Nuclear Engineering Program
Angela Murphy*  Associate Professor: Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology 
Daping Fan*  Associate Professor: Cell Biology and Anatomy
Deanna Smith  Associate Professor: Biological Sciences
Katie Kathrein Assistant Professor: Biological Sciences
Lingyu (Lucy) Yu  Associate Professor: College of Engineering
Thomas Syfert  Director: Environmental Health and Safety
Jennifer Roose Ex Officio Env. Health Manager III (Radioactive Materials) and Secretary

* Denotes School of Medicine Faculty

The Radiation Safety Committee shall have final authority to approve and dis-approve all uses of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and magnets (radiation), authorize facilities for use  and authorize personnel.

The Committee shall meet quarterly. A quorum shall consist of the Chair, the RSO and at least three other Committee members. The RSO in consultation with the Committee Chair shall draft the agenda items for discussion to include previous quarter events and generated records including incidents; a review of submitted applications for initial use of hazardous or regulated forms of radiation; Radiation Safety Officer approved authorization amendments; a review of occupational and area exposure records from recent dosimeters submitted for analysis and any bioassays for internal exposures conducted; a review of quarterly inventory record verifications between the Radiation Safety Office and authorized PIs from the prior quarter; any amendments to the university’s Type A broad scope license for radioactive material use; and any other topic deemed necessary for discussion related to radiation safety.

Meeting minutes shall be drafted for review and approval at the next quarterly Committee meeting. All approved minutes shall be kept on file in the Radiation Safety Office.

Initial applications for use of radiation shall be initially submitted to the Radiation Safety Office staff. Radiation Safety staff and the RSO will review the application and all required submitted procedures and verify that all necessary equipment and procedures are in place to protect authorized users occupationally, and the general public, utilizing current regulations and currently accepted guidance documents including DHEC (radioactive material and X-ray regulations); the American National Standards Institute series Z136.1 for the safe use of lasers, and the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) for hazardous forms of light and magnets.

Once all procedures, equipment and facilities for the new applicant are deemed acceptable by the Radiation Safety staff and the RSO, the application and all procedures will be sent to the Radiation Safety Committee for review and approval. To be approved; the Committee Chair, the RSO, and at least three other members of the Committee must agree to the approval at the next quarterly meeting with the approval documented in the meeting minutes. Alternatively, an application for approval can be acted upon outside of the quarterly Committee meetings via email correspondence. 

All amendment requests to an approved application must be submitted by the Authorized PI to the Radiation Safety Office. Because amendments may be necessary for urgent new tasks due to research or grant supported timelines; the RSO may approve the amendment request without seeking Committee approval unless the RSO deems that a significant change to occupational or public exposures, or to general safety, will occur in which case Committee approval of the amendment is also required. Any amendment requests approved by the RSO will be discussed at the next quarterly Committee meeting.

 

Radiation Safety Officer

The university has been issued a Type A Broad Scope Research and Development license by DHEC; thus, by regulation, the university must employ a Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) pursuant to the current job description on file with human resources.  The RSO must report to a Bureau Chief or higher-level staff member that has direct involvement with the Radiation Safety Program. The RSO must be a full member of the Radiation Safety Committee per DHEC regulation.

  1. Provide guidance to ensure that radiation possessed and used by the university for research and teaching purposes is compliant with applicable government regulations, licensing and/or registration conditions and applicable accepted guidance documents for safe use; 
  2. Ensure that principal investigators and laboratory staff and students only use radiation as approved by the Radiation Safety Committee; 
  3. Instruct and/or arrange for the instruction of personnel in proper radiation protection practices; 
  4. Conduct or have conducted radiation surveys where indicated and keep records of such surveys, including summaries of corrective measures recommended and/or instituted; 
  5. Provide guidance to ensure appropriate use of monitoring devices and appropriate personal protective equipment where required; 
  6. Investigate each known or suspected case of excessive or abnormal radiation exposure to determine the cause and take steps to prevent its recurrence; 
  7. Assure that, where required, appropriate interlock switches and warning devices are operating and that appropriate postings are properly located; 
  8. Be immediately available to serve as a point of contact with government authorities and give assistance in case of emergency (e.g. damage, fire, theft, etc.); 
  9. Assure that the proper authorities (i.e. the Department, local or University police, U.S. Department of Transportation, etc.) are notified promptly in case of accident, damage, theft or loss of radiation; 
  10. Assist and provide guidance that the terms and conditions of government issued licenses or certifications are met and that the required records are maintained and reviewed for compliance; 
  11. Have the authority granted by university administration to immediately terminate an activity involving radiation should the RSO deem the activity immediately hazardous to university faculty, staff, students or public safety.

