Leaks or tears in radioactive material containers such as barrels, plastic bags or boxes.
Another common cause of contamination is sloppy work practices. These may lead to
contamination of tools, equipment, and workers. Examples include:
Opening radioactive systems without proper controls.
Poor housekeeping in contaminated areas.
Excessive motion or movement in areas of higher contamination.
Improper usage of step-off pads and change areas.
Violation of contamination control ropes and boundaries.
Hot particles: Small, sometimes microscopic pieces of highly radioactive material may
escape containment. These pieces are known as "hot particles."
Hot particles may be present when contaminated systems leak or are opened.
These particles may also be present when machining, cutting, or grinding is
performed on highly radioactive materials.
Hot particles can cause a high, localized radiation dose in a short period of time if
they remain in contact with skin.
Indicators of possible contamination:
Radiological workers should be aware of potential radioactive contamination problems.
Potential contamination problems should be reported to the Radiological Controls
Organization. Examples include:
Leaks, spills, or standing water that is possibly from a radioactive fluid system.
Damaged or leaking radioactive material containers.
Open radioactive systems with no observable controls.
Dust/dirt accumulations in radioactive contamination areas.
Torn or damaged tents and glove bags or containments on radioactive systems.
Radiological worker respons e to a spill of radioactive material
Each of the examples listed above may be a spill of radioactive material. Here is the
minimum response to a spill of radioactive material:
Stop or secure the operation causing the spill, if qualified.
Warn others in the area.
Isolate the area.