Every facility licensed to use radioactive materials is required to implement an area survey procedure to ensure that contamination is detected and decontaminated as necessary. Do you know if your authorized users are following the steps outlined in your facility’s approved procedure?
A typical use area survey procedure imposes ‘close-out surveys’ that require individuals to monitor their hands, shoes, clothing, and work surfaces with an appropriate survey instrument after each use of radioactive material or before leaving the restricted area. These close-out surveys are important to catch personnel contamination and prevent the spread of contamination to other areas. Authorized users working with low energy isotopes that require the use of a liquid scintillation counter for detection must review the print out report prior to leaving the restricted area to verify that all wipe test results are below background levels. A record of every close-out survey should be maintained to document compliance with the procedure. An inspector should be able to compare close-out surveys with the radioactive material use sheets, and verify that all uses are properly closed out.
In addition, monthly and/or weekly area surveys and wipe tests must be conducted in accordance with the procedure. These surveys monitor all of the approved use areas. Many times, use areas where more than 200 uCi of radioactive material is used are surveyed on a weekly basis, and areas where only small quantities of radioactive materials are used are surveyed on a monthly basis. Remember that every licensed facility is required to comply with their specific procedure that was reviewed and approved by Radiation Control Program. It is a good idea to check the conditions that were written into the procedure submitted to RCP if you were not the individual that wrote the application.
If contamination is found in any area survey, the corrective action taken to decontaminate the areas needs to be documented.