Radiation and X-ray Safety – General Information

The primary objective of the UBC Radiation Safety Program is to facilitate and ensure the safe and knowledgeable use of radiation sources and devices in research, teaching and the environment.

Radiation Safety General Information

What is radiation safety?

The primary objective of the UBC Radiation Safety Program is to facilitate and ensure the safe and knowledgeable use of radiation sources including X-ray generating equipment in research, teaching and the environment.
The Radiation Safety Program is dedicated to safe management of ionizing radiation – materials emitting particles energetic enough to knock electrons out the material that the radiation penetrates.

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What are researcher responsibilities for radiation safety?

To work with radioactive, researchers must:

  • Work under a current Radioisotope Permit
  • Maintain a current Radiation Safety Training Certificate
  • Keep all radiation exposure and associated risk As Low As Reasonably Achievable
  • Enroll in a dosimetry program where exposure calculations indicate a reasonable likelihood of receiving a radiation exposure greater than 0.75 mSv per year
  • Register personnel as Nuclear Energy Workers (NEWs) where exposure calculations indicate a reasonable likelihood of receiving a radiation exposure greater than 0.75 mSv per year
  • Make all radioisotope acquisitions through the UBC Radiation Purchasing System
  • Submit an annual inventory by January 31st of each calendar year

To work with X-ray generating equipment, researchers must:

  • Register their units with Risk Management Services
  • Develop a site specific X-ray safety program including safe work procedures, facility orientation and training for lab member.
  • Ensure all personnel using the X-ray equipment receive adequate lab-specific training in the safe work procedures for your unit
  • Enroll in a dosimetry program where exposure calculations indicate a reasonable likelihood of receiving a radiation exposure greater than 0.75 mSv per year
  • Post appropriate hazard signage and personal protection requirements for the space

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The UBC Radiation Safety Advisory Committee

What is the UBC Radiation Safety Advisory Committee?

Chaired by Dr. Bruce Verchere, the UBC Advisory Committee for Radiation Safety is comprised of researchers with expertise and interest in the use of radiation in research. UBC’s Policy 11 (PDF) authorizes the Radiation Committee  to act on behalf of UBC to ensure the safe and legal acquisition, handling and disposal of radiation.

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Exposure Assessment

When is an exposure calculation required?

The guiding principle the Radiation Safety Program is to keep all radiation exposure and associated risk As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). Exposure calculations must be done at the start of each project to ensure the field is below 2.5 microsieverts/hr.

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When is the dosimetry program required?

It is also mandatory to enroll personnel in a dosimetry program where exposure calculations indicate a reasonable likelihood of receiving a radiation exposure greater than 0.75 mSv per year.

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What are the risks with pregnancy & radiation?

UBC personnel working with radioactivity must report all pregnancies or suspected pregnancies to a supervisor or department head so that the planned work can be reviewed to ensure that pregnant worker will not receive an exposure in excess of 4 mSv over the course of the pregnancy.

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Exposure Control

What are the strategies for mitigating radiation exposure?

There are 3 main strategies for mitigating radiation exposure:

  1. Time – limit the time spent in the radiation field
  2. Distance – increase your distance from the radiation source
  3. Shielding – work behind emission-specific shielding and ensure co-works are also shielded from any sources you are using.

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