 

Radiation Safety Staff 

Additional radiation safety staff members reporting to the RSO will be employed by the university as deemed appropriate by management to ensure day to day operations of the Radiation Safety Program. Currently, two full-time staff members are authorized; an Assistant Radiation Safety Officer (ARSO) for materials that are radioactive; and an ARSO for equipment that electronically produces radiation (x-ray machines, lasers). Both positions are also members of the Radiation Safety Committee.  The ARSO for materials serves as the secretary to the Committee.

The ARSO for materials works with the Principal Investigators (PIs) and their students/staff approved by the Committee for radioactive material use on a day-to-day basis. The materials ARSO assists in all aspects of day-to-day program functions including, but not limited to, assisting in the procurement of restricted commodities of radioactive material, providing guidance on compliant and safe use of radioactive materials, verifying licensed radioactive material inventory with approved PIs on a quarterly basis, conducting semi-annual inspections of all areas restricted for radioactive material use, guiding the PI and their staff/students in correcting any identified deficiencies; notifying the RSO of any significant deficiencies requiring urgent attention, and providing and exchanging dosimetry devices used to monitor university faculty and staff for measurement of occupational doses to radiation from radioactive materials used for research and teaching purposes.
The ARSO for electronic products works with the PIs approved by the Committee for work with equipment that produces radiation electronically on a day-to-day basis, including X-ray machines and Class 3B and 4 lasers. The electronic products ARSO assists in all aspects of day-to-day program functions including, but not limited to, ensuring that X-ray installation and servicing companies hired are authorized by DHEC to perform the appropriate level of X-ray services in the State of South Carolina, annually verifying that analytical X-ray machines are compliant and safe with all manufacturer installed safety devices functional; guiding the PI and their staff/students in correcting any identified deficiencies, working directly with the University Health Service, Athletics and the Exercise Science program in ensuring appropriate licensure for diagnostic X-ray technicians operating human diagnostic X-ray equipment owned by the university and ensuring that all human diagnostic X-ray equipment is serviced annually by a DHEC-authorized human diagnostic X-ray machine servicing vendor, and annually calibrating all electronic survey instruments used to measure radiation.

 

Principal Investigators, Staff, and Students

All Principal Investigators (PIs) who need to use hazardous forms of radiation for research and/or teaching purposes must apply to the Radiation Safety Committee for approval before conducting the research or teaching activity. Radiation Safety Staff will work with the PI to provide guidance in writing appropriate procedures for the safe and compliant use of the hazardous form of radiation that are compliant with current regulations (if the radiation is controlled by governmental authorities) and currently accepted guidance documents.  

The PI is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all procedures as currently approved by the Committee are followed in their approved research and teaching spaces, including supervising their lab staff (post-doctorate), graduate and/or undergraduate students and any departmental staff members authorized to use hazardous forms of radiation assigned to the PI and approved by the Committee. 

If any additional hazard also involves a radiation hazard, such as but not limited to biological safety, chemical safety, electrical safety or any other non-radiation hazard, the PI is ultimately responsible in seeking guidance from appropriate university EH&S staff to ensure that appropriate procedures for safe use are enacted.

The PI must appoint a lab contact for their approved areas or equipment generating radiation who will be the liaison working directly with the radiation safety staff on a day-to-day basis.    


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